4 Easy Ways to Stay Organized This Holiday Season

easy ways to stay organized this holiday season

As seen in Huffington Post

I love, love, love the holiday season, but I do not enjoy all the additional stuff it brings into my home.  If you’re looking to spread the holiday cheer without adding clutter I put together some great alternatives to traditional gifts that you can find here.

However, if you are past that point and know that you, your kids, your dog and your gerbil will be receiving an insane amount of presents this year, you’re going to need a strategy to deal with all of those things without your home looking like a department store.

Trust me, I feel your pain.  I know I’ve mentioned this before  but since we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas the amount of new items that find their way into my home can be a bit overwhelming.  Especially with three kids in the mix.  

One In One Out

Tough rule, I know.  But it doesn’t matter how organized you are, if you have too much in your home you'll never be able to maintain it and it will always feel disorganized.

However this can be a great way to help your children learn the value of charity.  I try to frame it that they are so lucky to be getting all these new toys, but other kids are not so lucky, so we pick some toys that we aren’t playing with anymore so that other kids can have a chance with them.  Look in your area for places that will accept gently used toys and donate them.

Unfortunately you need to apply the same rule to the adults in the house; while that new scarf is super soft and beautiful I bet you have at least one in your collection that has either seen better days or that you don’t wear anymore.  Get it out of there.

Put It Back

One of the most important steps in maintaining an organized space is to put it back.  I go into it in more detail here  but it is a step that can be easily overlooked during the holiday season.  We are so excited to try on our new clothes or play that new video game or test out that new toy that before we know there is just stuff. Everywhere.  Enjoy your the new additions but don’t let all of the excitement get the best of you.  Once you’re done put it back.

Find A Home For It

This one goes hand in hand with the ‘put it back rule’, but sometimes it can be really hard to put something away if you don’t know where it goes.  Find a spot that makes sense for you.  Especially if this new item is something that you will use frequently in the coming weeks.  You want a space for it that is accessible and works with your routine.  This may require you to go through some of your existing stuff and declutter a bit.  I know you want to use that fancy new mug with great mouth feel that you just received but if your cupboard is already bursting at the seams you won’t have a place to put it.

Regift It

I can already hear the groans and gasps at this suggestion.  As good as the gift giver's intention may have been, sometimes they just miss the mark.  Think of the space in your home as valuable real estate.  Why waste that space on something that you don’t want, need, or love?

There is nothing wrong with repurposing that gift for someone else.  As long as you do it right:

  • Put a little post-it on the bottom of the gift with the name of who gave it to you

  • Only regift items that are in their original packaging and have not been opened

  • Only regift it to someone who you genuinely feel will appreciate it

  • Put it in a new gift bag/re-wrap it.  Nothing says “I regifted this” like a ratty gift bag and crumpled tissue paper.

  • Tell the recipient.  If you’re really feeling bad about regifting it then simply give it to someone that you feel would appreciate it and let them know where it came from.  ‘My aunt Sally got my this beautiful coloring book, but it’s not really my thing.  I thought you would enjoy using it’ Simple. Honest. Easy.

  • Donate it.  If all else fails, get it out of your home and donate it.  

 

Do you have an organizing issue you need to tackle? Get in touch with me here  and tell me about it.  Don’t forget to follow my blog  for the latest organizing advice.

Happy Holidays and Happy Organizing!

 

Easy & Delicious Pecan Pie

One of my all time favorite desserts is pecan pie.  I'm not sure why, because I don't really even like pecans.  Maybe it's the Quebecer in me, having grown up eating sugar pie, (which is exactly what it sounds like, a pie filled with sugar).  Sometimes in Quebec we get fancy and use maple syrup along with brown sugar in the filling. Either way it is one of the sweetest (and therefore yummiest) desserts you will ever consume.  

Because of this nostalgia I love making pecan pie for the holidays.  A couple of years back I found a great recipe and have adapted it a bit through some trial and error.  This pie is actually pretty easy to make, mainly because I opt to not make my own crust.  I find it way too labor intensive and finicky for not enough of a payoff. The frozen crusts you can buy in the store are perfectly acceptable.  It's really all about the filling anyway.

Here is the link to what the author calls "The Perfect Pecan Pie" and here are my changes:

  • I buy frozen crusts (the recipe isn't super clear, but the filling is enough to make 2 ~9 inch pies)
  • I lightly toast the pecans first and I like a very "pecan-y" pie so I use ~2 1/2 cups of pecans, but really it's to taste ( to toast the pecans I put them on the stove-top in a dry frying pan on low-medium heat and stay very close, because they can go from toasty to burnt in seconds)
  • I sometimes use corn syrup (as they call for) but I have also substituted it for molasses
  • The recipe also doesn't specify salted or unsalted butter for the filling.  I use salted butter because it just tastes better.
  • I check my pies at the 40 minute mark, and then every 5 mins after until they're done.  Keep in mind that it will continue to cook a bit after you take it out, and you really don't want to over-bake it.
  • These pies freeze pretty well, so they can be made in advance.  Yay!

Enjoy!