Thankful for My Organized Home
As Thanksgiving approaches, I am thankful for my organized home. I do not share this very often (for obvious reasons), but I used to be hopeless about putting things away – especially when I tapped into my creative impulses.
When I was newly married and we would entertain, I was definitely in the “shove and dump” category. Surfaces were clear but, “Don’t open that…door!” I am sure some of you can relate! As a result, items would get misplaced and the disorder in the weeks (and months) that followed would take a toll on me.
Over the years, the piles got smaller, but it took becoming a Professional Organizer to finally help me learn how to manage and organize my creative side. Learning from my own miss-steps has really helped me relate to the needs of my clients! I condensed a few ideas I have incorporated over the years that allow me be creative AND ORGANIZED for the holidays. Because I host Thanksgiving every year, I have systems in place that work for me. I hope some of these strategies will work for you too. And I wish you a thankful, creative, and stress-free Thanksgiving!
Over the past few weeks, I have been helping Declare Order clients get organized before the start of the Thanksgiving/Christmas rush. As we establish systems that work for their specific needs, we also make sure to MAKE ROOM for the holidays and the onslaught of gifts, company, entertaining, outings, and general clutter – yikes! that come with it. For one particularly busy client, we skipped decorating for Thanksgiving and put up Christmas! She is not hosting additional family for Thanksgiving this year, so we made room for Christmas cheer instead! There is a Thanksgiving wreath on the front door and Christmas décor on the mantle and bookshelves. One less thing for her to bother with this year. Especially important, because the baby is not sleeping through the night!
How can YOU make room? One way is to resist shoving holiday food items in and around your already crowded pantry, cabinet, or fridge.
Clear a section of kitchen cabinet and fridge for incoming holiday food, or designate one section of counter space for nonperishables to accumulate for a few days.
I change the configuration of my refrigerator shelves to accommodate the turkey and then use cookie sheets to create impromptu shelves for stacking baking dishes and pies I have cooked ahead on Wednesday. The entry closet also gets a quick configuration change (because it is not a catch-all for other household items). Our coats are removed and placed on an upstairs bed in the morning, leaving the hangers empty for company!
Serving Platter Solutions
In the few days leading up to Thanksgiving, I used to round up my serving platters from the storage room, kitchen cabinets, and wherever else, then waste too much time scrubbing off the dust, sorting them by type, deciding which ones to use, and then not putting them back! I quickly learned that this was not the most efficient way to go.
My current “serving platter organizing system” is as follows:
We have a buffet! When my parents downsized, I eagerly accepted their buffet. It is an efficient way for us to store all of our serving platters and dishes together on the main floor. Because they are tucked into a buffet used only to store items for entertaining, they stay clean and dust-free.
As is the often the case, I felt guilty donating serving platters we had received as gifts or inherited from family. Over time, I realized that there were certain platters we just did not use – either the colors were off for most holidays, or the patterns were too busy to create a cohesive display. I now have only white or glass platters and serving dishes because they are the most versatile. I can pull everything out of the buffet with confidence, knowing it is clean and ready to match whatever color scheme I have selected for that year’s holiday décor. And because the buffet is on the main floor and only holds items for entertaining, the platters and dishes are as easy to put away as they are to take out to use. A big plus for me!
Decking the Halls
The best organizing advice I have for storing holiday décor, is to store items on shelves in lidded labeled containers in the order you will want to retrieve them. For example, if you know you will hang lights in mid-November when the weather is milder, make sure those bins are clearly marked, “Lights,” and store them in the front section of the Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah section. That way you can pull the lights out without dragging out all the other holiday containers before you are ready for them.
Zone storage by holiday and do not feel compelled to use everything every year! My Halloween collection keeps shrinking as the kids age. We are down to one bin and it is filled, closed, and back on the shelf when Thanksgiving comes out. I do not put out everything in the bins, because I let my creative side do the deciding. Some years, I decide by a dominant color scheme, others by category – nature, pumpkins, turkeys, etc. Having a cohesive theme in strategic areas of the home makes more of an impact then scattering everything around. Changing it up every year – without purchasing new stuff – makes me happy. I think of my holiday supplies as a “palette” and then see what transpires.
I wonder what this year will bring?
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