Only one more day till fall! Can you believe it? Here in Oakland, we’re having fantastic warm weather so it doesn’t feel like barbecue season is almost over.
The beginning of fall means that the holidays are right around the corner. Time begins to speed up and then, bam! it’s New Year’s Day. Although it’s a little early to begin actual holiday prep, it’s not too early to set the stage for a stress-free and fun holiday season.
It’s the little things that count.
Here are some small changes you can make that will have a big impact. No need to do them all at once so don’t feel overwhelmed. Developing habits can take time; be patient with yourself.
Recycle newspapers daily
Yeah, I know you didn’t get a chance to read the whole thing but guess what? Another one’s coming tomorrow and you can’t afford to get behind. There will always be news that goes unread. Always. You aren’t magically going to have time to read one and a half papers tomorrow.
Empty the dishwasher
When you use clean dishes straight out of the dishwasher, you end up piling the dirty ones in the sink because the dishwasher is still half full. Kind of defeats the purpose,no? I’ve timed this task and it takes just over 7 minutes. I know you have seven minutes to spare! If it takes longer, you’re storing regular dishware too far away.
Sort your mail every day
Get this down to a science. I’ve seen two months of mail completely bury a sizable dining table. Anything that’s not a bill and that you’re not interested in NOW goes in the recycling. Seriously. Bills stick together in a folder or slot till payment time. Reading goes where you read. Legal and medical documents go into the file cabinet. Stuff you have to take action on goes in your in box and gets done during admin time.
Tighten up your laundry routine
You are not done when you fold the dry clothes into a basket and leave it on top of the dryer. That’s cheating. Plus, it makes it way harder to get dressed in the morning. Clothes need to go back to the closet and dresser so they’re ready to dirty up again. I know it’s a pain in the neck, but isn’t looking for that cute pink top that’s lost somewhere in the laundry room a bigger pain?
Schedule admin time
Everyone needs a home office to deal with bill paying, appointment setting, school requests, event planning, travel, financial updating and more. Stop waiting till free time turns up to do this work. Ain’t gonna happen. Add it into your datebook regularly every week. Put on some upbeat music and eat a snack while you’re there and give yourself a reward for doing the time. Make it appealing so you’re more likely to do it.
Re-examine gift giving
Okay, here’s my one holiday hint: gift giving should be joyous, not stressful. For most folks, that’s going to involve scaling back. Here are some other streamlining, de-stressing ideas: give the same thing to everyone, shop online and have gifts delivered for you, give non-cluttering gifts like museum tickets, do Secret Santa so you only buy one gift, use the personal touch and give simple, handmade gifts.
I promise you’ll enjoy the holiday season more when you don’t have to sweep your mail off the dining table into a lawn-size trash bag and hide it in the closet.
mail photo: Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
tag: fall colors