Organize 365 Podcast: Home organization |Paper management | Productivity | Professional Organizer Lisa Woodruff | Sunday Basket

I always thought that I divided my calendar into three separate years because I was a schoolteacher or because I had children. But the more I talk to women without children who work 9-to-5 jobs, the more I find that this way of looking at the calendar actually rings true for most women.

In this week’s post, I will walk you through how I organize my calendar three times a year, and how each time block starts out structured and organized and ends up chaotic and unstructured.

My 3 calendar seasons are September to December, January to May, and June to August.

Read the full post here: https://organize365.com/my-three-new-years/

Direct download: Org365-Binge-8.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

What do you think of when you think of productivity?

Remember last week when I said that when I am organized I feel like I can make forward progress on my goals and projects.

For me productivity means doing MORE usually in LESS time or with less resistance. 

If you break down the 3 steps to getting organized: 

  • Decluttering = Removing.
  • Organizing = Rearranging.
  • Increasing Productivity = Moving forward faster.

Let's look specifically at Increasing Productivity. Productivity comes from thinking and planning. Every minute you spend planning SAVES 4-5 minutes in executing your plan.

Planning = TIME SAVED.

While it may be hard to find time to plan your day, your meals or your vacation, you KNOW that when you do - everything goes easier and faster.

Once again I have one caution... to be most effective, you need to have decluttered and organized the area you want to increase productivity in. These steps do need to be done in order.

5 Steps to Increased Productivity.

  1. Use the organized system.
  2. Plan.
  3. Refine and reorder.
  4. Evaluate / maintain.
  5. Execute.

Learn more about virtual organization here.

Download My weekly planning sheet which will also get you on my Newsletter list.

Direct download: Org365-Binge-7.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

At Organize 365, we have achieved a lot in 2017. And we have some exciting things planned for the new year, too. In this week's podcast episode, I focus on The Sunday Basket® – the concept, how it has evolved into what it is today, and where I see it going in 2018.

You have all been a part of this journey and you know that when it comes to organizing, I always tell you to "just take the next step" and that is exactly what I did when I was creating, developing, and launching The Sunday Basket®.

What is The Sunday Basket®

Put simply, it is my way of corralling to do's, returns, orders, and mail into one place (my basket) which I then go through once a week... on a Sunday.

It is the one thing that keeps me organized and productive, it saves my sanity, and it makes sure my bills are paid on time.

The feedback I have recieved about the Sunday Basket® has been amazing, so I know it works.

Creating A System

As a test, I decided to host online Sunday Basket® Workshops and they were popular. Within 15 minutes of the first workshop, I realized that they weren’t going to be what I had expected. I thought I’d be teaching what the Sunday Basket® is. Instead, everybody already had a Sunday Basket®, but their baskets were full. I realized that people needed help with the organization of their baskets.

In fact, I realized that I needed to create a complete system to help people go through their SundayBasket®. Over the course of 2017, I took the next step (and then the next step) and I created the training for Certified Sunday Basket® Workshop Organizers to help people feel comfortable with their own baskets.

Over this last year, Organize 365 has added more than 32 Certified Sunday Basket® Workshop Organizers to our team and 3 Workshop Content Creators (who I have to admit are my lifeline!). This has required training, boot camps, and creating and sourcing tools and resources for The SundayBasket® Workshop Organizers and for you.

In the podcast, you will hear me talk about the products that I have created for The Sunday Basket®. I created the first five slash pockets (plastic dividers that you place in a binder with little colored tabs on them to identify the contents), which we now call Sunday Basket® 1.0. I worked with manufacturers and designers to have my own created because it was just impossible to purchase what I wanted in a regular store.

I’ve since had a pack of 20 slash pockets manufactured for Sunday Basket® 2.0. I’ve also created printables to show you what goes into each slash pocket.

I also wanted to create my own Sunday Basket®. That was really exciting, but overwhelming, too! I overcame the feeling of being overwhelmed by taking one step at a time. I had design issues with the basket, patent and trademark complications, shipment issues, and I ran out of storage space in my garage!

