How To Prepare Your Home For the Holidays: In 4 Parts!

I have a bit of a situation. (And no, it's not 8-pack abs.) I've got a case of closet clutter. What started out as a few cut corners—towels haphazardly folded, a quick clean-up box of stuff hastily shoved behind closed doors because of drop-in guests, a rushed morning and a bathroom medicine cabinet left in disarray—has now turned into an unequivocal mess. And with house guests arriving for the upcoming holiday season, I don't want to be one of those hosts who take a giant tackling leap toward her guests anytime they get too close to a hidden stash. ("Oh no, really, you don't need to hang up your coat. I'll do it for you. No, I insist. No, REALLY. I insist! Step away from the closet door!") Thankfully, I'm not the first person who's ever found herself in need of a good Fall cleaning.

Not only is Apartment Therapy currently running their bi-annual 20/20 Home Cure (20 minutes for 20 days for a cleaner and more organized home), but this time last year Re-Nest writer Landis Carey, with the help of her professional organizer friend Amelia Meena, wrote a 4-part series on how to prepare your space for the holidays—perfect! In case you missed it last year, these posts are definitely worth checking out if you, like me, need a little help getting your home back in tip-top shape.

Here's an excerpt from Part 1 - 5 Things To Do This Week:

Clean the junk out of your home's common spaces and properly dispose of it:

  • Sort, recycle, and clear out excess mail, newspapers, magazines, remembering the upcoming holidays will bring a surplus of mail.
  • Store away piles of toys, shoes, and things that have accumulated around the "drop-off points" of your home—the bottom of your stairs, entryways, and kitchen table.
  • Assess your kitchen area and supplies. Clear out the refrigerator and cupboards of outdated items and take an inventory of missing kitchen staples.

Finish any partially-complete home projects, if possible:

  • Using an upcoming holiday or party as a deadline is a great way to motivate yourself to complete any underway home repairs. Did you begin painting a room and not finish it? Have you hung your chandelier? Are there hooks to hang towels on in your guest bathroom?

Consider where guests will hang their coats:

  • Take an inventory of your family's coats and remove older, less-frequently used pieces and donate them to the Vietnam Veterans or to your local coat drive.
  • If you don't have a coat closet, consider alternatives: coat stand, rolling rack, or movable wardrobe, all of which could be purchased used or borrowed from a neighbor, friend, church, doorman, etc.
  • Considering offering guests labels to attach to each hanger to identify the name of guest and how many articles they brought with them.

Assess what home décor and dining ware you have and what you need:

  • Items you will need for entertaining this holiday season include: table décor, kitchen ware, glasses, serving dishes, table linens, seating, dinnerware.
  • A few tips: for décor, look in your garden or yard for Autumn accents such as berries, leaves, and gourds; children's (or adults') artwork can be used to enhance the fall atmosphere; consider which cookware can double as serving ware; additional seating can be borrowed from neighbors, your church, or friends.
  • Create a budget and a list of what you need. First, figure out what can be borrowed, then determine what can be multi-tasked, and finally identify what items need to be purchased. When purchasing, consider future evens and make sure these items will serve you now and for years to come.

Read the rest of the Part 1 and the whole series below:

How To Prepare Your Space For the Holidays, Part 1
How To Prepare Your Space for the Holidays, Part 2
How To Prepare Your Space for the Holidays, Part 3
How To Prepare Your Space for the Holidays, Part 4

(Image: Ann Manubay and Dabney Frake | Apartment Therapy)

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