Q. How can you possibly stay organized around the Holidays
when everything is off schedule and there's packages and things all over the
A. The most important thing you can do to remain sane when
stress is high is to breath deeply. Then, understand that
you will be at your most productive and relaxed when you
focus on one thing at a time.
To this end, take a few minutes to sit down and write out a
list of your projects. Get everything down on paper, without
regard to whether it seems feasible or not.
Once you have
emptied your brain of all these scattered messages and musts,
go back and prioritize by giving each task a number-one
number per job, which means you can not have several # 1
items! (Sometimes the toughest part about keeping stress at
bay is the decision making.) Remember that you can always re-
prioritize if necessary.
Manage your packages and holiday clutter similarly: take it
calmly, one thing at a time.
Assign temporary homes to all
your stuff, so you can get it out from under foot. If you
can't decide where to start, simply pick the easiest pile, or
the one that is most annoying. And so on.
As with your
time, the decision making can be tricky...don't agonize about
whether you've created the perfect storage location, just do
it. You can re-arrange as needed.
By doing one thing at a time, and making prompt and smart
decisions, you can bring the fun back to your holiday season!
Q. My grandchildren come over for the holidays (they live out of town) and
I must confess by the time they leave I am ready to see them go. (Of course
I miss them right away). There are toys everywhere. I don't have a
playroom, just an apartment for my husband and I.
There are only 3 of them,
but they all bring a million things with them. Is there anyway to organize
this time with them so I don't feel so drained and worn out while they're here?
A. 3 grandkids is indeed quite a handful!!! There are
things you can do to manage, however.
Discounters and other
retailers sell large plastic storage containers in which you
can keep these toys. Purchase one or more containers per
kid, and you can even work with each kid to choose a
preferred color or size as is appropriate.
They key is in
creating good organizational habits-each child knows where to
go to fetch his or her toys, and where to put them away when
the toys are done being used.
Also know that this is a great opportunity to teach kids how
to clean up after themselves (do it with them, not for them)
and to set up boundaries regarding personal responsibility in
a shared space.
You are a grandparent, not a slave - it is
quite fine to ask for age appropriate help with all clean
Lastly, next year before their arrival, discuss your space
constraints with the kids' parents and set limits on the
amount of toys and other personal belongings you want them to
Remember, this is your home and you are in
control, not your adult children, and certainly not the grand
Be kind and patient, but firm; responsible,
considerate children are a pleasure to have around, and they
grow up to be responsible, considerate adults!
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