Home checklist: Get organized to cut down on holiday stress

11/16/2013 12:00 AM

11/15/2013 11:33 AM

Holiday stress can build up fast – especially this year. There are only 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

To help alleviate some of that pressure, the organization experts at Tailored Living offered these tips:

• Manage your holiday card list: Start early by creating a spreadsheet or address book (preferably digital) before Thanksgiving. Organize people into categories such as family, friends and co-workers. Also, make yourself a money-saving calendar reminder to buy next year’s holiday cards at clearance prices in late December.

• Keep decorating simple: To reduce clutter, choose only your favorite holiday decorations to display. For each holiday item you place on a shelf, take one non-holiday item off and store it until the holiday season is over. If you buy or receive decorative gifts, retire outdated items that can be donated to charity.

• Prepare your pantry: Take inventory of existing staples and ingredients before going grocery shopping for your holiday meal to avoid duplicating items or having to make an emergency trip to the supermarket. Spice racks and pull-out bins put items in plain view, making it easier to see what’s on hand.

• Add storage solutions: Find a place (or get one) to store items that won’t be used for months (such as an ice cream maker or picnic gear). Consider adding a storage cabinet or overhead racks to the garage to stash summer clothing, garden tools or summer sports equipment. It cuts down on household clutter and keeps things in good shape for when you need them.

• Approach gift wrapping differently: Instead of seasonal wrappings, buy a versatile assortment that can be used for any occasion. Or purchase a couple rolls of plain craft paper and decorate each wrapped box with unique holiday-themed stamps or ribbons.

• Help guests feel at home: Organize your guestroom closet. Box items you don’t use on a regular basis. Leave empty hangers, shoe racks and plenty of open space for your guests’ clothes. Need extra sleeping accommodations? Consider a murphy bed; it can be used year round and fold away to free up space.

• Think safety: Look for possible hazards that may trip you or your guests.

For more ideas, click on www.tailoredliving.com.

– Debbie Arrington

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