5 Tips to Simplify the Holidays


5 Tips to Simplify the HolidaysHere are some ideas for making space for Christmas to be more meaningful.Think about your favorites:  It’s so easy to get lost in the busy-ness of Christmas, between the cookie exchanges, craft fairs, pageants, and other programs.  Take time to really think about what events are important to you, and don’t overbook yourself or your family.

Give the gift of an experience:  Offer to take some of your close friends out for lunch or a day at the spa instead of buying gifts, or take your family on a trip.  It will be more memorable and leave less clutter afterward.

Make room for the new:  A great rule of thumb in keeping an organized household is to get rid of two items for every one item you bring home.  In a season of buying new coats and cold weather accessories, pass your old ones on to someone in need.  (The Lighthouse Mission here in Bellingham is always open to donations, see below).

Shift your focus:  This is a way to bring peace to your own life, but also a reminder of what Christmastime really should be; a season of giving.  So take your eyes off the stuff that you need to get done, the list that’s controlled your life all month, and take a look at the world around you.  Think of those in need, and give as you can, play with your kids, make time for people.  When all is said and done, you’ll feel a lot better than if you had simply checked every time off your list.

Accept help:  Let your kids help with mailing out Christmas cards and baking cookies.  Let guests bring dishes when they come over.  Accept people’s offers to let them know if you need help with anything.  And if you’re still overwhelmed, call the girls at Organized at Last.  We’d love to come help you get caught up and organized so you can relax and enjoy the holidays.

Giving Back: Lighthouse Mission. For the glory of God, the Lighthouse Mission Ministries ministers to needy men, women, and children through the provision of compassionate services in the name of Jesus Christ.  Funded 100% by private donations, they rely on contributions from individuals, businesses, and churches in our community.  Visit www.thelighthousemission.org for more info.

An Encouraging Word

“What better time than moving into the holiday season to stop and reflect on our lives. We need to adopt a new mindset about consuming less, living with less and being happy with less. A mindset that embraces the idea that happiness can come when we are not constantly chasing ‘more’. I believe that we now need to reframe our thinking away from the pursuit of what we don’t have (especially in these tough times) to joy and pleasure in what we do have: family, friends, love, support, someone to hold and someone who values us not for what we have but for who we are.” – Peter Walsh

Pumpkin Soup

Fall is a great time to experiment with new soup recipes. Here is one of my favorites from my friend Chris. She makes this every year for Halloween. It is delicious and easy! I am serving it with a salad and my easy Beer Bread (see recipe below pumpkin soup recipe).

Pumpkin Soup:

1/4 Cup butter

1 Large onion sliced

1/4 Cup green onion

2 Cups pumpkin puree

4 Cups chicken stock

Pinch of Curry powder

Pinch of Ginger

Pinch of Nutmeg

2 Cups of half & half

Melt Butter. Saute onions until tender and golden. Add pumpkin, chicken stock, curry, ginger and nutmeg. Simmer 20 minutes or so. Remove from the heat ad let cool down a bit. Use blender or food processor to puree and put back in pot. Add half & half  let it simmer (but don’t let it boil) for another 5 minutes. Garnish with green onion and sour cream or parsley sprigs.

Beer Bread:

3 Cups flour

1/2 Cups sugar

1 Teas. baking soda

1 Bottle of beer (I used a blonde ale, but you can make it with any kind)

Mix it together & bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Creating Space for What Really Matters!

How and where do you begin? Be realistic – establish reasonable and reachable goals. Set yourself up for success!

1. Simplify your life: What do you want your physical space to look like? Less is best and less really is more. Start with one room, one pile at a time to remove all of the physical clutter. Change your decor through simplifying. A few larger pieces in a room are much more beautiful and make a much stronger statement than a bunch of small knick knacks.

2. Storage units are very costly especially when you think about the stuff you are storing and not using. Consider asking yourself if your “stuff” is worth the amount you are spending.

3. Office/Paperwork – Having a daily system

    • Sort mail daily and recycle junk immediately!
    • Set up a desktop system or wall pockets with the following headings:
      • To Pay
      • To Do
      • To Read
    • Have personal files for each family member and/or current project/committees.

4. Limit Shopping

    • Discipline yourself. When you do purchase something new, something else needs to go.

5. Live a Balanced Life

    • Look your best: simple routines for self-care.
    • Feel your best: eat well and exercise.
    • Be your best: get organized so that you have time for the truly important things in life!


I am excited to be launching my new Organized at Last Blog! This will be a place for me to share quick posts filled with ideas to keep your home, office and life simplified. My goal has always been to help people live emptier, fuller lives and I trust this blog will provide you with the tools to do just that. Here you will find everything from my best organizing tips, favorite recipes and lessons learned in parenting. Stay tuned!