Reduce your mental holiday clutter


When people think about staying organized over Christmas, more often than not they focus on physical clutter, like organizing presents and decorations. However, over the busy holiday season, people can develop mental clutter that can make it difficult to truly enjoy the season. Many people have a lot to do over the holidays in addition to their regular jobs or tasks – there’s visits with family and friends, holiday parties, gift shopping, gift wrapping, decorating, and plenty of other obligations. This holiday season take some time to organize your mental clutter to avoid feeling stressed and overwhelmed.


Remember: you’re not in this alone

If you’re hosting a meal for family and friends, don’t think that you have to do everything yourself. Ask your guests to pitch in and help with the meal by bringing a side dish or beverages so you don’t have as much to do. Cooking a turkey and bringing it as a guest can be difficult, but if you handle the turkey, it is easy for someone else to bring a salad or vegetable. Desserts and appetizers are also easy to delegate to other guests.

 When you’re assigning items for guests to bring, be sure to write down what each person is bringing so you or another guest don’t accidentally make the same thing or forget to bring a dish. Make sure you know what everyone is bringing, and if they will need to heat up their dish or keep it in the fridge until the meal is served. This way, you can plan your own dishes accordingly.


Change your gifting habits

A lot of mental stress during the holidays comes from having to buy gifts for your friends, family members and co-workers. Not only is it difficult to come up with ideas, but shopping can be very time-consuming and financially draining. Consider reducing your gift consumption without sacrificing the fun of giving and receiving gifts. Instead, try drawing names for “Secret Santa” or hosting a gift exchange with a lower budget. This way, everyone still gets a gift, but you won’t have to spend the same amount of time or money.  

Gifts don’t have to be expensive, and they don’t have to be a tangible object either. Consider going out for a nice meal with friends instead of buying each other gifts or take a loved-one to an activity or performance. These “clutter-less” gifts don’t have to be enjoyed during the holiday season either – they can wait until sometime in the New Year, so you aren’t scrambling to fit everything in December. Postponing your gifts will also help keep your spending down during the holidays.


Take time to relax

There may be a lot you want to do over the holidays, but it is important to make sure to do set time aside to relax and spend time with friends and family. Plan on meeting with friends for lunch or set aside time for after-work drinks. If you really want to relax, a trip to the salon for a quick pedicure or manicure with friends might also be a good way to unwind. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of time but getting together can be a great way for you to take a break while spending time with your loved ones over the holidays. Finding time to get together can be more special than just sending them a gift.


Purchase supplies ahead of time

It’s not too early to start purchasing your groceries for the holiday meal. Start looking for sales on cranberry sauce, condiment spreads, crackers, pickles, and other non-perishable foods. Turkeys, hams and other meats and fish can also be purchased in advance and frozen – just be sure to give yourself enough time to safely defrost them before preparing. Some desserts and baked goods can also be made up ahead of time. You can start baking simple bars, dessert squares and cookie dough now and freeze them. Whenever you have people over or need a dessert, you can simply pull them out of the freezer before the meal, so they are ready to go when you need them.


It can be hard to have fun over the holidays when mental clutter is weighing you down. Take time to relax over the holidays and make visiting family and friends a priority. Do what you can ahead of time but remember that you don’t have to do everything on your own. Giving gifts is a popular holiday tradition, but it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time or money. With these simple steps, you can enjoy the holiday season!  

Summer road-trip essentials


A summer vacation requires a lot of organizing – but the road-trip to get to your vacation destination needs just as much planning!

If you are driving by car over a long distance this summer, don’t expect to be able to get into your car and drive away. Make sure that you know the route you are taking (and some potential back-ups) in case of inclement weather, traffic problems, or construction. It’s a good idea to preview the whole route to also map out different rest areas, especially for overly-long drives. Take note of any towns you are passing through, and possible places to stop for gas, a bite to eat, or a place to stretch your legs.

For trips that require multiple days, ensure that you allow for plenty of time to get to your destination. Leave some extra time just in case you run into complications along the way, and don’t push yourself to drive more hours than is safe. If you’re staying with family or friends, make sure they have an estimated time arrival for you ahead of time, and keep them updated by contacting them during one of your rest stops once you get closer. It’s a good idea to make sure they know your travel plans and the route you are taking.

