What comes to mind when you think about holiday preparations? You’re probably thinking about getting out the decorations, baking yummy treats, juggling the party and event schedule, and wrapping gifts.
This season, I invite you to prepare by paring down. Simplifying and lightening your load is a great way to give yourself more time and space to enjoy your family and friends—and your home—during the holidays.
I like to focus on paring down these three areas:
As you look forward to baking treats and cooking meals for the holidays, now’s a great time to pare down your pantry and fridge. This helps you make room both for what you’ll be cooking and for the food gifts you’ll receive. Plus eating through your pantry helps you save money!
Clear out old condiments from the fridge (check those expiration dates), get rid of old spices (the ones that have been there so long they’re now dust), and use up those canned goods from the pantry (Bean soup, anyone?). Do an ingredient search on a site like Allrecipes.com to find creative recipes that use what you have on hand.
As you prepare for the influx of new gifts, go through your closets and cupboards and see if you can make space by letting go of things you no longer use or need. Yes, you loved that bread machine in the ‘90’s, but if you haven’t used it since then, donate it to make room for the new air fryer that’s on your Wish List.
Clothes are a wonderful thing to pare down right now, especially if you can find warm, winter things to donate to those in need. If you make space on your shelves, hangers, and drawers, you’ll easily be able to find a generous spot that won’t squash the new cashmere sweater you get as a gift!
If you like to decorate your home for the holidays, cutting back on the everyday stuff you have will showcase the decorations better and not make your place look too cluttered.
The holiday schedule is one of the most important things to simplify. It’s tempting to try to fit all the fun, shopping, and preparations into this season, but running yourself ragged is not a good plan for enjoying the holidays.
Instead, commit only to the things that truly add joy to your life. If you have two big events that you traditionally attend, consider doing these on an alternating schedule, one this year and one next.
An excellent hack I learned from a friend is to set your schedule for the month, then “close” it. This means that you don’t make changes or try to fit more things into the calendar once it’s set. If something gets cancelled, you take that as bonus down time. If something new comes up, either you must delete something that takes the equivalent amount of time or you use your closed schedule as a way to strengthen your resolve to say no.
I hope these tips will help you have a simple, joyous holiday season!
As you prepare, I’d love to hear about your ideas and traditions.