Prep your home and yard for winter storms and get organized for the holidays
With the winter holidays coming up (and all of the gift giving, decorating, cooking and planning that go along with them), and in some regions snow and ice to contend with, December is a busy month indeed. Keep your home running smoothly by focusing on a few necessary tasks (like readying for winter storms) and simplify holiday prep to make the most of the season.
Boost cheer outdoors. If you plan to decorate your home for the holidays, now is the time to start thinking about putting up the lights and greenery. If the process is leaving you feeling more overwhelmed than filled with holiday cheer, remember that less can definitely be more — a lovely wreath on the door and twinkle lights on the porch are festive and simple to pull off.
Have the chimney cleaned before its first use. If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to schedule an appointment with a licensed chimney sweep to clean your wood-burning fireplace or wood stove before building a fire this winter.
Don’t try to do it all. It’s easy to get overwhelmed during the holiday season. Make things a bit simpler by focusing on the projects and activities you know you will really enjoy, and cut out as many of the stress-inducing items on your list as possible. And there’s no need to throw out a tradition entirely just because you want to simplify. For instance, to simplify holiday cookies, you could bake just one type of cookie instead of six, or use store-bought cookie dough but bake and decorate them yourself.
Do a postholiday tidy-up. Take down holiday decor and store it until next year. Recycle packaging and used gift wrap, and re-roll ribbon if you want to use it again. If you have kids, after the holidays can be a good time to pare back by removing some less-often-used toys (that are still in good shape) and donating them to charity. The same goes for grown-ups, too — if you received a few new sweaters as gifts, check through your old sweaters and see if there are a few you can give away to make space for the new.