Now I have an office (which is more like a shipping department). So much has changed in a year!

Just like when you are organizing your home, or dealing with your Sunday Basket®, it would have been easy for me to quickly become overwhelmed with everything that had to be done.

I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know if I was throwing away my money or even if anyone would want to buy what I was creating. But one thing I did know was that I needed to take the next step to make progress.

As a result, we now have new binders coming in January and new Sunday Baskets® arriving in March. And my brand new Sunday Basket® Podcast launches in just two days! So please go check it out and subscribe to help you get organized going into 2018.

The Sunday Basket® Club

One of my 2018 goals was to launch the Sunday Basket® Club and it's now opening in January. You have to have gone through The Sunday Basket® 1.0 and The Sunday Basket® 2.0 beforehand though, so be sure to take the next step and complete those workshops – Click here

The Sunday Basket® Club membership details will be coming next week.

I will help you to take the next step, give you clear direction, help you hit your goals, and move on.

Organization is a 100% learnable skill. It does not come from buying things. It comes from learning the steps, understanding the thought process and the mindset necessary to become organized.

The 100 Day Home Organization Program

The next 100 Day Home Organization Program starts on January 1, 2018. If you would like to sign up for this program, click here.

Today is December 29, 2017. Take a look around you and imagine how you would like your house to be on December 29, 2018. If you just take the next step and don't get hung up on the process, I can guarantee that with your lifetime membership, you will be able to complete the 100 Day Home Organization Program three times throughout the year.

Don't wait for the perfect time. There is wiggle room in the program. Life has a habit of getting in the way so you are unlikely to complete your whole house in 100 days. Just manage your expectations and start. Your house will not be fully organized by April 12th... mine isn't. Remember, we are not aiming for perfection, just excellence.

It is not all about taking the first step, but taking the next step after that, stopping, and then taking the next step again.

View the complete post here: https://organize365.com/209

Direct download: Org365-209.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

FINALLY!

Don't you just want to jump right to the step where you get to go buy cute matching containers when you are organizing a space? ME TOO!

BUT every time I do that... it influences what I keep and how I store things instead of my THINGS influencing those decisions. (In the podcast I share how I figured that out as a professional organizer.)

First let's talk about what being organized means. For me it means:

  • Everything has a place.
  • I know where to find things.
  • I do not spend time LOOKING for things. 
  • I FEEL organized and put together.
  • I can have friends over and feel great.
  • My house looks good - not perfect - but good.
  • I feel confident in my abilities.
  • I don't have too little or too much.
  • I have choices of how to spend my time.
  • I am able to make forward progress on my goals and projects.

Before I dive into the 5 steps to organizing I want to give you one caution...

You will not get it 100% right the first time. 

Yep, no matter what you are organizing, your goal is to get 80-90% better. The last 10% comes in step 3. Which I will cover next week.

Ok, so you know how you will feel and are not going for perfection, let's dive in!

5 Steps to Organizing

  1. Get a big picture plan for the space.
  2. Combine like items.
  3. Match your items to the space.
  4. Buy organizers.
  5. Clean and finish.

Organizing feels amazing! But after a while... you realize something is missing. The last 10% is Step 3 of organizing. Most people never get there and I just realized what it was last month... Step 3 Increased Productivity.

Listen to the podcast to hear about how I declutter the master closet, kitchen, schedules and daily actionable papers. And 2 times when I focus on decluttering the WHOLE house before I start any organizing.

Links to things mentioned in the podcast:

Join the 100 Day Home Organization Challenge, or try week 1 FREE.

Are you looking for more personalized help?  I would love to learn more about you and your home and be your virtual organization coach.

Find all the other links here: organize365.com/145

Sign Up for the Newsletter organize365.com/newsletter 

Direct download: Org365-Binge-6.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

 5 Steps to Decluttering 
  1. Eliminate all trash, food and broken items.
  2. Sell or consign anything of value you want to sell. 
  3. Bag up any donatable items and deliver them to the donation center. (Including consignment items they wouldn't take)
  4. Collect everything that goes in another room and locate it in that room.
  5. Make a list of any spaces that need organizers, or items that need to be replaced. 

