It’s that time of year, in a few days many of us will be celebrating Veteran’s Day, followed by Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years while others may be celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. As if travelling to visit family or having family come visit you was not stressful enough, many of us are generally involved in additional activities that revolve around work, the kid’s school events, and miscellaneous charities. As you know, there is only so much time available, so by simplifying and getting organized we may help you actually have some time to enjoy the upcoming holiday’s, instead of just the meal.
In this next series of articles, we are going to see if we can take some stress out of the coming holiday season for you. If you have been following, along with our monthly checklists, some of this has already been covered and you are actually ahead of the game. Let’s first start with de-cluttering your house.
First up – the Battle Plan
Before you get the Thanksgiving or Christmas decorations down from the attic, take a quick tour of your home. First figure out what will be displaced by the seasonal decorations. Have you accumulated clutter or maybe new furniture that will need to be dealt with before you can put up say your Christmas tree? Think back to the prior year, what was your biggest issues revolving around the house? Was it room for guest coats, not enough towels, etc…? When was the last time you used something? If it was over a year ago or you do not believe you will ever use it again, can you donate it to a charity where it may help others?
Now trying to do a major cleaning, or reorganizing all your rooms this late in the game may be nice and seem like the way to go, we truly recommend shelving that until after the Holiday season is behind you. By simply doing, some selective pruning and getting organized should help you avoid adding more stress to your already packed holiday season. By writing down all your comments, concerns, and what you think needs to be done, you can start prioritizing what needs to be done now, while also having a list of “we should really do this when” for later.
The hall closet; is probably one of the doors in the house you do not ever want anyone to open. Why? Well generally, they are packed full of sports gear, old coats, kid’s jackets from years ago, shoes, etc… Consider cleaning it out for visiting guests to use for hanging their coats, instead of throwing them on your bed. Donate old and outgrown items, and find a permanent place for useful items close to where they are used. (i.e. sports gear separated by type on individual shelves in the garage)
Once everything has been removed from the closet, give it a good vacuum and wipe down the walls. Add some heavy-duty coat hangers and a mat on the closet floor to prevent wet umbrellas from soiling the floor. You may also want to add some hooks to the inside of the door for hats and scarves. If you like, your guests either to take their shoes off by tradition or just to help keep your house clean, why not add a shoe rack in there. This will prevent having a pile of shoes in your entryway during inclement weather but prevent anyone from tripping over them.
The Living Room and / or the Great Room
We recommend that all horizontal surfaces are completely free of books, magazines, papers, toys, and inactive projects in all the main living areas and hallways. Do not go overboard on the decorating, leave room for people to put their drinks down and to be able to see whom they are talking to. Remember that this is the season for spending time with family and friends, not for who can pack the most decorations in a room. While you want to make sure that you have enough seating, consider removing extraneous furniture, pictures, and other decorative objects that will only be in the way or you do not want to see damaged.
The Guest Bath
The guest bath which is probably hardly used could probably use a real good cleaning. Flush the toilet a few times & run the taps to make sure everything works great and any sediment or stagnant water is flushed out. Make sure that you have fresh towels available for visiting guests, plenty of toilet paper stocked in the room, and maybe other personal care products that you think are appropriate or may be needed. While some people recommend a scented air freshener or bowl of Christmas potpourri be placed in there make sure no one has any allergies or problems with scents.
If you are hosting overnight guests, prepare a quiet retreat for them in a separate room if possible. Make sure that they have room for their belongings by de-cluttering the room as much as possible. Make sure you clean out at least half the closet in the guest room as you did for the hall above. You should rotate the mattress and provide fresh linens, towels and blankets for all visiting guests. If a separate room is not available, try to empty out a chest, cabinet, or an area in a closet specifically for their use.
Just like a hotel, you might want to provide them with a basket of toiletries including shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, dental floss. While they may not need them, the thoughtfulness is sure to be appreciated and might save someone a trip to the store in the middle of the night. You might also want to consider any special amenities that might help your guests out, like a small space heater for elderly individuals, or a diaper pail for those with babies.
The last recommendation is to sleep one night in the guest room so you can see if anything is missing or if there are any possible issues. For example, it would be nice to know if the air mattress loses so much air that you are sleeping on the floor by 3 AM, so it can be repaired or replaced.