70 Days to Christmas! Plan Home Spruce-Up Projects

It's not just "visions of sugarplums" that dance through our heads when we think of the holiday season. Many of us also succumb to Holiday House Fever: an intense desire to begin major home decor projects in the weeks before Christmas.

Anybody who's ever decorated a Christmas tree before a half-painted wall knows the risk: our dreams overpower our time, energies and resources.

Result: damp carpets, naked windows, wet paint and lots of stress.

Today, we'll bring sanity to the question of holiday home spruce-ups. The Holiday Home Spruce-Up exercise in realistic planning will anchor our dreams and help us identify realistic, doable goals.

Ready? It's a cure for Holiday House Fever:

Holiday Home Spruce-Up

71 Days to Christmas! Clean Out the Coat Closet

Brisk weather is on the way; time to clear out the coat closets!

Whether it's making space for family cold-weather gear or preparing for seasonal visitors, now's the time to clear out the coat closet. Does your outerwear storage space work for you?

Not that a designated "closet" is always the right solution! Many families prefer to keep coats, umbrellas, gloves and galoshes in open storage areas. Hang coats on pegs, tuck boots under a low bench, and consider an over-the-door shoe rack to corral little mittens, hats and scarves.

Check closet space from a guest's perspective, too. Are extra hangers available--and appropriate for heavy outer garments? Is there enough room to add a bulky parka without crushing a woman's wool coat?

Clear it out and be ready ... for Christmas!

73 Days to Christmas! Check the Linen Closet

Autumn's colder nights signal time for a seasonal bedding changeover. What's the state of your household's linen closet?

While in the linen closet, check stocks of sheets, towels, blankets and pillows with an eye to holiday needs. Will you be bedding down houseguests in an ill-matched set of "Spongebob meet the Little Mermaid" sheets this Christmas?

If new or replacement linens are on the shopping list, be alert for pre-holiday white sales and department store loss leaders. Warm flannel and fleece bedding can be spotted on sales flyers from now through New Years!

74 Days to Christmas! Check Bathroom Supplies

When a family member comes to the end of the toilet roll, it's no big deal--but when it's a guest? Embarassing!

Now's the time to make a quick check of the household's stock of bathroom supplies. Watch for sales on toilet paper, tissues, paper towels and soap. When the price is right, buy!

While you're at it, make a quick survey of the items your family will need during cough-and-cold season. Will you be able to weather a bout of the flu? Check supplies of over-the-counter medications and add any needed items to the seasonal shopping list.

You'll be ready for holiday guests--or the season's first sniffles--with a well-stocked bathroom.

75 Days to Christmas! Save Money for Christmas

Holiday spending can be hard on the pocketbook--and bought on credit, "Christmas Day" can stretch into the new year for weeks or months.

Ease the Christmas cash crunch with creative ways to save money for Christmas! Financial institutions offer dedicated Christmas clubs for the disciplined, but savvy holiday planners have found other ways to accumulate cash for holiday spending.

Start now to save money for Christmas. The goal? A debt-free holiday season:

Creative Ways to Save Money for Christmas

76 Days to Christmas! Make a Pre-Holiday Wardrobe Check

Just about all of us have experienced this bit of seasonal panic: it's the night of the office holiday party and a spouse’s good white shirt has gone missing!

Assessing the State of the Closet for all family members before the holidays begin means never having to say, "It's in the wash!" Try these tips to calm the chaos with a pre-holiday wardrobe check:

State of the Closet: Pre-Holiday Wardrobe Check

Print a free holiday wardrobe planner worksheet for your Christmas planner:

Print a Holiday Wardrobe Planner