Decluttering feels good, but not finished. Step 2 of organizing needs to follow quickly to bring order into your newly emptied space. 

For the complete show notes go to https://organize365.com/144

Try week 1 of the 100 Day Home Organization Challenge free at https://organize365.com/100-day-challenge-free-week/

Also listen to: 

Podcast 101 - The Sunday Basket

Podcast 134 - My 3 New Years

Direct download: Org365-Binge-5.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

5 steps to go through when sorting storage room boxes.

Step 1 - Take the box to your kitchen

Step 2- Empty the box completely on your kitchen table and counters. 

Step 3- Disburse, Donate & Decide 

Step 4 - Re-package and label everything.

Step 5 - Set up a shelving system. 

Download the 5 step printable here.

Click here to join the 100 Day Home Organization Challenge.

Direct download: Org365-Binge-4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

It never fails. You are ready to get organized, but the people and circumstances around you have you stuck. 
 
In this podcast I will break down the various situations that get us stuck in each phase of our organizational journey.
 
Direct download: Org365-Binge-3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

In my professional organization experience I have noticed 3 distinct phases of life a woman goes through in relation to her home and clutter. 

1. Ages 25-40 the Accumulation Phase
2. Ages 40-55 the Survival Phase
3. Ages 55+ the Legacy & Downsizing Phase
 
Once you have determined your phase of life, then you must select what Organizational Stage you are in.
1. Overwhelmed
2. Creating Systems & Organization
3. Refinement & Styling
Direct download: Org365-Binge-2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

To learn more about organizing your home with the Sunday Basket and the 100 Day Home Organization Program, visit https://organize365.com/products-for-getting-organized/

Direct download: Org365-Binge-1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

Have you ever played Candy Crush? It is so ridiculously simple and mindless… but addictive. In this week’s podcast episode, I compare organizing your house to playing this fun, addictive, and ultimately endless game of Candy Crush.

It was around three summers ago that I played this game obsessively. I would find any excuse to play Candy Crush. I would even make extra time to play it, and play it for way too long trying to get through a level. Finally, I had to take it completely off my phone because I just have no will power. A couple of years later, I put it back on my phone and found I wasn't quite so addicted as I was the first time.

A word of warning – if you have never played Candy Crush, don't take this podcast as permission to go and download it! When I first started playing it, I thought you could "win," that you could finish the game, but there are literally millions of levels. You can never win. I don’t recommend wasting your time on it!

What does Candy Crush have to do with home organization?

As the new year approaches, we all start to set goals to get organized, lose weight, and put our finances in order, all at the same time. These are the top three New Year's resolutions that we all want to achieve. On January 1st, when people ask you what you're going to do, you say, "I'm going to lose 10 pounds, I'm going to get out of debt, and I'm going to get organized," because that is what everybody plans to do every single January!

When it comes to home organization, at the end of the year you may say, "I'm going to get my house in order." What you mean is you're going to declutter, donate, sell, and basically get rid of things. That's what you mean by getting organized in the last week of the year.

That's like the first 20 levels of Candy Crush. You go in, you play it, you go to the next level. Or, when organizing your home, you go in the room, you fill a trash bag, you take it out to the car, or you donate it and you continue like this… donating, trash, donating, trash. You feel good and you're also getting a bit of exercise while doing it!

Another example – you're clearing the house, taking down decorations, and you feel like you're doing a great job, then suddenly you return to a room you have already done, checking for any other clutter, and you get a little stuck. You start to look for more help to make decisions about what you need or don't need. It's not as easy to get through the room.

This is like Candy Crush – often they don't let you through the level on the first shot so you have to play it again until you finally get through it.

What happens when you get stuck?

Let’s say you make great progress until you realize there are no more "quick wins." So where do we go from there?

Maybe you buy some little containers and organize some drawers, maybe tweaking and maintaining things you've done before. By about the middle of January, there is still 80% that has not been organized successfully and you don't know where to start to resolving this. You wonder if there are organizers you can buy. This usually doesn't work, it costs a lot of money, and there aren't organizers you can buy for the space you need to organize... don't you hate that?

