57 Days to Christmas! Set Up a Wrap and Mail Center

Repeat after me: "This year, I won't be wrapping gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve!"

If there's a single most-underestimated holiday chore, it's gift wrapping. Supplies lie scattered throughout the house, while space and privacy are hard to come by. Translation: late-night Christmas Eve wrapping sessions.

Not this year! We're going to lick the wrapping problem at the outset, by setting up a wrap and mail activity center. With workspace, tools and supplies at hand, it’s easy to wrap as you go—and enjoy the task, without grump, grumble or hurry.

It's A Wrap:  Set Up A Gift Wrap And Mail Center

63 Days to Christmas! Check Family Photo Outfits

Any parent of multiple children (and lots of one-child families!) knows that dressing for family holiday photos is easier said than done. Who hasn't been there, frantically scrubbing at stains and tugging down sleeves while the photographer taps his foot? Worse, last-minute clothing issues don't lead to happy faces for the family photo.

This week, check the condition and fit of any outfits to be worn in family photo sessions. If garments need to be added or replaced, add them to the seasonal shopping list. Save time and tears!

65 Days to Christmas! Check Cleaning Supplies

This year, household cleaners have taken center stage in the fight against a pandemic. With cold weather bringing families indoors, disinfectants and antibacterial cleaners are the first line of defense, so check stocks of cleaners now.

Bleach alert! Chlorine bleach has a shelf life of six to nine months, depending on storage and temperature. After that time, the product has degraded to salt water, and lacks disinfectant power.

Translation: time to toss those bottles we bought last Spring, and replace them with fresh chlorine bleach for winter. Stay home, stay safe, stay organized!

68 Days to Christmas! Tackle Fall Cleaning

Chill breezes blow, signaling that it's time to prepare the house for the coming of winter. Fall cleaning ahead! Take time now to tackle seasonal cleaning chores around the house.

An Autumn session of deep-cleaning carries the family into the holiday season from a clean house; exterior decorating goes more smoothly if fall yard-clean up chores are completed early.

Try this Fall Cleaning chore checklist from sister site Organized Home to guide fall cleaning:

Fall Cleaning Chore Checklist

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 House Fever? Cure It With A Home Spruce-Up Exercise

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 winter needs. 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

Pandemic supply chain issues have brought havoc to the paper goods aisle, so double-check supplies of toilet paper, tissues and paper towels now.  Even if you won't host houseguests this year, it's time to take inventory of disposable supplies in bathroom areas.  

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.

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