The countdown has begun.
Two more sleeps till Santa comes? Nope. That’s not what I’m talking about.
21 days until we move into our new home! So between the last minute stocking stuffer shopping and the wrapping, we have begun to pack up our home and prepare for our big move.
Here are some things that we’re doing to tackle the daunting task in our typical organized fashion:
Assessing the Situation
We are moving to a similarly sized home that even has an almost identical layout. But we’re trading one small downtown home for another. That means all of our furniture isn’t going to translate to the available spaces in the new place. I’ve been mulling over how we’ll distribute things in the new home and thinking about what pieces will need to find a new home and what will need to be purchased. I took copious measurements at the new house. And I made a Home Furniture spreadsheet:
- I listed out all of the furniture we own, under one tab.
- Then I created a separate tab and slotted each piece into the rooms of the new house.
- Knowing some of the new pieces I want to purchase (Ikea here we come!), I added these to each room, using red to indicate that these need to be purchased.
- Some things I’m not totally sure of. So these get a question mark next to them.
- This ends up with a list of extra things that need to find a home, either at our place or someone else’s or the Goodwill.
- I’ve also got a spot or two where I know I need something but I’m not sure what. These are highlighted.
Using this list, we know what big pieces of furniture we can part with now, so that we don’t end up moving them.
Getting Rid of the Excess
In the spirit of the New Year and with our desire to not move extra stuff, we are going through and purging what we can now. Even though we’re an organized family and don’t have major issues with clutter, we still have more stuff than we need as new stuff always seems to be coming in. (Hello? All the new toys coming from Santa in a couple days?!?)
Living in a small home, we only have so much storage space. A couple times a year, I go through the things we are storing and swap out some of the things we don’t need anymore for some of the newer things we’d like to keep. Since we’re going through our stuff now to pack it all for moving, we’re doing one of these purges at the same time. Why move it when you can lose it?
Keeping it Together
We’re being systematic in our packing. We’ve started with our home office and the basement and are moving onto the dining room next. We are packing all of the stuff from each room together in a set of boxes and bins. Instead of mixing different kinds of things from different rooms, we’re keeping like things together and creating a set of boxes for each room in our home.
Right now, we’re at the stage where we’re packing up the things we aren’t going to need over the next 3 weeks. And we’re starting with the rooms that hold the most items that are not used daily. Once they are packed, the boxes stay in that room while we live around them and keep out what we need and use day-to-day.
Closer to the day, we’ll pack the last boxes of commonly used items for each room in separate boxes. These will be important to clearly label and keep track of as they will also be the first things we’ll need when we get to the new house.
Organizing with Colour
As we pack our boxes, we are putting detailed labels on each one. This includes the name of the room in which the box belongs and info on what’s in the box.
Plus we’re taking it a step further. As a former art student, I love to use colour to code things. This move is no exception. My husband has gone to the hardware store and purchased several different kinds and colours of tape. We have regular masking tape, green painters tape, blue painters tape, and a rainbow of red, yellow, white and silver duct tapes. We have assigned each kind/colour of tape to a particular room. The detailed labels for each box are written on the proper tape and put onto each box.
Then on moving day, I’ll put up the corresponding tape on the doorway or the wall of each room in the new house so that the movers know exactly where to put each of the boxes. And I’m going to find some brightly coloured stickers for the boxes of commonly used items so that we can easily find them in the piles of boxes when we get to the new place.
And this is just the beginning… Stay tuned for more tales about how we’re getting ready for our move – and then what happens once we get to organizing our new home!
We eat a lot of eggs at our house. They are a great source of protein and help keep meal prep simple and quick, which gives me time for other things on my To Do list or (heaven forbid) doing something fun!
So when Egg Farmers of Canada asked me to share some of my tips for planning ahead and simplifying eating during the holiday season, I said “With pleasure!” (And they are looking for your tips, too.)