This is because 99% of organization has nothing to do with the cute containers.

It’s like you are stuck on Candy Crush level 56 and you're asking yourself, what do I have to do to get through this level?!

There are two things you can do when playing Candy Crush when you get stuck:

  1. Pay for help

You can pay for more moves when you run out of your lives, plus other pay options.

  1. Head online – I go to YouTube

Just search for “how to beat level 57 in Candy Crush” and watch a video of some genius who knows how to beat that level.

Either you go spend the time watching someone who knows how to do it or you pay the money to take you to the next level.

Guess what, it's the same with organizing. You start to get wins and you are flying through your house. You will want to spend more time organizing your house because you are having such success.

Equally, when you get frustrated and your laundry room is driving you bananas, you are going to start figuring out how to beat that laundry room. Someone has to win the battle and you want it to be you. You get so determined that once it is complete, you have a sense of satisfaction and can give yourself permission to go and do something else with your time.

When you're in the middle of January and you’re going to tackle the front hall closet or the laundry room, for example, just like in Candy Crush, you have two choices:

  1. Go online

You can go online and find many resources and people that can help you. For example, on Pinterest or YouTube, you can see spaces that have been organized by others and watch how they do it.

  1. Hire help

You can get a professional organizer or you could do my 100 Day Home Organization Program.

How I can help you?

To help you get organized, I have two things to offer you that I am so excited about.

  1. The Sunday Basket® Podcast

I’m so excited to let you know that on Sunday, December 31st, I’m launching the Sunday Basket® Podcast.

It is available now on iTunes. Please go check it out and subscribe.

Starting tomorrow, on the Organize 365 podcast I will be posting a podcast to listen to EVERY DAY through December 31st. I am calling this the Organize 365 BINGE.

These are previous podcasts that I have pulled out and put in the exact order I would have you listen to them if you were brand new to Organize 365. They will help you with the mental mindset you are going to need going forward. So whether you are new to Organize 365 (welcome!) or you are a regular, take a moment to subscribe, listen, and share this podcast with your friends and family. Help lighten the load for everyone!

Then from December 31st to January 7th, I will have 8 brand new episodes on the SundayBasket® Podcast. You have to subscribe to The Sunday Basket® Podcast, though, so be sure to do that so you get my daily tips and motivation!

  1. The 100 Day Home Organization Program

Registration to my 100 Day Home Organization Program is now open – click here to join.

The program gives you 100 actionable, 15 minute a day activities starting on Monday, January 1st. Every day by email, you will receive a 15-minute activity with a short video, an actionable step, and any links to material that I talk about in the email or video.

It is designed to systematically organize your entire house in 100 days. Don't worry, it comes with a lifetime membership so you don't have to commit to do all 100 days IN 100 days. You can skip days and go back to them and do this over and over again. We do the program 3 times a year.

Also with the 100 Day Home Organization Program, you get my amazing planner!

On January 1st, I will go live in the private Facebook Group and take you through the first part of this planner to set your goals and productivity.

I also do a weekly live Q&A in the group which I also post online. So even if you aren’t on Facebook, you won't miss out.

This is the game changer from waking up on January 1st, 2018 saying, "I'm going to lose some weight, get out of debt, and get organized" to waking up on January 1st, 2019 saying, "I got organized."

My goal is to help increase your productivity to allow you to do whatever you were uniquely created to do. We as women are being taken out by the everyday and this is stopping us from being the unique individuals we are meant to be.

I really want to be your coach, motivate you, and help you reduce the time spent on everyday tasks, to become more organized, purposeful, and productive through 2018. If you would like to join the 100 Day Home Organization Program, just click here. I hope to see you on the inside!

View the complete post here: https://organize365.com/208

Direct download: Org365-208.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

On the podcast this week, I ask you the question – who is in your top five?

Let me explain!

