The Five Biggies When Organizing a Party


 I love to give parties! I try to have at least one or two a year.

When planning a party I look at the date, theme, guest list, menu, and location.

Date: I look for a date when most of my friends will be available. For example, I give a July party but try to avoid the weekend of the 4th. Many people would have conflicts then and have to make a hard choice –  go to Uncle Clyde’s barbecue or go to Jonda’s annual July party.

Theme: The theme of the party will hold everything together. The theme will determine the invitations, the food, the decorations, and any games or activities. I feel a different theme for each party keeps the parties fresh. Regular guests often ask me months ahead if I have decided on a theme yet for the next party.

Guest List: This is an important component. I love to invite a diverse group of people who will enjoy each other’s company. I usually have a core group that I hope will attend every party and then add some new friends that I think everyone will enjoy.

Menu: The menu usually follows the theme. My guest have food preferences and restrictions and because I love my guests, I try to accommodate them. I like to see that everyone has at least a couple of things they can nosh on and drink. My house is small so I don’t have room for sit down affairs. Because of that, my menu consists of easy things to eat if you are standing or sitting with your plate on your lap.

Location:  Usually my parties are at my home but I have had some great ones at other locations. Again, the theme tends to determine the location. When giving a party at my place, I go for “clean enough” so that the board of health won’t be concerned but I do not stress over having the place “party perfect.”

Once I have decided on the five biggies, I put together a timeline. I list every task that mush be done from setting the date and making the guest list to laying out the food table right before the guests arrive. Every task has a “do” date and that is what keeps me sane. I know exactly when I plan to send out the save the date emails, make the actual invites and mail them, put together the shopping lists, and setting the table.

When the date and time arrives, I want to enjoy my party as much as my guests. Did I mention that I love to give parties?

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Breakfast Room Using the Zone Plan

It’s finally spring! Many people like to do their “spring cleaning” at this time of year. I prefer to do a “zone plan” and do my deep cleaning/purging/organizing all year round. I divide my home into 10 zones and work on one zone a month – skipping the months of July and December. By the end of the year, I have touched everything in my home and rearranged items to fit my currrent vision.
This month I focus on my breakfast room. It is located at my back entrance so for you this might be your mud room or another small room in your home. I use this room for overflow for parties, storage for rarely used cooking wares, party supplies, food storage containers, china, and crystal. I also have a closed top shelf that holds suitcases and baskets. I like this room to be open, inviting, and light.
 
This year, as I go through my storage closet, I will pack up my good china and silver. I no longer use these items when entertaining. I have a son and daughter-in-law who will be glad to inherit these items now. I may also have food containers that have lost their lids or party decorations that no longer fit my style. All of these items will go. I am sure I have a suitcase or two that I have not used in the past couple of years. These will be donated. My goal is to eliminate items in every area. New things come in during the year so some items must be discarded each year or my space will become crowded and disorganised. As I clear the shelves, I deep clean.
 
At the end of the month, I will put fresh flowers on the table and look forward to throwing a party soon.
 
For more help on organizing your space, order my workbook From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home. http://timespaceorg.com/order_book.php
 
 

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Last Minute Holiday Organizational Tips

Christmas is just around the corner. What can we do now to make this Christmas and the next a little less stressful?

Cards:
As the Christmas cards come in, take the time now to check addresses and update your contact list. Plan now on how you want to handle the card you receive – especially those with personal pictures and notes. I do not keep cards unless there is a very special note or picture. Then the card will go into a memorabilia box. If you like to use favorite cards as gift tags for the next year, put those cards in a small box and label them “gift tag cards.” If you want to keep some of the pictures, consider scanning them as they come in. Another option is to place them in your memorabilia box with other family photos. If you plan to answer notes in the cards, schedule the time to do this now or very likely they will be sitting in a bag or basket for the whole year. (This I know very personally.)

Wrapping Paper:
I encourage you to let go of those little bits and pieces of the roll that are left after wrapping your gifts. You might want to keep some smaller pieces to use as gift tags. If this is your plan, place the small pieces in an envelope or folder to protect them. Paper that came off gifts you received might be kept for next year if it is pristine. The same can be said for keeping and reusing gift bags. If you find that you have a lot of paper left from previous years, now is the time to decide what you really love and let the excess go. Tissue paper can be used to wrap fragile ornaments when packing up after the holidays. Do have one place to store your entire holiday wrap.

Gifts:
Start your gift list for next year now. What have you discovered that your friends and family really love? Make a list. Keep a list of all clothing sizes. Shop all year round and keep all gifts that you buy in one place. This shows you how much you already have when the holiday shopping season hits next year. Tag the items with the names of who you thought of when you bought the gift.

Decorations:
After Christmas, wrap up carefully all your decorations that you plan to keep and use next year. As you box them, divide them up so that it will facilitate putting them out next year. I have all early advent items in the top of one marked box. Others, who do more extensive decorating, mark boxes by the rooms where the decorations are used. Discard broken or unloved items.

Donations:
As you receive gifts, now is the time to donate what you no longer need or love. If you receive a new coffee pot, donate the old one. If you got a new robe, let the old one go to charity. Have children participate in clearing out toys they no longer love to make room for their new gifts.

Have a happy holiday season!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer