I am talking not about buying a jack-o-lantern and decorating for Halloween. Because I know that most of you have already done that. I am talking about time-saving holiday preparation for the BIG holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Clear the Space
Say you are a crafty person, and your dining table is currently being used for ‘non-dining’ purposes. This is the time to finish whatever project lay in pieces on the dining table. We’re always busy. Put some specific times on your calendar and prioritize finishing the project. Devote time to clearing the space for the holiday celebration.
Sound completely overwhelming? I get that. There could be hundreds of parts and pieces and various items all over dining room – where are all those things supposed to go? Who has the time? The energy? I know it’s tempting to just give up and pray that a family relative invites you to celebrate the holidays at their house. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Make an appointment with a professional organizer and then work together to sort, corral, contain, and find homes for all those project pieces.
But just having the physical space cleared out doesn’t mean you are ready to receive guests. Where are the linens? Do they need to be pressed? What about holiday dishes? Should you use your grandmother’s silver and china? What about vases and candles? Am I stressing you out? I don’t mean to, I promise. Don’t worry, since you are thinking about these to-do’s now (in October), you have plenty of time to find what you need and make the needed decisions.
If you are not a fan of ironing, or just don’t have the time, take tablecloths to the dry cleaners for pressing. When you pick them up, they will be on a hanger, making the items easy to store until you need to use them. You are one step closer to being able to host an amazing holiday gathering. Nothing looks more polished than a table set with beautifully pressed linens.
Corral all the candles in one spot. Toss any discolored, used, or damaged candles. Consider flameless candles, which are a safe, long-lasting choice. Use a clear, labeled plastic bin to store all your candles. If you don’t use candles frequently then store them in an out of the way location such as the garage or storage closet. If you love your candles, and use them year-round, then store the bin in an easily accessible location such as a laundry room or dining room cupboard. Wow, you’ve just simplified your holiday preparations.
If you have a special set of dishes you use for the holidays, store them together with any other decorative items you may use for the special event. For example, locate and store placemats, napkins (iron them or have these pressed also), napkin holders, name card holders and any other tableware décor together in one location. If you plan to use silver cutlery, now is the time to polish it. If you plan on using crystal glassware, locate all the pieces (including water pitcher), wash if dusty, and store in one location. With these preparations, setting your table will be a cinch!
Remember all those cookbooks you have? Curl up on the couch during a football game and pick the menu for your holiday gathering. Mark the recipe pages and write down a shopping list. Check your spice rack and pantry for recipe items you already have. Take a peek at the expirations dates of spices while you are at it. A week before the event, after purchasing the groceries, sit down with the recipes once more and write out a timeline for the meal. For example, note down recipe prep-time and baking time. On your timeline, specify the order in which the meal should be prepared to ensure that dishes are completed and come out of the oven at the same time.
If these tasks sound like a tall order, enlist the help of professional organizer. At Simplify Experts, professional home organizers meet with clients to complete many of the above tasks. They will even decorate your Christmas Tree for you. Working together with someone else has tons of benefits. Professional organizers LOVE making-over a disorganized space – trust me, I know (to us organizing is FUN!). You’ll be shocked how much we can get done in a short period of time. Your home will be ready guests and all your items will be organized in an optimal way for you.