7th House on the Left

Making a List

posted by Ashley  /  38 Comments

…and checking it twice. Fact: There are 121 days left until Christmas! Can you believe that?! That means you’ve let over half of the year slip by without planning for the longest (and largest) holiday season of the year. Okay, so maybe the situation isn’t quite as dire as I make it sound, but, as crazy as it may seam, it’s not too early to start marking things off your “Christmas to-do list”! I’ve been in a major list-making mode this past week and (as crazy and obsessive as it may sound) ventured to make a list of some things I want to get done over the next month to gear up for Christmas. Seeing as how I’m pretty positive there are some fellow serious list-makers out there, I thought it’d be fun to share my list of to-do’s to make our Christmas season a little more jolly…

10 Little Things to Do Now to Have a Jollier Christmas / 7thhouseontheleft.com

01 / Start shopping. Spacing out Christmas shopping over the next few months will be much easier on your wallet than buying everything between Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Buying even just 2 or 3 gifts every month will keep budgeting easy and cut down on the usual hustle and bustle of the Christmas shopping season. Every time you buy a gift, put them in a designated area (I keep ours in the guest room closet). If you tend to have a bad memory (like I sometimes do) stick a post-it on the item to remind yourself who it’s for.

02 / Wrap it up. Go ahead and wrap any presents you buy. Leave the bows off and add them when it’s time to put the gifts under the tree so they’ll look crisp and freshly wrapped. You can find Christmas wrapping paper around this time of year online – at some really great prices too. Pre-wrapping your presents will save you a ton of time as long as you’re diligent about labeling them as to who they go to and what they are. Otherwise, your presents might be as much a surprise to you as your friends and family.

03Start preparing the house now. We’re not talking about cleaning, necessarily; just minor repairs and enhancements. Focus on the rooms your guests will spend the most time in, like the guest bedroom(s), the living room and the kitchen. If you have dents, nicks, or scratches to fix, or even minor enhancements you’d like to make to these rooms, now is the time to get them done. Slowly but surely, you can get everything looking picture perfect before they arrive.

04Be the first to make travel arrangements. Ticket prices aren’t the only reason to make your plans for travel now rather than four months from now. As the holidays approach, you’re going to find it harder and harder to make plans that fit into everyone’s schedules. By scheduling now, you’re sure to be the first person on anybody’s calendar.

05Make your list. While I’m not typically a big fan of “Christmas lists”, sometimes it’s nice to be able to point to a place where your significant other can check out reasonably and a few not-so-reasonably-priced items (just for fun) on my Christmas wish list. We found MyRegistry.com when we were moving into our house. We had a lot of family members ask us what we wanted/needed for the house. It’s always kind of awkward — you know what I mean? My mom asked us to make a “wish list” and after a little Google search, we found MyRegistry.com. And I have to say, it’s a pretty cool website. You can add items from any website and make notes about color, quantity, size, etc. or even where you plan on using it in the house. One major perk about MyRegistry.com is you can put a password on your list so you can share it with family members and close friends only. Greg and I have ended up making our own individual lists for each other to work off of – since I have dubbed him the “hardest person in the world to shop for”. It makes shopping a little easier and fun too.

06What’s Aunt Martha’s new address? This shouldn’t take too much time, but when the Christmas season hits, your time becomes even more valuable. Take a few minutes to make up a Christmas card list and talk to the people on that list to make sure you have their current address. If you’re a bit embarrassed to call your long-lost relatives and tell them you have no idea where they are now or how they got there, just call mom. She’s a mom and she’s bound to have the down low on where and why. Btw, I don’t have an Aunt Martha.

07Get the party started. On top of presents and travel, you need to think about Christmas parties! Let’s face it: Parties are expensive. By planning out your Christmas party now (or parties, if you’re a real party animal), you can be on the look out for things that will complete your party theme. Like I said before, you can make budgeting your Christmas season much easier by spreading out the cost of your party over the next 5-6 months. Like the Christmas presents, keep all of your party supplies in a designated area so you don’t loose track of them between now and then.

08 / Pick a family, any family. Along the same lines as travel, you might want to go ahead and start discussing with your significant other whose family you’re going to spend Christmas with. That way, when your family starts asking who you’re going to spend Christmas with, you’ll have an answer and explanation ready to go.

09 / Prepare to deck the halls! Take a little time to do an inventory of your decorations. The sooner you know what you have, the sooner you can start designing your tree and general decor. That way, when you see a cool decoration or ornament, you can grab it up, knowing it’s going to go great with your overall style. Also, while you’ve got a few of the Christmas boxes down from the attic, take a few minutes to make sure the lights work. There’s nothing worse than getting your whole tree or worse, your whole house, covered in lights, then realizing half of them don’t work. #beentheredonethat

10 / Create a savings plan. As a final tip, try your best to set aside a few dollars every paycheck as a Christmas fund. Vacations, presents, and parties, no matter how well you plan them, can still end up costing more than you’d expect. If you’ve set a few bucks aside, you’ll have less to worry about in the long run and have a credit-free Christmas.

