By Heather Carlson ~
The holidays, as depicted by Norman Rockwell or Hallmark are full of crackling fires, full cups of steaming cocoa – marshmallows and riding on a sleigh through fresh fields snow. However, for many, those moments are sprinkled in between days of chaos, traffic and trying to get the moment just right. Planning for these special and idyllic moments can feel like a tug of war for many families. Who’s going to host? Who’s going to cook? Who’s coming? Maybe more importantly, who’s not coming? Making a few simple changes can help you and yours create more space for the moments that count and allow you to not only plan them, but truly enjoy them. Below are six simple tips for creating more space in your homes, schedules and wallets this holiday season.
Homes: Decorations can bring feelings of coziness and warmth or claustrophobia and clutter. Get started on these simple tricks to help you feel less overwhelmed when managing your stuff.
• Put like with like: Don’t waste time looking in multiple places! Put similar items together in one place. This comes in especially handy when dealing with coats, shoes and even glasses. According to a LinkedIn article, “the average American spends 55 minutes a day looking for things they can’t find.”
• Keep it where you use it. Keep items where you use them regardless of how silly it may seem. It’ll save you the time of walking back and forth to get and put things away. For example, many people like to store their shoes in their closets out of sight, but if your bedroom is upstairs, you’re constantly bringing pairs up and down (or maybe they’re piling up downstairs). Throw tradition to the wind and consider a shoe rack to by the front door.
Schedules: When it comes to time during the holidays, there never seems to be enough of it.
• Take some time to step away from the screen. It’s amazing how much information you can be distracted with. When using your phone, TV, computer or tablet, do so with a purpose and give yourself a time limit for usage. According to the New York Post, “Americans check their phones on an average of once every 12 minutes – burying their heads in their phones 80 times a day.” Couple that Nielsen’s report which found that adults are watching on average almost six hours a day on video. Think of all that time that could be spent wrapping, chatting or sipping with loved ones.
• Streamline your activities. Much like your possessions, grouping your activities can provide a profound difference in how you spend your time. Take some time to list your have-to-dos before diving in (or running out). Hit the bank, groceries and gas station in one fell swoop, rather than making three separate trips. Doing so will open up other chunks of time for holiday lunches, snow day naps or maybe a matinee.
Wallets: The Holidays can be expensive. Conserving your money will allow you to put it towards meaningful purchases.
• Write it Down. Use a check register or free app to record what you’re spending. Understand where your money is going, so you can be sure to spend it on the moments, not the temptations. Writing it down, if only for the season, may make you think twice about the actual spending you’re doing.
• Use Cash Only. Leave the credits/debit cards and home and give yourself a cash allowance for the holidays; paying for everything with cash. You’ll hold yourself accountable when you see that amount decline with each purchase. Furthermore, you may find yourself spending less and having more for those moments that matter. Consumer Reports reported, “When you hand over cash or a check, you part with something of value. Yet, after you swipe a credit or debit card, you put the same object back in your wallet. Paying then feels less real, which encourages more spending.”
Heather Carlson is a principle at Life Restructured, LLC, an Arvada, CO based company, providing professional organization services focusing on functional organization of time, money and space. Life Restructured, LLC helps clients at all stages of life from a first home to and through retirement.