Organize + Energize: 10 Ways to Reduce Stress This Holiday Season
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Kristin MacRae, GoLocalProv Organizing Expert
The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time to spend with family and friends. Most often the holidays leave us feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Get organized, plan ahead and prepare and I guarantee you will reduce your stress this holiday season.
Here are my top 10 tips to reduce stress during the holidays:
Plan ahead. Stop running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Think about writing out meal plans, food shopping lists, gift lists, etc. Don’t save everything for the last minute.
Utilize a calendar. Write everything down so you don't forget important appointments and events. Schedule your workouts and shopping trips. Make an appointment to do your laundry, ironing and housework.
Clear the mental clutter. Mental clutter is a distraction. It will cause stress, anxiety, and will make you feel overwhelmed. Get everything out of your head and onto paper or into your electronics.
Start writing shopping lists. Try to limit trips to the market to once a week. Do you really want to be stuck in traffic this time of year? Make one trip to the market; reduce your stress, save time, money, and gas.
Break up tasks. Don't try to tackle everything all at once. On Friday, look at your week ahead and plan out your errands and chores.
Prepare. Whatever you can prepare ahead of time, start preparing now. If you have guests coming, prepare your home now and organize. Purchase what you can for food and baking.
Take care of yourself. You’ll be no help to anybody else if you don’t take care of yourself first. Take an exercise class or go for a silent walk without music. After you do this, you’ll feel rejuvenated; you’ll see things clearer and will be more mindful!
Declutter your home. You want to feel at peace, relaxed, and comfortable in your home. Declutter and reduce your stress level.
Write daily to-do lists. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when you cross items off the list.
Organize. Working with your hands will clear the mind. Organize a drawer when you are stressed and think about how you feel when you are finished.
Trying a few of these tips will help reduce your stress and allow you to focus on the more important things during this time. Being organized will give you more free time to enjoy and focus on the events of the season.
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O’Brien.
Paper in any form
This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.
To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.
When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.
This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.
The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization. Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.
Office at work
Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.
If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.
Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.
When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.
This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.