Double Take Organizing

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Last minute organizing tips for the holidays

With less than a week till Christmas you may find yourself scrambling to get everything done. Here are a few tips that could make the next few days a bit easier to get through.

Too late - conceptual alarm clock showing that you are too late

Gifts

Prepare before your shopping trip – Have a list and know who you are buying for and what you are buying before you go. That way you can get in and get out quickly.

Shop in slow periods – Stores will likely be packed but shopping really early in the morning or late at night may make the process a bit easier on you.

Re-gifting – Perhaps this might be the year to start a new tradition with your family. As an organizer I know that everyone has something in their house that they no longer want or need so why not re-gift? However, I would lay out some ground rules with the family before doing this so everyone is on the same page.

Buy from a friend/neighbour or other small business – If you know someone who is a small business owner call them up and see if they have anything on hand for last minute gifts.

Gift certificates – You may not get the personal touch but if you go to stores like Super Store or Shoppers you can buy gift certificates for a large number of people all at the same time. You can also get these from small businesses too!

Leave the kids at home – If you have kids and can get someone to watch them this may lessen the stress factor for you while trying to get things done on a time crunch.

Dog with Santa Hat Popping out of Present

Meals

Eat out – Some restaurants are open on Christmas so if you haven’t had time to get a meal planned why not eat out. Do a search to see if your favourite restaurant is open in your area. Here are some restaurants open in Toronto.

open sign

Hire a service – No time to grocery shop? Hire a  grocery services like Grocery Gateway.To bring it local, you could also contact a concierge service that offers this. The same thing can be said for cleaning services if you are struggling to get your home in tip top shape before relatives arrive.

Travel

Car travel – If you are travelling by car be sure you check weather ahead of time so you can give yourself enough time based on weather conditions. If you don’t already, make sure to have your car stocked with the proper emergency equipment should you need it. Blankets, snacks and a charged cell phone are good to have. Also be sure you have at least half a tank of gas and extra windshield washer fluid.

By plane – Be sure to arrive ahead of time. Printing your boarding pass before you leave can save wait time in lines. If you are bringing presents with you you may want to consider keeping the important ones in your carry on so you don’t risk them getting lost. As with any air travel, if you have kids, lots of snacks, books and other toys will make the experience ten times better.

Boeing 747 Aircraft Taking Off

Maintenance

You may be tempted to let all of your normal routines slide over the holidays but try to maintain at least a few of them so that once January hits you aren’t spending hours getting organized again.

Last but not least, make a donation run part of your  New Year routine so that you can start fresh with hopefully less items in your home then you had before the holidays started. My favourite donation place is the Salvation Army. I also like the Canadian Diabetes Association because they pick up and giving to local shelters is also a good option.

And of course, if you should need help in the New Year feel free to let me know.

Happy organizing and happy holidays!

Laura

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T’was the night before Christmas – with an organized twist

Santa Claus

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse.

The family was snug in their beds with smiles on their faces, knowing that everything in their house was in the right places.

Double Take Organizing had just been there, and now they could enjoy their holidays without a worry or care.

When up on the roof there arose such a clatter but they did not spring to see what was the matter.

Everyone was happy and stress free, with presents bought a month ago looking beautiful under the tree.

The stockings were full of organizing gizmos and treats, and cookies for Santa were ready to eat.

You can be sure old St. Nick was mighty impressed, that in this house at least, there wasn’t any clutter or mess.

He could place the presents under the tree and be on his way on the count of three.

You see Santa is a pretty organized guy. He might have all year to make toys but only one night to fly.

Time management is the key to putting smiles on little kid’s faces and he hates to be delayed by disorganized spaces.

As Santa got back in his sleigh, a note did magically appear where the cookies had lain with carrots for his reindeer.

I have seen homes the world over but your home was a surprising treat, I had no idea what organization awaited me beneath my reindeer’s feet.

What a beautifully organized home you have and a pleasure in my busy day.

Who was it that organized your home did you say?

All you have to do is write a reply, and the magic of Santa will make the note fly.

