STAMFORD, Conn. — The following article was written by Matt Baier, owner of Matt Baier Organizing , serving Stamford, New Canaan, Greenwich, Westport, Darien, Norwalk, and Fairfield. Here are his tips on how to stay organized this holiday season.
Clear your closet That’s right. According to one recent survey, 31% of those polled claim they feel more satisfied after reorganizing their closet than after having sex. Clearing your closet feels great and can actually be fun. It’s a great time of year to donate clothes and other items to the needy and a wonderful opportunity to free up space for new gifts! Keep a dedicated gift zone Whether you enjoy buying gifts or dread it, it makes sense to dedicate a gift-giving zone in your home. It can be a bin, a couple of drawers, or a shelf on that closet you cleared out. It’s important that there be just one zone and that it be limited. This ensures that these gifts actually get used and that you don’t buy too many. Limit gift wrapping Also, dedicate a limited zone for the gift wrapping, but keep it realistic. Those all-in-one tallish plastic bins make sense when you need the strict limitations of a small apartment, but they are inadequate in most of the homes we see. A dedicated zone works when it is small enough to ensure that items get used, but not so small that they are doomed to failure. Keeping a lot of wrapping paper to cover those really big gifts? Use colorful tablecloths one can get inexpensively at party supply stores. Simplify gift giving We are big fans of online gift wish-list sites like Amazon and Kaboodle. They provide a great way to ensure that you are getting people items they actually want, that you know exactly where to obtain them, and that you’re not making duplicate purchases. Consider also, experience gifts. Whether it’s a weekend getaway, a day at the spa, or a night at the movies, experience gifts can spread out the joy of giving throughout the year and cut the clutter! Simplify entertaining Organizing a party can be one of the most stressful holiday projects. Pot luck means not all the burden falls on you, and punchbowl.com makes it easy to organize. Another option is to invite friends and family to a nice restaurant and bring them back to your place for dessert and coffee. You get the best of both worlds, with less stress. Maybe you’d like to hold a New Year’s party instead this year. If so, consider an open house format. It’s a much more informal approach, so it lowers expectations. Plan simple fare that can be prepared quickly, like omelets. Catch up with friends and family throughout the day, as they drop in. Limit décor As you’re bringing out your holiday décor, pass a critical eye over the décor you have left in the bin. If you’re not using it this year, are you really likely to use it next year? If those light-up reindeer that your kids used to love are still in good shape, consider giving them to a family with kids. The space that those reindeer are taking up could almost certainly be put to better use. Limit décor packaging, too. The packaging that décor comes in is designed for display, not storage. It is often overly complicated and wastes space. For example, toss the box the tree lights come in and keep them in Ziploc bags. It keeps them visible, minimal, and untangled. Dedicated zone for cards Many households are littered with greeting cards, taking up valuable space. Framing a doorway or window with a ribbon is a super simple solution. Just keep a little bowl of mini clothes pins nearby and have fun clipping your cards to the ribbon as the come in. This way they are showcased and more appreciated, because they are in one place. Also, they aren’t cluttering up your valuable surfaces. Of course, not all holiday stress can be controlled, but our clutter can be. Remove the stuff that doesn’t matter and be sure to enjoy the people that do.