Say Goodbye to the Holidays, Hello to 2022

The first thing to do as you attempt to get #organized in the new year is to get the #holidays out of sight as quickly and as neatly as possible, says A Clear Path. If you have gifts that you won’t use or didn’t give, return or #donate them immediately. Take down any holiday decorations and store them in labeled bins and boxes. Resist the urge to peruse the post-holiday clearance sales unless there is something you truly need. And finally, enter #decluttering deadlines such as an upcoming ClothingDonations.org #donation #pickup on your 2022 calendar.

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

So goes the old Frank Loesser hit. Never intended to be a holiday anthem, the song tells the tale of a suitor looking far ahead on the calendar as a testament an plea for enduring love. As we prepare for the new year, though, the question looms.

With a new variant driving COVID case numbers up, one acceptable answer is “nothing” — or at least nothing far from the confines of your own home. Gathering in large groups has again become a risky proposition, so a quiet night in might be the safest option.

If you do celebrate, keep parties small to avoid the risk of spreading the virus. A Zoom, Skype or FaceTime session is always a good option if you wish to see faraway friends and relatives faces unmasked.

Small gatherings are safest, with only the people you know have taken the appropriate precautions invited. Epidemiologists told The New York Times that those who are at low risk for serious illness and have received a booster shot can celebrate with less worry.

For planners who still want to ring in the new year in style, Reader’s Digest offers 20 themed party ideas that can keep things interesting for small groups of almost any age — game nights, pajama parties and so on.

Weather permitting, the safest way for groups made up of members of different households to celebrate is outdoors. A socially distanced bonfire, beach walk or campout might make a memorable way to ring in 2022.

Another option exists for those worn out by 2021: Get comfortable, order some food, binge-watch a show and relax. You may even choose to go to bed well ahead of the ball drop in Times Square.

Or you could begin a #clutter-free new year one day early by taking down all of those #holiday #decorations and storing the ones you’ll want to use next year. Set aside the extras and contact ClothingDonations.org for a free #donation #pickup.

Consider it an early start to your #spring cleaning and part of your #resolution to be more #organized in the new year. Happy New Year from the Vietnam Veterans of America and ClothingDonations.org!

Start Planning for the Holidays Now

The ongoing supply-chain issues that emerged after the #pandemic have many people wondering if their holiday plans will be upended for a second year in a row in spite of effective vaccines and loosened restrictions.

We at The Organizing Blog can’t predict whether all of the gifts you want to buy will be available, if there will be shortages of turkeys or if your flights will be cancelled. But it can’t hurt to plan ahead!

For example, you might want start shopping for gifts today. CNBC says that consumer demand will be high, while slowdowns at manufacturing facilities and ports of call worldwide will affect supplies of many of the things people want and need.

Think about what the people on your gift list might like starting now. If you can get the jump on buying those things, it will free up more time as the holidays draw near, keep you from stressing about gifts last-minute and spread the costs over several months.

Minted suggests creating a budget and gift list eight weeks out from Christmas — and that’s next week. If you plan to have a family photoshoot, you can also set the date and start getting your mailing list together for holiday cards.

You may also wish to stock up on the foodstuffs you’ll use to create Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. Early in the pandemic, staples such as flour and butter sold out on grocery shelves; buy them now so that you can treat your family to cookies and pies.

A good #decluttering and #cleaning will help prepare your home for holiday parties and other goings-on. Clear and dust any surfaces where you’ll display holiday knickknacks and check the string lights. It will help stage your home for the holidays that much faster.

As for the #stuff you declutter, bag any lightly used clothing and household items and contact ClothingDonations.org for a #donation pickup. Your #donations will be resold to help fund veterans programs, so you’ll be spreading good cheer all season long.

The holidays were stressful enough before the global pandemic, but #COVID-19 has brought new challenges to annual celebrations. Prepare for them early, and you can sail through the holidays with as few disruptions as possible.

Store the Holidays Away Sensibly

Even the most diehard #holiday celebrators will admit that it’s finally time to take down the tree, wind up the lights and box up the tchotchkes for most of the year ahead. They’ve communicated your holiday cheer dutifully for several weeks, and it’s time to give them a rest.

A little ingenuity will help you pack away and preserve those holiday items for next Christmas. And a little judicious weeding out will save you some space so that holiday clutter can’t get the best of you next season.

First, of course, is the weeding out. As you take down the lights, toss any strings that no longer work and can’t be fixed with a simple swap of bulbs. And throw away damaged ornaments and other decorative items — the only place to stores trash is in the circular file.

You’ll want to preserve what you keep to create that winter wonderland again quickly, so take time to sort, organize and store decorations carefully. Good Housekeeping offers a number of clever ways to keep thing safe and organized for the months they’ll spend in the attic, garage or basement.

Wrap string lights around squares of notched cardboard so they can’t tangle when stored, for example, and put fragile ornaments in plastic cups or egg containers to keep them from getting crushed. Bag any artificial wreaths to keep them dust-free, and consider shrink-wrapping the tree.

Remember to label all bins and boxes with their contents, even if you opt for clear-plastic containers. If you really want to streamline 2020 decorating, The Spruce says, you can number your bins to know which ones should be reopened first.

After all, the biggest benefit of getting decorations organized as you put them away for the season is that you’ll be able to locate and use them easily next fall! The holidays are hectic enough without your having to hunt down every item or buy it again.

If there are still-useful items you just don’t want to store or display next year, bag them and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. They will be resold to benefit veterans’ initiatives, and other families will be able to use them to create holiday cheer.

It can be bittersweet to take down and shelve your holiday decorations, but that’s what makes the season so special. Get #organized, and this year’s holiday season will be better — and more stress-free — than ever.

How to Have a Stress-Free Holiday

By the time you read this, the year’s extraordinarily short #holiday shopping season will be nearly over. If you haven’t completed your shopping by now, you’ll have to pay for overnight shipping or brave the last-minute crowds at an old-school retail store.

As the clock winds down, you may also have meals to prepare and gifts to wrap. You may need to do an airport run to help far-flung family members join in the fun. You may even need to fit all of these activities in around your work schedule.

That’s a lot of stress. But there are ways to defuse that stress and enjoy the holidays.

The first is to know when you’ve done enough. Striving to create the “perfect” holiday can drive you nuts. There may be a few “nice to haves” or traditions that you just can’t fit into the holiday plan this year — and that’s OK. The sun will rise and set without them.

If you’re short a gift, you can give cash, buy a gift card or sign your giftee up for a subscription service that periodically delivers coffee, tea or wine. There are also plenty of all-digital gift options that can help show you care instantaneously.

Take advantage of services that take some of the work off your hands. Retailers are only too happy to wrap that gift or assemble that piece of furniture. The local bakery can provide a pie, and you can ask guests to bring a side dish.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when the big event arrives. A thoughtful guest will volunteer, of course, but many people may need reminding as they celebrate with family and friends. This is a great way to keep kids occupied ahead of a gift grab.

You can set deadlines on what you need to get done, but build in an hour or two of serenity to maintain your sanity. “Head outdoors for a refreshing change of scene,” Woman’s Day suggests. “Take a starlit nighttime stroll through your neighborhood to view the holiday lights.”

You don’t have to do it all — and even if you could, it wouldn’t add to your enjoyment of the holiday season or anyone else’s. Focus on the big picture and know when to “say when,” and you’ll be able to create warm holiday memories without the stress.