By Mary Beth Galarneau
It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are nearly upon us. For some that brings an excited anticipation for parties, seeing far-away family and friends, cooking, baking and shopping. For others, a sheer panic sets in at the mere thought of all of these things.
One way to quell the panic is to get your house in order. We can help. Unlike spring cleaning, which involves a deeper, detailed cleaning of the home – from washing all the curtains to organizing closets, moving furniture and scrubbing windows – cleaning for the holidays doesn’t have to be as detailed. Think about where your guests will be – your front entrance, family room, powder room, kitchen – and focus on those! You don’t need to worry yourself with cleaning kids’ rooms (unless just to pick up any messes) or dusting baseboards in a room where you know guests won’t be in. If you have a playroom and have kids coming over…don’t go nuts. Just gather toys in bins, and vacuum. Trust me – it will only get messy again. Focus on what your guests will see!
Before you take out the boxes of decorations, take a walk through your home with the eye of a visitor and repeat this phrase, “Declutter, declutter, declutter.” Is your sofa table full of knick knacks? Is your dining room covered in papers? Grab a basket and start clearing. The sofa table might be used for serving appetizers at a party or function as a drink station for the kids, while a dining room table can serve as a buffet if you’re not having a sit-down dinner. You don’t want to add décor to an area where a good clean-up is needed. If you declutter now, life will be easier once January 1 rolls around and everything gets packed up. Many times, taking down the décor results in a days-long project of massive organization. Save yourself the time and do it now.
Which door do you welcome guests through? With mudrooms so popular in many new homes, sometimes it’s a side or back entrance guests will be using. Whatever the entrance, make sure it’s clean, tidy and has a spot for coats, purses and snowy boots. You don’t want them tripping over sports equipment or shoes that your kids kicked off.
Coat closets can sometimes be an absolute disaster. And why not? With the ability to shut the door on a mess, out of sight truly is out of mind! Now is a good time to get it in order. Make sure there is enough room, not to mention extra hangers available. If you need more space, temporarily transfer coats you’re not wearing to another closet in your home. Speaking of coats, November is a great time to donate unused coats. Many churches, schools and senior groups hold collections to donate to those in need.
How is your powder room? Does it need a fresh coat of paint? It’s such an inexpensive and easy way to update any room. If you were too busy during the summer and early fall, now is the time and it will only take a day or two. Change out the towels, accessories, add a seasonal scented hand soap and you have a bathroom you’ll be proud to have your guests use.
Do you have an open floor plan? If so, your kitchen is on display for all to see. Given that it’s the hub of many parties, this is the one room where you will want to take extra steps to get it to sparkle. Clean cabinets, door handles, sink, stove hood and light fixtures. You’ll be surprised where cobwebs can hide! Take the time to shine all of that stainless steel! Is your fridge a hodgepodge of papers and magnets? Maybe now is the time to remove everything for a neater look. You may want to do a deep clean of the inside of the refrigerator. Dump old, expired food and condiments, and scrub the drawers and sides. You’ll give yourself more room for party food and any extra dishes that friends or family may bring over.
If you’re a baker with a list of 12 different types of cookies to try this year, get your baking supplies in order! You can store your sheet pans vertically in a deep basket so they’re on hand when you need them. Gather all of your cookie cutters into one bin for easy access, and keep the sprinkles, toffee bits, nuts, and morsels together in another bin. Sugars and flour should be kept together so you’re not searching the cabinets for ingredients.
These are just a few ideas to get you ready for a holiday get-together. If you’re too busy or just don’t have the heart to attack any organizing projects, Organize Senior Moves can help! Just call for a free one-hour consultation and we’ll get your house entertaining-ready in no time. Remember, an organized home reduces stress and anxiety, and brings more peace! And who couldn’t use more peace in their lives?