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Make Room for the Holidays!

Thanksgiving is here and that means Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa are around the corner. That means, for many of us, holiday meals, guests, and lots and lots of presents.

How do you handle all this while not creating massive chaos in your home?

Here are some tips to help organize your holiday season:

1. Clear out the old, make room for the new.

It’s a great time to go through your stuff and decide what can be donated (or discarded).

Clothes – go through your drawers and closet and pull out things you haven’t worn in a year, anything worn or tired looking, or that has needed repairs for more than two years.

You can do a quick review, or do the KondoMari method of taking everything out and putting it on the bed to sort (but make sure you have enough time to do this, or you’ll leave an even bigger mess!).

Toys – talk to your kids about sharing what they have with others who have so much less. Give them a goal – let’s donate 3 toys you don’t use anymore. Of course, in addition to teaching them about caring for the less fortunate, it also clears out room for new gifts yet to come.

Pantry – check for expired pantry items, and discard those. If you have canned good that you know you don’t want, need or will ever use, now is a great time to donate them to your local food bank.

Things like the tomato sauce you bought but decided to not use when you made your own; the extra chickpeas you were going to turn into an amazing vegetarian feast but never did; and why did you buy so many cans of soup?

2. Simplify Shopping. Your friends and relatives have no more desire to clutter up their spaces than you do!

Consider giving un-cluttered gifts like tickets to a movie, sporting or ballet performance; gift card to your favorite restaurant; or even just make a charitable donation in their name (the best!). You also help save the environment by not using and tossing gift wrap, bags and tissue paper.

3. Plan! Yes, sitting down for 20 minutes to plan your holiday strategy will pay off in spades. Figure out your holiday schedule, travel plans, when gifts need to be sent, what meals you need to prep for and what you need from the grocery store.

Add in short bursts of time for quick clean-ups - flash clean-ups for just 10 minutes after present opening, returning from a trip, or meal prep will end up saving you lots of time and angst later.

And those of us who are blessed with the problem of dealing with excess, would do well to consider others who have little or nothing.

Pick two things you and your family can do to help others, like donating to Toys for Tots or bringing needed supplies to food banks or shelters.

Your holidays will shine brighter than ever!

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