Thanksgiving is coming! There’s a lot to get done. From cooking delicious food to inviting over your favorite holiday guests, you need to make sure everything is well-organized if you’re going to throw an impressive holiday. Here are some ways you can start getting organized for Thanksgiving.
The Month Before: Start Brainstorming
Prepare invitations if you’re hosting, and make sure your guests RSVP. It’s going to be important to have an accurate head count! You may want to check to see if anyone else wants to host, especially if you’re managing both a family Thanksgiving and a “Friendsgiving.” Regardless, your plans should be set now.
Social media makes it easier to manage invitations and RSVPs. At this stage, you should start thinking about the things that you want to cook. You may be cooking a six course meal yourself, or you might be bringing side dishes to a variety of different places. Take the opportunity to cook some things that you really love.
Are you going to be traveling? Then it’s time to make your travel plans. Whether you’re going to be flying or driving, you should have an estimated time of departure and arrival — and don’t forget that hotels tend to book up fast. If you have pets, you’ll need to find a pet sitter. If you have children, you’ll need to have a list of activities to keep them busy during the travel.
The Week Before: Make Your Lists
Use a digital planner or digital grocery list to keep track of your groceries. At this time, you should be looking at all the recipes that you’re going to make, and figuring out what ingredients you need. You might even want to create a schedule regarding when you’re going to cook various items.
Some items can be cooked a few days in advance, while others need to be served fresh. Some items can be prepared ahead of time and frozen, such as casseroles or baked goods. Doing this early will reduce the amount of time you need to spend on actual preparation.
Check in with your friends and family members regarding what they’ll be able to make. Don’t try to take on everything at once. Delegating makes the entire process much easier, and most people want to contribute.
Start prepping the food now. Don’t forget that a large turkey takes days to defrost, in addition to days to brine. Try to use your head count to estimate the amount of food you need; you don’t want too much waste, but leftovers are always good!
The Day Before: Start Getting It Done
The day before Thanksgiving is when cooking and traveling often begins. If you’re going to be traveling out of town, make sure you’re all packed up well in advance. If you’re going to be cooking, make sure you have everything you need.
Grocery stores aren’t going to be open on Thanksgiving, and you certainly don’t want to be hunting down ingredients during Thanksgiving weekend. Making sure you’re prepared in advance is the best way to avoid uncomfortable shopping experiences.
And don’t forget to take some time to be grateful for the things that you have! If you’re feeling stressed out, nothing will collapse if you take a few minutes of personal time. You may even want to schedule some time alone either before or directly after the cooking, so you can relax and unwind.
Consider some time-saving tips, such as using paper plates and napkins rather than regular plates — and leave some of the cleaning up afterwards to the others.
Remember: Holidays Should Be Fun!
Holidays really shouldn’t be about stress. If you find yourself doing too much, don’t be afraid to delegate. Ask your friends and family to bring side dishes or to host on your behalf, and make sure you have enough time for yourself.
One of the major benefits of staying organized is that you can get more done in less time, and that lets you enjoy the things that are really important. You don’t want to be running around rather than enjoying your friends and family.
Getting organized can help you with every aspect of your life, including the rougher holidays. Check out the Get Organized Wizard for more tips.