The Ho-Ho-Ho-DONE: Now What?!

In some ways, I am so glad we have Christmas–otherwise, I don’t know how I would get through the winters here in Chicago (and previously, MinneSNOW-da).  The holidays–while hectic–give me a little something to plan for, to live for, and then to organize afterwards.  And organization, my friends, is my middle name! 

As you are sifting through the tinsel and shuffling the left-overs around in the fridge, you now have a whole pile of stuff to organize.  Agh!  Where does one even start?!

Here are a few tips and hints to get you in organization-mode:

  • The kids have pulled in a Santa-sized bag of loot and now you need to make sense of it all.  Gather all of the toys in one place.  Determine if there is any kind of “theme” for the ones you received (race cars/tracks, trains, dolls, “pets,” crafts) and begin making piles.  Determine if there is anything “special” that can stay in your child’s room–put it there.  Other toys can be put away for a rainy (or snowy day).  We do toy themes at our house–all of the “like” toys get boxed in Rubbermaid storage containers and pulled out at weekly intervals.  It keeps their interest fresh and I don’t have 20 gazillion toys to trip over. 
  • You got a bunch of stuff you don’t want/need.  Hopefully, you got some gift receipts so you can get yourself back to the store and get what you want.  Go with something in mind, don’t just go to browse, or you’ll end up with something you don’t really need.  If your gift came sans gift receipt, you can always ask the giver for one if you know them well enough, or you can try to take it back without a receipt.  Some retailers will allow a few returns per year without a receipt.  Or, try re-gifting…I know…it’s a bit on the tacky side, but it may work for a child’s birthday gift down the road.  Finally, try selling it on eBay, Craig’s List or some other avenue. 
  • You got some cash for a gift.  Yahoo!  What are you going to do with it?  Do you put in the bank and save for a family vacation?   Make a list and get something you really want?  Or do you pay bills with it?  Hummm….you could do what I was taught to do as a kid: put half in the bank and keep the other half for you.  If you decide to keep the money to spend on yourself–do it!  Make an appoitment at a day spa, buy those boots you’ve been eyeing, the new purse…just don’t blow it on random things so when someone asks what you got with your money, you don’t say “I dunno.” 
  • Your kid(s) got some cash.  My first instict is to pop it in their college fund.  But…harder said than done.  You can save it for sometime in the winter months when the newness of their toys have worn off.  Make a date on your calendar for spending that money–it’ll give them (and you) something to look forward to.  You could compromise and save some/spend some.  You could donate to a charity that supports a cause your child is passionate about. 
  • You need to charge/read about/and “battery-ify” electronics.  Keep all instruction manuals together.  Put them in a binder using clear sheet protectors.  Label the binder, “Kid(s) Electronics.”  Through power cords into Zip-Locs and label the cords with the toy name.  Keep it in a handy location. 

Good luck getting organized!

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