And with that Santa Claus flew out of sight, saying Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


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A perfectly organized holiday season

The holidays are a very busy time for every family. If last year left you totally stressed out, here are some tips and tricks to make this holiday season the most organized one you have ever had.

winter snow

Cards

  • If you don’t already have addresses on hand be sure to round them up in the month of November and try to send them out by December 1st.
  • Everyone loves getting a card in the mail but if you have an extensive list, try to whittle down your card list to the people that matter most.
  • Photo cards are increasingly popular and can save writing out each individual card. If possible support a local photographer or small business that is able to do this instead of a big box store. Love these ones by Trinity Design.
  • If you are going digital make sure you have everyone’s email address ahead of time.
  • A neat card sending company you can also check out is Send Out Cards.

Decorations

  • Decide when you are going to put them up and put it on the calendar. This goes for taking them down too. If you carve out a specific amount of time for this it is more likely to happen.
  • Organizing areas of your home where holiday supplies are kept can make this much less stressful and make it easier to find items quickly and easily the next year. Spend hours untangling a light string anyone?
  • Make decorating a fun activity for the whole family by dedicating a specific day or weekend to the task. Listen to music, have hot chocolate, bake cookies and really get into the spirit.

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Presents

  • Make a list of everyone you have to buy for. Have a budget lined out and stick to it. If need be, give yourself a due date and don’t buy any presents after that date.
  • Buy presents that don’t clutter up your home. Family activities, lessons, sporting activities, a spa day, movie night or a play are great choices. Not to mention the effects on your mind, body and spirit that these types of presents can have.
  • Support small businesses where possible. These are your friends, neighbours and members of your community that will appreciate your support ten times more than big name department stores. They can then turn around and buy their families presents. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the spirit of the season.

presents

Holiday meals

  • Plan meals at least a week or two ahead if you will be cooking for a lot of people.
  • Give yourself extra time to prepare and refine lists.
  • Try to find a store that has everything you need so you only have to go shopping once.
  • As with presents, have a holiday food budget and stick to it.
  • If you have a huge family, enlist family members to help with preparations or even get dinner catered in. A little bit of cost may save your sanity later on.

Thanksgiving Feast

Wrapping and supplies

  • Make sure you aren’t buying wrapping paper, ribbons, bows and other present supplies for no reason. Be sure to check your stock from last year to make sure you aren’t rebuying supplies you already own.
  • Once again, by organizing the areas of your home where supplies are stored you can save yourself time and money once the wrapping begins.

Click here for more organizing help.

Happy holidays everyone!

Laura


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A perfectly organized Valentines Day

Ah, Valentines Day…a day when we are supposed to feel the love, get into the romantic spirit and surprise your loved one with presents, flowers and other lovely items. A time that everyone maps out months before the magical date of February 14th and organizes a wonderful gift for that special someone.

Umm, not so much!

That is why this Valentines Day is going to be different! Instead of scrambling at the last-minute, by entering my Valentine’s day blog contest you have a chance to WIN A VALENTINES GIFT BASKET WORTH $75 for your loved one(s). Sent straight to you by the 14th, completely organized and stress free! Not to mention, the 3 basket set can be re-used for storage and the giveaway will be shipped in a Rubbermaid Roughneck 53L storage container for even more organizing possibilities!

The giveaway includes:

Hershey’s Kisses, Cherry Cordial Flavoured Creme – 227 g pkg

Hershey’s Minatures, Sweet Notes – 227 g pkg

Hershey’s Huggs – 227 g pkg

Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolate – 227 g

Sweet Notes – 32 g box

McCormicks Cinnamon Teddy Hearts – 44 g

Ferrero Rocher Fine Hazelnut chocolate – 100 g heart pkg

Cemoi, Assorted Fine Chocolates – 600 g

Valentines 4×6 Photo frame

All you have to do is visit https://www.facebook.com/DoubleTakeOrganizing and tell me, what you find difficult organizing? The winner will be drawn lottery style Sunday Feb 10th at 8:00 PM and contacted via Facebook for their address.

The contest is open to all Canadians.

Happy organizing!

Laura

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