It’s time to trim the tree… and the clutter!
The holidays can bring so much extra into the home: extra people, extra food, extra mail, extra décor… all sorts of “Extra”. Deciding beforehand how to handle all the excess is a way to set yourself up for easy-flowing and stress-free entertaining.
Begin with cleaning.
This is a great opportunity to really get down to the nitty-gritty! Begin with your common spaces. These are the rooms you will expect others to see and use – living room, kitchen, family room, dining room and common bathroom.
Dust & polish from top to bottom (fan blades, windows & sills, pictures, woodwork, and furniture), then vacuum thoroughly before bringing out your boxes of holiday trimmings.
Add holiday decorations and remove everyday decor.
The idea of “replacing” is the key to making a quick and seamless transition. As you move from room to room, remove items that are non-essential and add your holiday décor. Replace statues, pillows, candleholders – even pictures on the walls – with festive holiday embellishments.
Add an empty holiday basket near your doorway to catch and hold incoming greeting cards. Houseplants and poinsettias that are in plastic containers can be dropped into seasonal planters or baskets. Bring out holiday music, books and videos.
In the kitchen, remove the ordinary or non-essentials and add holiday items: holiday oven mitts, dishtowels, mugs and dishes, a cookie jar, and the appliances and bake ware that are only used at this time of year.
In the dining room, a holiday vase can replace a flowery one; exchange plain serving dishes and utensils for seasonal service-ware.
Adorn your bathroom with holiday soap and hand towels, and a holiday candle to replace a plain bathroom candle. (Remember, other family members & guests don’t need to use (or see) your toiletries so keep them off the countertops.)
Now that you’ve removed your everyday items, all of your seasonal decorations should be fitting in beautifully without any overflow. You may even find that there is a little extra room!
What do you do about all the stuff you’ve removed?
Simple. Pack it into the holiday boxes! You already have them out and ready to pack and they presumably have a storage place to go back to, from which they were removed.
Begin each holiday or season by using this system of switching things out.
Then, at the end of each of these time periods, you can start by gathering everything related to that season: mugs (including new ones you received this year), books, plates, towels, pillows, videos and decor and then storing them for next year.
This will prevent your home from feeling over-stuffed and cluttered and keep your everyday “working-storage” spaces fully functional in any season.
Yes, I know you have your holiday favorites, but sipping hot cider from your favorite Christmas mug while watching It’s a Wonderful Life! is a treat that’s worth the wait!