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4 Tips for organizing your home for the holidays
This piece is excerpted from Staci Giordullo's article for Angie's List. Visit Angie’s List for more consumer advice on everything from home repair to health care.
Taking time to declutter and organize items around the home can help calm the chaos that oftentimes accompanies the holidays. Here are some solutions to ease you into the holiday fray:
1. Downsize your decor
As you start to pull out holiday decorations from storage, keep your favorite items and give away the rest. “Ask yourself if you really love it,” says Diane Luck, owner of highly- rated Diane Luck Personal Organizer in Portland, Ore. “Or is it something you just picked up on sale? The things that don’t give you joy should be passed on to someone else who might enjoy them.” Once you finish decorating, take a photograph to document the display and store the picture with the decor. “That way, next year someone else can help set everything out and there won’t be any guesswork,” says Deb Oppel, owner of highly-rated Decluttered by Deb in Minneapolis.
2. Take time to donate
It’s also a good time to decide what clothes, coats, toys and books you no longer need and gather them for donation. “When the kids are old enough, it’s nice to have them involved in the process,” Raelin says. “When they make up their gift wish lists, it’s a great opportunity to bring up the notion of making room for the new. It’s best to pack away toys and items the kid has outgrown before the holiday season, and donate to some of the great charities serving children in need.”
3. Look at your home with fresh eyes
If guests throw you a curve ball by announcing a last-minute visit, take time to walk through your house and look at it as if you were a stranger. Focus on the main areas your guests will occupy, such as the living room, bathroom, kitchen and guest bedroom. “You can do a lot in one day,” says Linda Goldman, owner of highly rated Altogether Organized in Highland Park, Ill. “Just putting things where they belong will go a long way in making your home clutter free.” Pay attention to floors and clear the surfaces of tabletops and dressers. Make sure you have enough seating and put out fresh towels for overnight guests. Take a quick inventory in any bathroom your guest might use, and clear out any items you don’t want rummaged through.
4. Consider hiring a professional
If organizing your home feels like an overwhelming task with the holidays looming, consider hiring a professional organizer for an objective approach. Sometimes, a consultation helps give homeowners the kick-start they need to finish the task. Rates for an organizer range from about $50 to $100 an hour, and most have a 2-3 hour minimum requirement. During the holiday season, some organizers can play more of a “personal assistant” role and help with event planning, party preparation, buying and wrapping gifts or delivering donated items.
Look for a highly-rated organizer with whom you feel comfortable. Many professionals stay up on the latest industry trends and follow a code of ethics by belonging to the National Association of Professional Organizers. Whether you try to organize on your own or bring in some extra help, our experts say homeowners should keep calm about the clutter.
“Take a second to enjoy the holidays,” says Pamela Morrone, owner of highly-rated Creating Clarity in Los Angeles. “With all of the chaos and to-do lists, it’s important to throw it all out at some point and enjoy your friends and family.”
Source: elle deco