A few years ago, a cell phone company had a benefit for their customers where you could select the top five people that you talk to the most on the phone and those calls would be free. They would run advertisements where they talked about you having a "top five." My husband, Greg, and I used to find the whole "top five" thing amusing, and I recall it was often the source of jokes with comedians!

Then I heard a quote and it really had an impact on me.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” by the late Jim Rohn.

You’re the average of the five people that you spend the most time with in terms of income, positivity, taking action, etc.

The five people you spend the most time with are who you’ll be the most like.

I remember when I first heard this quote, it really caused me to think about who the five people are that I spend the most time with.

At the time, I was thinking how true the quote was. My income was the average of the five people I spent the most time with. My gossip level was the average of the five people I spent the most time with! (I don’t gossip anymore, but I used to gossip a lot!).

I changed how I spend my time

It was a conscious decision that I made to change how I spend my time. Hearing that quote over and over again and thinking, well, who do I want to be like?

  • What income do I want to have?
  • What kind of free time do I want to have?
  • How do I want to spend my free time?
  • What do I want to talk about in conversations?

I don’t listen to the news anymore, but at the time I was watching CNBC every day and I was freaking about the stock market… our money… every day.

I lived in a very moment-to-moment life. Now I live a much more peaceful, purposeful, proactive, cultivated life. I have cultivated the life that I am living. I let the media and the people in that I want and I don’t let in the rest.

My life is not directed based on what comes across my desk or comes across my TV. Even in my free time, I am choosing not to be marketed to through commercials, and I’m choosing not to get my news fed to me through a regular network news program.

Who are your five top people?

Now when you hear this, you may think about the five people you spend the most time with. They may all be under three feet tall! You’re not going to change that. You’re not going to change your spouse, your kids, your parents, your parish, your church, your whatever.

The people you spend the most time with are somewhat static and somewhat flexible. So, who you spend the most physical time with may not be as easy to change as who you spend your intellectual time with.

Ask yourself, who do I want to learn from? Who do I want to be like? If I could hang out with them tomorrow, and we lived in the same city, who would I hang out with?

I changed my top 5 through podcasts. I picked two or three podcasters I really liked at the time and I listened to every one of their episodes. And I would sometimes listen to their episodes over and over again so I would mentally be with them all the time.

When I find someone I like, I listen to their podcasts and (virtually) I become their "best friend" and get to know a lot about them.

You probably know a lot about me. You may listen to me every day. You may be interacting with me in social media. I like to think that I might be one of the top five people that you spend the most time with!

Great characteristics of your top five people

I want you to think about the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and who are the five people you most want to spend 2018 with?

Listen to the podcast to hear about four characteristics of people that I think would be most helpful for you to have in your top five going forward in 2018.

Change your mindset

A year from now at the end of 2018, what do you want your life to look like? Who do you want to be associating with? How much money do you want to be making? Who are those people that are living the life you want to be living 12 months from now?

Your top five don’t have to be the physical people you see every day.

So really, consciously, think about who is going to be in your top five going into 2018.

Then follow me on Facebook or on Instagram. I would love to be in your top 5 in 2018... and beyond!

View the complete post here: https://organize365.com/207

Direct download: Org365-207.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

It’s the beginning of December, the time of year when we reflect back on the past 11 months. We set goals to accomplish the things we said we were going to get done this year before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.

This is a podcast that has been brewing in my mind for a while. I’ve often said “progress over perfection” and “done is better than perfect.”   But perfection is a good thing, not a bad thing, right?

Should we strive for perfection?

I don’t think perfection is something to be idolized. I’m very goal orientated but I’m not a perfectionist, although I have lots of goals that I want to accomplish.

I first realized I wasn’t a perfectionist in 8th Grade. I couldn’t get to that ideal of straight A’s.

I always had a floating C on my report card. I remember failing a test because I wasn’t getting the information clearly. I was seeing it differently. Later, I found out I had dyslexia which made a lot of sense!

We all see the world in a different way. There is no one exactly like you. When we strive for perfection, what is the outside marker that deems we are doing a good job?  Who is the judge of what perfection is? Perfect to one person may not be perfect to another.