It’s also important to make sure that your car is organized and packed with all of the essentials:


Whether you’re planning a quick day trip or multiple days on the road, you can never have too many snacks. Look for items that are least likely to make a mess and easy to eat on the go – fresh vegetables and fruit can be cut and packed into individual portions for easy access and eating. Granola bars or bites, beef jerky, and fruit gummies are good non-perishable treats that can be kept in a car over the summer as an emergency stash.  


Always make sure you have plenty of water and other beverages to help you and your family stay hydrated during the trip. While drinking water is important, consider bringing a few other beverage options to switch it up, especially if you are driving for long periods. Flavoured sparkling water is still healthy, but the different flavour and carbonation can be a nice change and energy booster. For kids, juice boxes are easy to pack and store and are healthier than pop. You can also consider using reusable water bottles and bringing larger bottles of water and refilling them. Don’t forget to bring travel mugs for coffee and tea refills during morning drives!


Even with the right snacks and beverages, messy hands and faces can still happen. Throw a couple of packs of wipes or clothes into one of the seat pockets so are prepared to clean up any potential messes. It’s also a good idea to make sure one bag is designated as a garbage bag, so you have a place to dispose or store any dirty cloths while you’re on the road.

Headphones and chargers

Batteries don’t last forever, so make sure that you have all the chargers you need for all of your electronic devices. Consider purchasing an extra charger and keeping it permanently in your car so you always have access to it when you need it most. Not everyone can agree on what to listen to, so make sure headphones are available for anyone who might want to listen or watch something else on their personal devices.


From the driver to the passengers, everyone can get bored on road-trips. Make sure everyone is prepared by bringing along a variety of activities or entertainment options. Don’t just create a playlist – download a few podcasts or audio books to listen to as well. Change is good and helps break up long travel distances. For passengers, books, movies and small games are also great entertainment options. If you still find yourself with nothing to do, consider playing one of these classic road trip games with the other passengers.

Your summer adventure awaits, but make sure your vehicle is road-trip ready before you hit the open road!

Unpack to Organize after Summer Vacation

Unpacking from a summer vacation is very similar to unpacking after moving your home. It might not be on as large of a scale, but like moving, unpacking from a trip is often stressful and tiring. The last thing you want to do after being on the road or in the air for multiple hours is have to unpack.  

Do yourself a favour and get the hard work done before the trip home! The way you pack up your belongings has a huge impact on what you will have to do once you get in the door. If you get in later in the day or the evening, unpacking your belongings in an organized way is often far from your mind – but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve got some suggestions to help you get organized before you even depart from your summer vacation. 


1. Get your laundry sorted out 

Don’t make yourself have to go through all of your clothes as soon as you get home. Instead, take a plastic bag with you before you leave on your trip, and throughout your vacation add your used clothing to the bag. This way, your dirty clothes will be separated from your clean clothes, and ready to be taken to the laundry room when you get back. 


2. Pack your essentials last 

They’re your essentials for a reason, so often they’ll be the items you pack last minute and need as soon as you get home. Instead of shoving them in any pocket or area of your suitcase that you can find, place all these items in pockets that are easily accessible, or at the top of your suitcase in the same area. When you open it up, everything you need to access right away will be in reach – no rummaging around necessary! 


3. Prioritize your items 

Items like shoes, sunscreen, books or magazines, and toys should be relegated to the bottom of your suitcase. If you don’t have time to unpack all of your bags when you get home, don’t worry about it. Give priority to your essential items, and then unpack based on how urgently you need to use your items. If you have multiple bags, it might work to categorize the items into different bags based on their level of necessity. However, make sure you know what bags have what items in them beforehand.  


4. Delegate  

Whether there is a group travelling or just yourself, don’t let anyone slack off when it comes to unpacking. Although some items don’t need to be unpacked right away, leaving suitcases half full of items for multiple days can just add unwanted clutter and disorganization. Make sure that you and other travelling companions know what needs to be unpacked and when. Lists, organizers, or even organizing and list apps (like Sortly) can help everyone stay on track of what essentials need to be unpacked and when.  

People go on vacations to relax - but there is no reason why this feeling has to go away when you unpack after vacation. Pack smart before you leave so you can easily unpack to an organized home![INSERT TWEET THIS LINK].