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Start planning now for an easier holiday

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
I began getting ready for Thanksgiving last weekend. You see, there is so much I want to do and since I tend to be a bit of a procrastinator, I have to start early. Maybe I should explain that one some more.
If I don't start early and make a list, the next thing I know it's Thanksgiving eve and I'm in real trouble. One of my first Thanksgiving dinners I didn't go shopping until the day before! It was not a good thing. I ended up going to three different stores and still couldn't get everything on my shopping list. I learned a lesson that year I've never forgotten.
I'm also terrible to not "see" things, like walls that need to be wiped down, carpets that need to be cleaned, pictures that need to be dusted, etc. After a couple of holidays of having to frantically work the night before to get things ready, I began to think there had to be a better way. Well, duh, yeah.
I bought a project notebook and took a tour of my own home. In each room I wrote down what I felt I wanted and needed to do. I made a scale of "A," "B," and "C."
After I went through the entire I house, I sat down and prioritized my list. I didn't just prioritize by room, but by the whole house. I also prioritized by what I thought I could actually accomplish.
For example, if I looked at just the living room, painting it might be listed as an "A," but when compared to organizing and wiping down my pantry shelves it becomes a "B." Another example is comparing my laundry room and my sewing room. Both rooms really need some organization and, in both rooms, organization would be listed as an "A." However, the laundry room takes top priority because it affects the entire family more so than my sewing room.
As I mentioned earlier, I also prioritized by what I thought I could actually accomplish. There's no point in making something an "A" priority if I know I can't possibly get it done. Last summer before my in-laws came for a visit, I really wanted to pull all the weeds in the backyard and create a garden space. Those projects would have been "A."
However, due to John's illness and the heat, it was not possible to consider them. Therefore, I listed them in my project notebook but didn't letter them. It made me feel better to know I had them listed, even if I couldn't actually do them.
I have also discovered by making my list, I sometimes come up with another way to solve a problem area of our home. When we lived in Kentucky one of the things that always seemed to appear on my list was wipe down the wall behind the table. We had a teeny tiny kitchen and a teeny tiny dining area. The dining area was so small that we had to use a folding table like the ones at churches because we couldn't find a regular table that was narrow enough. Anyway, the wall was painted a country white and the kids were forever getting something on it when we ate.
I found it to be incredibly frustrating, not to mention I had to clean the wall so often I was literally scrubbing the paint off!
One day while prioritizing my list I was watching a home improvement show. They had this wonderful stuff on there called "scrub-able " wallpaper. Ah ha! You bet the week wasn't out and I had put up some very durable wallpaper.
I still had to clean it, but since I picked out a fairly busy print it didn't show the dirt quite so badly. It also didn't show stains, especially from sticky little ketchup fingers.
Another advantage I've discovered to making a list is being able to delegate some things to others. Once I know what I want or need done, I can look it over and find age appropriate items the children can do for me. Obviously I can't assign painting to my seven-year-old. Well, I guess I could, but it probably would be rather disastrous. However, putting away her books after I've moved a bookshelf is quite within her capabilities. (Although, she may not want to do it. Imagine that.)
Often times I think people procrastinate because they just aren't sure where to start. I've also found when people stress over the holidays often times it's because they see so many things they feel need to be done and just can't figure out where to start. They end up not getting anything done, feeling guilty and the stress just builds.
I love the holidays. I want to be able to enjoy them and my list helps me do just that. After all, there's no need to panic, right? We still have two weeks until Thanksgiving. I'll wait a week and then I'll panic.
If you have a tip, suggestion, or question for Mom's Corner, please send it to: Mom's Corner; P.O. Box 1496; Hartselle, AL 35640; or e-mail moms-corner@juno.com

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