I want to change our vocabulary from perfectionism to excellence

I’m definitely a woman of excellence. I try to be excellent in everything I do, but I don’t strive for perfection.

  • The definition of perfection is “the condition, state or quality of being free or as free as possible of all flaws or defects” or “the action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible.”
  • The definition of excellence is “the quality of being outstanding or extremely good” and “an outstanding feature or quality.”

They sound pretty similar and, in some cases, the words can be used interchangeably. The difference is the intent behind the words and the way they make you feel.

When you are going for the perfect room, the perfect picture, the perfect goal weight, you are fixated on what the outcome is going to look like. Is it your level of perfect or someone else’s level of perfect?

Expectations of others

In the past, when I’ve thought I could get something perfect, the problem was that it never was.

My husband has perfectionistic tendencies. When we were newly married and I would paint a room or complete an organizing project, my husband would come in, inspect it, and find the flaws... which I can tell you, I was not very happy about!

I’m a good enough painter. I saved us a lot of money painting the rooms. They’re not perfect, but they’re beautiful. I did the best that I could with the resources I had and I finished the job. I did it with excellence.

But when I tried to meet the expectations of other people, I felt judged. Am I ever going to be good enough?

When you strive for perfection, the definition alone tells you “the condition, state or quality of being free or as free as possible of all flaws or defects.”

Free of all flaws and defects? Are you kidding? We’re in a fallen world. We can’t be free of flaws because we’re human.

Excellence IS achievable

I am so much happier now that I’m striving for excellence. But I was 30 years old before I decided to be a woman of excellence.

For example, I spent years watching my best friend do everything... parenting, being hospitable, and being a friend... with excellence. One day, I just started doing what she did. I used to spend a lot of time bemoaning the fact that I had chores to do, or waiting until the chores filled up a block of time, or resenting that I had to do the chores.

Now, if I’m walking by and I see something that needs doing... laundry to put away, something to pick up... I do it right away.

I’ve become a person of action and excellence.

How does this relate to you?

When you are looking to get your house organized or become a more productive person, there is a tendency for us to dream about what it’s going to be like when everything is perfectly organized. It’s not going to happen.

I want to change your mindset here. If you’re striving for perfection, your days are going to end in frustration and defeat. You are not going to get there.

The thing I found out when striving for excellence is that “done is better than perfect.”

Excellence in action

So, this is how excellence plays out for me.

Everyday, I set out to do one to three big tasks, things I want to knock off my to-do list. Often, I’ve done most of them by noon and I add more. And everyday I am amazed at what I get done, but I don’t set myself up for failure trying to be perfect at things.

Excellence is taking the next step. It’s not about having a perfect outcome. It’s just looking at the next step that needs to be done, taking the action, then figuring out what the next step is.

There’s none of the inner dialogue. Whenever I am trying to do something to be perfect, I spend so much time thinking about it, talking to myself about it, and preparing to do it instead of just doing it.

When I act as a person of excellence, I just want to have this house well-run and everyone have what they need.

How do you feel about excellence?

There’s no real action to take, but I just want you to start thinking about the different feelings you have when acting in a perfect way or acting in excellence.

How much time do you spend internally dialoguing with yourself over your own expectations?

  • How your house looks
  • How organized different spaces are
  • How perfectly you do something
  • How much of your time is wasted on the thinking and not the doing

Sometimes in the doing, in the action, the perfect answer will come to you. A more excellent way will be revealed.

If you have a couple of things on your list that you want to get done in the morning, just go ahead and attack those things with excellence, doing the next thing you know how to do. You will get so much more done than if you try to do one thing perfectly everyday.

I would love to hear your feedback on this. You can talk to me on Facebook or on Instagram (I'm having lots of fun on Instagram Stories right now!)

View the complete post here: https://organize365.com/206

Direct download: Org365-206.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

'Tis the season to get overwhelmed with stress and give yourself a migraine and cold sweats just thinking about decorating your house for the holidays!

We all love how our house looks when it is all decorated, but the task itself seems like climbing Mount Everest. We can get ourselves so worked up about how arduous the task appears. I know it feels like the biggest task of my life at times.

