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Organize a little during the holiday season

Label see-through bins with your child's holiday ornaments.

Want to know the secret to staying organized? Do a little bit every day.

Look around your home and pinpoint one thing you can do today for 10 minutes that will get you more organized for the holidays next week.

Here are a few examples to get you started:

1. Tear and save return addresses from holiday cards for friends or family members who may have moved. Put them in an envelope clearly marked "check addresses." When the holidays are over, you'll have all of the addresses in one place and can sit with your address book and update all at once.

2. Have see-through plastic bins. In order to truly see what you have packed away, you need to get clear. Start looking for bins now as you stop in stores for sales. As 2014 approaches, you'll see markdowns on these products. Try to get a good estimate of how many you need before you leave for the store, so you don't over purchase.

3. Clearly mark ornaments and decorations that you didn't use this year. Set them all in a box and decide if you're ready to donate them this year.

4. Separate family member ornaments. My boys each have their own box of ornaments. I collected ornaments for them for years, and I have them all labeled with their name and year on the box. Also, any ornaments they made in school or received as baby gifts are in this tote. When they have their own home someday, their tote is all ready to go with them.

5. Take note of what holiday supplies you need versus want. If you have a holiday party every year and you need a supply of holiday paper products, by all means, stock up during end of season sales. But it's a bad idea to stock up just because it's on sale. Same is true for wrapping paper! Say no to the "good deal" and yes to less clutter.

6. Create a "thank you" note writing center in a basket, full of pens, stamps and "thank you" notes. Make it easy for you and your kids to send them after the holidays.

7. Create a file with all of your holiday recipes that you made this year, but only include the ones that people loved. Over the years, you can simply go back to this same file for inspiration instead of having to try to remember where you put the fudge recipe. I have mine in a One Note file on my computer, and I simply copy and paste the recipes I find online into that file.

8. Go through your gift wrapping supplies and get rid of the paper that is in bad condition or you know you'll never use. Keep what you love and try to keep it organized vertically, so it's easier to access and will stay in better shape.

Don't try to make yourself crazy this season thinking that you have to do everything. Just take a few minutes a day and be intentional on reducing stress and making your life more streamlined and simplified.

Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo and her website is www.mssimplicity.com/

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