Monthly Archives: October 2016

Preparing for the Holidays Series (Post 2 – Decorations)

Last week we talked about food for the holidays. This week we’re going to take a quick look at decorations.

  • Plan a time to sort through and put up your decorations.
  • Create a list of decorations you need to replace or supplement. Do you need more outdoor lights? Do you need more pumpkins for your centerpiece? Can you wait until after the holidays, when items are on clearance or do you need it before? Set a budget!
  • Plan time to take down and sort through your decorations. Purge items you haven’t used, are broken, or don’t enjoy anymore. Do you need more storage boxes for your items? We buy our kids Christmas ornaments each year to represent that year. This year, I’d like to start storing these ornaments in their own boxes, so when the kids move out, the ornaments are ready. 

Your action item for this week is to schedule time to put up your decorations! And while you’re at it, schedule time after the holidays to take them down.

Next week:  Gifts!

Preparing for the Holidays Series (Post 1 – Food)

It’s October. You may still be figuring out what you are going to be for Halloween but Christmas decorations are creeping into stores (or have been there since August). That means the holidays are right around the corner. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, a New Year’s Eve party, or just want to be able to relax with your family, start preparing now!

The next few weeks we are going to look at different tasks for preparing for the holidays from food, decorations, gift buying, to spending time with your loved ones.

Let’s start with food. If you’re hosting a meal, dinner party or holiday event, keep reading! These are the tasks you need to get on your calendar!

  • Clean your oven.  Do that now before you are putting your turkey in the oven or baking your favorite holiday treat!
  • Check the state of your linens, dishes, glassware, stemware, and serving dishes. Does anything need to be repaired? Do you need to buy anything? Make a list of what you need and schedule a time to complete this task.
  • Plan your menu. Do you provide the main meal and everyone brings side dishes? Or are you doing everything yourself. Figure out who is doing what and let everyone know ahead of time.
  • Write your grocery list. Watch for sales and stock up on items early.
  • Identify what can be made ahead of time and schedule time to prepare as much as possible before the big day.
  • Plan when you will start preparing those items that need to be made the day of. If people are bringing food, will they need the oven? Make sure there’s time to warm up everything before dinner. Can you use a crock pot or roaster to save room for other items in the oven?

Your action item this week is to start thinking about these tasks and get them on your schedule. It will help the holidays be much smoother!

Next post: Decorations!

Jury Duty and Being Prepared

I recently spent 8 days serving on a jury. I was not prepared for this, as most cases in Denver last 2-3 days. As I sat in the jury box during jury selection, after the judge had said the case could take 8 days and I realized I was likely to be selected, I started thinking of what I would need to reschedule, who would watch my kids, and how my life was going to be impacted. I’m not going to say that I came home that day and magically got my life prepared for the next 2 weeks. We had take out for dinner as I was too tired to cook. And I’m sure we didn’t have the kids put their toys away before bed (which we try to do each night). I did do a load of laundry, gave my kids a few extra hugs, and figured out who was going to watch the kids the next few days.

What I learned through this experience is how important it is to be organized and have some simple maintenance routines. We usually have our meals planned for the week. We prep much of our food on Sundays or early in the week. Our fridge has a drawer marked ‘raw meat only’ so we can defrost several days of meat/fish at once. This makes for easy dinners because food just needs to be put in the oven. I did a load of laundry and cleaned the kitchen each night. And I spent a few minutes after the kids went to bed cleaning out emails, packing lunches, stocking the diaper bag, and identifying priorities for the next day.

There are many simple organizing tasks that can be done each day to keep on top of the clutter. This great article outlines a few of those. If everything in your house has a home, it’s easy to put stuff away, see what needs to be replaced, or what you can get rid of. There are also plenty of things you can delegate. Can you hire a house cleaner? Someone to mow the lawn? Can your kids start doing more chores (put away their clean laundry, take out the trash, feed the pets). Do you need to reevaluate who does what tasks with your partner?

What are some tasks that you can start doing every day to make life a little simpler?