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.
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?
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!
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.
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:
When it's time to buy organizers, shop yard sales for the best bargains. Most garage sales offer a selection of organizing products at cut-rate prices. Perhaps the item didn't fit, came from an older house, or was an imprudent purchase. Take it home and put it to work for you ... for cheap!