Do you have any helpful tip to add to the list? Share it with us in the comment section…

Happy Thursday, folks! I just wanted to pop in and point you guys over to my new contributor post over at iHeart Organizing. If for some reason you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t stumbled across Jen’s blog before now, get ready because you’re about to spend countless hours scrolling through her awesome handiwork. You have been warned.

How to Feel A Little More Unplugged Without Pulling the Plug / 7thhouseontheleft.com

For this post, I ended up giving a scaled back version of my 2 cents on cell phone usage. (Seriously, my first draft was twice as long!) I also chatted about tips to simplify your phone and my top three most valuable apps that keep me organized and productive. I’ve been through a lot of “productivity apps”, and these are (in my opinion) the cream of the crop and definitely worth taking for a spin. Totally off the subject, but I just noticed the Old Navy coupon in the photo above is super expired. Boo. 

So, click here to go over to Jen’s blog and check out the post and be sure to weigh in on your favorite go-to apps and phone organizing tips!

It’s that time again, His & Her Favorite Things! For those of you who are just joining in here at 7th House (we’ve been getting quite a few “I’m new to your blog” emails and comments lately! So, welcome!), this is where we share a peek into what we’ve been digging over the past few weeks, things we’ve bought and generally what’s catching our eye. We started this feature way back when the blog first began – actually even a year before that on my old photography blog – and it seems to be a favorite here among the readers, so we’ve kept it around. Since this is the first of the month, it’s once again time for our monthly installment of His + Hers. So, here’s Greg to start things off…

His Favorite Things / 7thhouseontheleft.com / #4thofjuly

ONE / We’ve been grilling a lot around here lately, so I’ve been more interested in grilling tools than usual. I’m a pretty no-frills guy when it comes to grilling, but I love small conveniences like this. It’s convenient for sure, and with the brush built into the lid, it keeps your sauce/marinade safe from flies or other debris. TWO / Ash showed me this large painted wood wall art piece recently, and I thought it was just plain awesome. As usual, I want it for my office. This is a constant joke between Ash and I because the style I want for my office changes by the hour – which is why it still isn’t finished. Regardless, since it’s the first of July, I thought this edition of His + Hers would be a good place to showcase it. THREE / As I mentioned, we’ve been grilling a lot lately, and a recent purchase that has made the grilling process a bit easier is this ultra light-weight melamine platter. Using this rather than our regular (super heavy) ceramic platter has saved my wrist. It’s simple and white (which Ash likes because it matches our other serving dishes) and light yet durable (which I’m a fan of). FOUR / Who knew Crate & Barrel had barbecue sauce? I certainly didn’t. On top of that, I’ve never tried an Alabama-style sauce, despite my great love for all things cooked over coals or smoked. I’m really looking forward to picking some up for our holiday meal!

Her Favorite Things / 7thhouseontheleft.com / #4thofjuly

ONE / Since starting to use First Aid Beauty’s facial cleaner a few months ago, I’m hooked on all things First Aid Beauty and have yet to find a product I didn’t absolutely love. Seriously. This stuff. Amazing. (I’ve actually had a few of you who tried it last time I mentioned it email me and say how much you love it!) This 20-minute mask is one of my recent favorites. You can also purchase FAB at Sephora if you are a fellow point-collector.  TWO / When I first saw this, I was like, “Hmm, that’s actually pretty cool.” It’s actually meant for 4th of July decor, but I think (if it’s put in the right place), it might be a neat year-around home accessory. THREE / As I’ve probably said here before, I’m a fan of big, chunky statement necklaces. Last year, I came across Bauble Bar through one of the YouTubers I watch from time to time. It’s a great resource for inexpensive statement jewelry and really great quality as well. FOUR / I’m in love with the simple sophisticated design of this platter. It’s not only great for entertaining, but I also think it would look good on a coffee table with a candle and trinkets or on a dresser with jewelry and pretty perfume bottles. If you purchase this online soon, you get a free $15 Target gift card. Soooo, why not? FIVE / Last week, I finally got around to signing up for a Julep subscription. I’m a bit of a nail polish and beauty product junkie, so this has been something I’ve been wanting to start for a while. I love that you can cancel your subscription at any time and you get special prices on all of their products by being a “Maven”. By the way, you can get your first box free by using the code FREEBOX at checkout!

Now, it’s your turn! How about you guys, what favorites are you crushing on this month? Any grilling gadgets Greg must know about? He asked me to add that last part ; )