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Thursday, November 03, 2016

Surviving the Holiday Season Part 1

By Suzanne O'Connor

During the Holiday season it’ easy to get stressed out with guest preparations, home prep, cooking and holiday shopping.

Like all of you, I get stressed out trying to balance it all. It is my busiest time of year. The most important aspect of lessening stress is staying organized and getting started early. Waiting till the last minute always ends up costing more.

For me, the seasonal deep house cleaning and house prep usually happens in late October early November. Drawers, closets are cleaned out. Dry cleaning of winter coats and sweaters is done. Rugs, curtains and upholstery is checked and if needed cleaned. 

This year, as it happens, everything needed cleaning. Every curtain, every rug, all the upholstered furniture and that cost will dramatically dip into my gift budget.

Since I have been wanting to replace my sofa and really don’t want to pay to have it cleaned, I got industrious this last weekend and hand cleaned / steamed my sofa / love seat, occasional and dining chairs myself with a bit of upholstery cleaner and a hand steam cleaner.  The results were pretty good and should last through till Spring. Savings were at least $400. The only thing lost was my time and some sore arms.

To save even more money, I also hand brushed down all the curtains and steamed those that needed it. Took about 2 hours to do the entire house. Sadly, two panels are in need of professional help and wont get through the season. Calls have been made and cleaners scheduled.

The rugs and been rotated to even out the wear and will be sent out after Thanksgiving. If past holidays can predict future holidays, I am sure gravy or wine will be spilt on them.  Holiday linens have been checked, cleaned or sent out if necessary.

This is the only time of year I might consider polishing silver. But only the one or two pieces that might get used…. Or not. I hate polishing silver. But it is so very pretty on a holiday table.

With the household deep cleaning in check, I having been coming up with creative ways to give DYI gifts. This year I looked no further than my succulent garden. I have taking cuttings and started them in small plastic pots. I picked up a dozen small terra cotta pots at different garage sales over the last month. In a few weeks, once they have started to root, I will transfer and arrange the succulents into the terra cotta pots. Add a nice ribbon and bingo! Great gifts for neighbors, hostess gifts, and business gifts.

During November, I try to get any purchases that I want to make online done. When they arrive, I’ll stash them away in my closet until it’s time for wrapping later in December. I also look for Xmas wrap and ribbon at 99 cent stores and garage sales. If you need a lot of wrapping, Costco is the place.

Getting ahead of the curve means that when it’s Thanksgiving week all I’ll have to worry about is our regular house cleaners coming by and shopping for food. I’ll have lots of time to visit with family and friends or head out to shop if I want to.

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