The colors are changing, the air is crisp, and the holidays are just around the corner. Whether you’re a strict no-twinkle lights-until-after-Thanksgiving person or you’re already planning cocoa-fueled viewings of Elf, a little advance cleaning and organizing can keep holiday stress at bay. Here’s a checklist of small home projects to tackle now
Dust Off Those Pretty Plates
If you have festive china, crystal, and nice flatware that only comes out for big celebratory meals, find a quiet fall weekend before shopping stress sets in to take your pieces off the shelves and give them a gentle, thorough cleaning by hand so they’re ready to go. We’ve all known the heartache of breaking an heirloom while rushing around or realizing a guest just used an abrasive scrubber on your grandmother's gravy boat—this will make sure everything is pristine and ready for your famous apple pie when the time comes.
Ready Your Kitchen
Famous for your yearly latke parties or cookie swaps? No matter how you celebrate this time of year, food is likely a huge (and delicious!) part of it. Now is the time to open up your deep storage and locate those cookie cutters or pans you only use a few times a year for big batches. Make sure any key appliances, such as a food processor or stand mixer, are in good working order, so you’re not searching around for an all-important attachment while elbow-deep in cookie dough.
Dress Up Your Bathroom, Too
Don't neglect your bathroom when it comes to decorating! A warming scented candle and some on-theme hand towels can bring holiday cheer to the bathroom and create a cozy place to de-stress during this extremely busy time of the year. Make things even easier on your future self by doing a deep clean in advance and stocking up on seasonal self-care treats like eucalyptus bath salts to melt away winter cold and stress. The result will be a soothing spot to retreat for a warm bath or a face mask and escape from that daunting to-do list.
Do Some Ornament Maintenance
No matter how carefully you packed your tree decorations away at the end of last Christmas, hooks and hangers will go missing, tassels will get tangled, and loose glitter from that homemade paper star will end up everywhere. Don’t wait until it’s decoration time to open up the box, especially if you have impatient little ones in the house. Put on a podcast a few days before you get your tree and get down to business, setting aside any heirlooms in need of a little extra love this year and giving yourself time to clean up any messes.
Make a Wrapping Station
There’s always that one day when everyone in the family is rushing around trying to wrap last-minute gifts all at once, and tape becomes an extremely hot commodity. Make things easier on everyone—yourself included!—by setting up a designated corner, table, or even a spacious closet as gift wrapping HQ. Stock it with plenty of supplies like double-sided tape, nice paper, scissors, and gift tags to make it easy on everyone to put together a beautiful gift.