Only a few more nights sleep left and believe me I am counting down the days. I am a little excited for this time of year. I am excited for one thing, my boys from college are coming home! The days are rare with all five of use spending quality time together. My heart beats a little different when all of my children are under one roof. I even breathe a little different. I am ready for my house to be messy and to have my grocery bill increase.
So with a little over a week away from the holiday I am thinking about how to best be most organized so that I spend time with my boys. I don’t want to spend time in line returning gifts. I don’t want to spend hours in my kitchen cooking. I don’t want to spend time grocery shopping. I do want to spend time watching movies and playing board games. So this is the time to gather my organizing ninja powers and test my time management skills!
Buy gifts that you know won’t be returned: Nothing is worse than having to stand in line to return a gift. I am not a fan of it! When I shop it is my rule that if I buy something and it doesn’t work out I will return it within 24 hours. So this year when I bought some clothes as gifts and I wasn’t sure if they would fit my boys, I had my husband try them on. They didn’t fit. So I returned them on December 7 and not on December 26. The lines were non existent. Both the lines in the store and the parking outside were a breeze.
Stay within budget: Nobody likes having remorse over spending too much. When the gifts are opened you should be focusing on the joy it brings the recipient and not thinking about your credit card bill arriving in January. This year I am only paying in cash so I got this part covered! The gifts will be more lean, but they are paid for.
Meal plan now: I am one of those people that enjoys grocery shopping. I see it as fun and I think the reason is I often do it with a family member. My boys will still hold on to the sides of the cart even though one of them is 22. That practice of not getting lost in a store is deeply ingrained in them. We are a sight walking down an aisle with me pushing the cart and two grown men holding the sides of the cart. Hey, they could still get lost. What I don’t like doing is leaving the house for one ingredient. So make that list and check it twice!
Schedule some fun: Our family enjoys seeing movies. I love the fact that you can go online and buy movie tickets before you go. Gone are the days of standing in line hoping you get a seat only to find out the only ones left are in the front row. We have already bought tickets to the new Star Wars movie and will be adding several more in the next few days.
Use gift cards quickly: This may seem like an odd thing to make sure that you do, but the fact of the matter is people forget to use gift cards. Every client I work with has a stack of unused gift cards, usually in a junk drawer. They are just there getting lost and forgotten, which is what the stores want. The percentage of gift cards that go unused are huge. So I challenge you to use those gift cards that you receive within a week of receiving them. Eat at that restaurant, get that massage and go and use it up every last bit. Another helpful hint is to keep the gift card in your wallet, purse or glove compartment of your car. Too often we get to our location and forget the gift card. If you keep it with you at all times, you won’t have that issue
Schedule medical appointments: I know this may sound silly but I always schedule these over Christmas break for my boys who are away at college. I told my dentist they should only take appointments for college students this time of year. One has an appointment and one is on the wait list. My middle son is seeing his doctor at Mayo the first day of break and he is going to take my appointment at the dermatologist for his annual skin check. See when the last time was that they had an eye exam. Get these appointments made if it is not too late. If you are a planner like me you will call now and make the appointments for next year.
Take into account sleep patterns: Don’t make breakfast if the kids don’t wake up until 11:00. You will just get frustrated, been there, done that! I plan on making one nice meal a day and then we will eat leftovers and sandwiches for the other meals. As much as I love cooking I don’t want to spend it in the kitchen.
Share in the traditions: If you always make roll out sugar cookies wait until you can make them as a group. I use to make them ahead of time but then I realized that my kids like helping. Yes my kitchen may become a bit more covered in flour, but good thing I have my husband on cleanup duty! Instead of baking weeks ahead of time bake with your family so that they can see exactly how long it takes to stand over the stove stirring the caramels to the soft ball stage! The benefit is that you will have someone to lick the beaters and eat the cookies that didn’t turn out, saving you added calories!
So spend some time in the next few days and see where you can maximize your time. Don’t forget that you don’t have to do it alone. Everyone likes to help and pitch in. Make memories together doing the things you love during your time together.
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
Melissa is a Productivity Consultant living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things!