Secrets to Organizing for the Holidays


Getting ready for the holidays can be daunting. Being organized can make it easier to enjoy the season. Here are some tips to help you.

Planning ahead is the best way to be prepared to celebrate the season with order and calm. Click To Tweet

Set your priorities.

Decide what activities are most important to you at this time. By making these decisions ahead of time, you’ll be less likely to overdo it. Put the most important items on the top of your list and consider dropping some of your usual activities until after the holidays. Don’t forget to commit to time for yourself!

Delegating some tasks to family members or paying for services will allow you to concentrate on the things you need to complete yourself. It can be as simple as having the kids put stamps on your holiday cards or ordering prepared food for your party.

Plan the big events.

Are you traveling or entertaining people in your home during the season? Having a plan will help things go smoothly. Making lists can help you in determining how much time each item will require. Your lists may include items such as people you will send cards to, what you need to pack for a trip, or who to invite to a party.

Having enough time to prepare for an event is key to you enjoying the event. Break the event prep time down into small parts and schedule, in your planner, when you will complete each task. Allot enough time to complete activities, so you don’t feel rushed.

Shopping is a part of the season.

Whether it’s a grocery list for your Thanksgiving feast or Christmas gifts for the relatives, making a list of what you need before you leave the house will save you time and money.

Shopping on-line or with catalogs has become the norm. It saves time and keeps you out of the crowded malls. But the catalogs coming into your home can become a source of clutter. This is a great time of year to eliminate the unwanted catalogs from your mailbox and help save a tree at the same time. Catalog Choice is a free service that lets you opt-out of unwanted catalogs. It is fast and easy to do. The site allows you to choose which catalogs you want to discontinue.

Planning ahead is the best way to be prepared to celebrate the season with order and calm.

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. Sara Skillen on December 2, 2019 at 8:21 am

    Great ideas – and I LOVE Catalog Choice! I reduced from an over 2-foot stack of catalogs (yes, I saved them and checked it one year) down to just 3-4 individual ones during the season. Thanks for all of the great holiday reminders!

    • Janet Schiesl on December 2, 2019 at 2:50 pm

      Sara, I also love Catalog Choice. It makes a big difference in the amount of mail I receive.

  2. Diane Quintana on December 2, 2019 at 8:43 am

    Planning is key to a calm and joyful holiday season. Your suggestions are spot on. Thank you!

  3. Janet Barclay on December 2, 2019 at 8:57 am

    For the first time this year, I’ve created recurring tasks in Todoist for everything that comes up this time of year. I may not do all of them every year, but at least I don’t have to worry about forgetting to schedule time for those I am doing.

    • Janet Schiesl on December 2, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      That’s a great memory aid. At this time of year, I make a lot of lists. Maybe recurring tasks would lessen my lists.

      • Janet Barclay on December 3, 2019 at 12:32 pm

        Recurring tasks are amazing! I’m using them more and more. Hopefully that’s not a sign that I’m losing my memory!

        • Janet Schiesl on December 3, 2019 at 6:08 pm

          Every little bit helps in our busy world!

  4. Seana Turner on December 2, 2019 at 9:52 am

    I so agree with dropping some of your regular responsibilities. In addition, you can set your priorities about which traditions you will pursue this year. You don’t have to do each and every little thing each and every year. Decide what matters most THIS year, and make sure to do that!

    • Janet Schiesl on December 2, 2019 at 3:32 pm

      Great advice Seana. I always try to delegate some responsibilities to others and set priorities.

  5. Linda Samuels on December 2, 2019 at 11:20 am

    These are such great ideas to remember. The holiday are different and it’s helpful to set priorities and boundaries. Right after Thanksgiving, the invites to events started coming in. And you know what? They all sound great. However, we can’t go to all of them since some conflict. But in addition, you can run yourself ragged and instead of enjoying the events, you can feel worn out and stressed. So choose carefully for maximum enjoyment.

    And if you’re hosting, giving yourself the time to plan (as you suggested) is so helpful. Why add to the stress?

    • Janet Schiesl on December 2, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      I totally agree with you Linda. This time of year is so busy that sometimes you need to say “no” to something to say “yes” to yourself. I always want to make it through the holidays without too much stress.

  6. Ronni Eisenberg on December 2, 2019 at 11:37 pm


    I don’t think I could get through the holiday season without planning. We always have lots of celebrations, including my twin’s birthday. So we’re packed with festivities but they’re all good.

    Thank you for suggesting Catalog Choice. I get inundated with unwanted catalogs and so do my clients. This is so helpful!

    Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

  7. Janet Schiesl on December 3, 2019 at 6:34 am

    Thanks Ronni. I hope you have a wonderful holiday too! Everyone wants to enjoy all the work put towards the holidays. I agree – Planning is key.

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