I’m always searching online for organizing and planning ideas and have come across lots of suggestions on how to put together a large meal for a big group of people. But I find it is the time leading up to the holidays, the impromptu visits, and the in-between meals that are the trickiest to plan for. Here are my tips:
Make Baking an Event
I love having cookies and other sweet treats around during the festive season. But holiday baking is often one of the things that gets cut from my To Do list as the December days pass and time runs away from me. The only way I’m able to get it done (on the years that I do) is to make an event of it. I invite a few girlfriends over so we can bake together. Getting all the kids involved is great too. If you set a time and make it social, you can end up with an array of baked goods and have fun making them. I like to choose simple and classic recipes and stick to things like cookies (I love peanut butter cookies) and squares (these pineapple ones sound dreamy).
The Freezer is your Friend
One of the best purchases my husband and I have ever made is our chest freezer. We keep it pretty well stocked, which gives us lots of dinner making options. I especially love the freezer during the holiday season. Whether you are having a baking exchange or you’re preparing family meals early in December, make extras and freeze them. This way, when you need something in a hurry, you have reserves. Or if you have any pop-in visits, you’re ready to go. Things like these mini-quiches freeze really well and are excellent appetizers for guests. French Toast is great for freezing too. It's not hard to make plenty of extras if you're already making brunch and freeze them in batches for quick and easy anytime breakfasts.
Entertain Casually and Ask for Help
We often try to get together with friends over the holiday season. Not for an official dinner party but for a quick casual get together, let the kids exchange gifts and share a meal. I have three suggestions for making these get-togethers easy and enjoyable:
1. Make it potluck
2. Prepare simple meals
3. Brunch is best
Having brunch is great because you have so many options that the adults and kids will all enjoy. I’ll take it over dinner anytime. It is the perfect time of the day… when kids are in a great mood and not over-tired. We have plans for a waffle-off with friends later this month. The best part of this plan? The husbands man the waffle irons!
Keep the Rest Simple
During the final days of December, I find the regular meal planning more challenging than usual. We are all home spending time together, we are in and out going to many events, and days are really, really busy. Who has time to cook? But we still have to have regular healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners in between the parties. I stick to things that cook quickly, that are my go-to meals, and that use fairly standard ingredients. This way I can easily whip something up without too much thinking. Fried, hard-cooked or scrambled… eggs fit the bill.
BTW: the added bonus for me is that eggs are one of the Kid’s fave foods. At our last family get-together, he insisted that he was going to eat 20 Devilled Eggs all by himself!!
Want to share your holiday egg tips, too? And help families in need get some eggs into their tummies? And maybe win some cash for yourself? Check out this amazing contest!
This blog is proudly sponsored by our generous and
yummy friends at Egg Farmers of Canada
I have fallen off the wagon.
My nice, comfortable, uber-organized wagon.
My centralized pile to deal with in the morning is creeping out over the table and has been sitting there longer than I’d like to admit. Meal planning has been forgotten for a few weeks. I haven’t taken time to keep my “To Do” lists updated and organized.
What has lead to this disarray? Here’s the math:
One already busy family
+ an overly hectic work schedule
+ we bought a new house
+ we staged and sold our current home
+ 2 weeks of kid flu
+ getting ready for the holiday season
+ starting to pack for the move
= overwhelmed me
Who can’t relate??
Each item above on its own is manageable. But put them all together and, well…
There are only so many hours in the day. There is only so much volume that one can handle. And when the volume is cranked, even the most organized folk can feel oh so disorganized. But it happens. Life happens.
In order to keep up, I’ve been taking things as they come at me. I’ve been getting the essentials done and keeping all of the balls in the air. But I have not been feeling my usual in control self. I’ve had to put off many things that I would normally do. And I am not ahead of the game.
When my life gets like this, I can only go along for so long before I need to get back on the wagon and get that wagon back on the track.
Now is the time.
This weekend, I spent time getting organized. My “To Do” lists are all filled up and prioritized by date. My Holiday Gifts Spreadsheet has been updated and the purchased gifts are organized. I may not be further ahead in the things I have to do and my schedule may still be mega-packed. But I am feeling much better about it all.
(But how did I do it? My husband took the Kid out for lots of dude fun. This weekend, they went to a Raptors game, a couple of indoor playgrounds and somewhere that they couldn’t tell me since it is part of a holiday surprise for me. This is the downside to getting organized… you can miss out on some good stuff! But something’s gotta give.)