How can we change our mindset on this?

Recently, I held a "Holiday Blitz" challenge on Facebook Live, a free 5-day "get ready guide" for the holidays. To those of you who took part, I hope you found it super useful. The printables are available here and the videos are still on Facebook.

During the challenge, I discussed how women have many roles that they play, and how we have different things to do all the time that leave us feeling like we are always working. The holidays are a time where there is a lot of pressure on the female head of the home. She needs to produce great food, decorations, and gift ideas, and be the host for guests, just to name a few.

When it comes to decorating, we tend to put up every decoration we have because everybody loves them, right? Well, yes, but would they even notice if we didn’t use EVERY decoration? Well, most likely, they wouldn't!

Where to start?

It was around 10 years ago that decorating my house took on this momentous feeling. I used to love it, but so many things led to a change for me.

I've tried various approaches over the years to get back into the swing and take joy from festive decorating, and the approach that has worked best is a giant purge. We all have that box of decorations sitting in the basement that we no longer use.

You collect all these decorations and wish you had a space, but really they are just guilt in boxes and it is okay to get rid of them. Yes, go ahead and donate them. You will not need them in the future. And you will not miss them either!

That doesn’t mean you can't ever add new things, just as long as they make sense to you. We bought a Christmas tree (ours have to be fake as I am allergic to real trees) around 10 years ago and, at the time, I loved it. Then Christmas tree technology really moved on and I got pre-lit tree envy, but for years couldn’t justify the cost. This year though – I bought it! Or rather, them. I got a few… but they were a great addition for us, as I’ll explain shortly.

What next?

This year, I decorated my entire house in 3-1/2 hours and I’m going to share my secrets with you. I break it down into 4 steps.

Clean

I always decorate on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The kids are on holiday and I’m off work, but my husband isn’t. So he gets the gift of leaving the house looking normal and returning to it fully decorated. This year, it fell perfectly that our housecleaner was coming that same day, too.

Block out time

I started optimistically by blocking out the whole day, but life happened and I couldn’t get started until 12:30 pm, rather than 10 am as I had originally planned. I already knew I had to be done by 6:30 pm. We had family coming in from out of state, and it was likely that my husband would finish work early. I was a little stressed at losing a couple of hours in the morning, but knew that I had to get it all squeezed in somehow.

Start with the hardest part

For me, the hardest part was always setting up the old tree. So I started with the smallest of the new trees. It took me no time! I was amazed. Then, I moved onto the bigger tree and assumed that would be simple, too. I shifted the furniture around and "ta-da," in 20 minutes I was done and had a beautiful big tree. Getting the new tree(s) saved me so much time and so much stress. It will alleviate so much worry for me next year.

Keep going until you’re done

At 2-1/2 hours into it, and with the Fall decorations down, nativity scenes set up, wreaths hanging, and baby Jesus in his wooden manger, I was done. But I wasn’t done. Those tree ornaments weren’t going to hang themselves! I made excuses. I even hid the ornaments on the other side of the room. I so desperately wanted it to be over already.

But I didn’t quit. Our ornaments are separated into boxes by which tree they go on. I put the living room tree ornaments on and it was so fast and easy. By this point, I realized I had been so close to giving up and had been moaning about something so simple. I looked at what I had left and made a plan. I changed some things up and put things in new locations. Yes, I gave myself permission to change my own rule! We get so locked into tradition sometimes that we lose the sense of things.

By the end, I was exhausted. So I had a coffee and took a nap in the time that I had to spare. My husband was thrilled when he got home and I was so pleased with myself that I actually got it done.

Remember…

You are in control. You can ask family which are their favorite decorations (do this before you put anything up so you know they actually remember it) and you can take away the pressure of having to put up all the other things that they don’t mention and won’t notice aren’t there anyway. Ease the pressure on yourself where you can and bring back the joy of holiday decorating.

To see more about my holiday decorating and whatever else I'm up to, follow me on Instagram. Happy Holidays!

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Direct download: Org365-205.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

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