Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Deck & Clean X2

"Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la, la la la la..."

You have to sing or at least put some music on to get in the mood for decorating, because decorating means bringing all those boxes down from the attic. It means untangling strings of lights, replacing dead bulbs, and figuring out which ones are going on the tree and which ones are going elsewhere. It also means rearranging furniture and figuring out where everything will fit this year.

Maybe you have lots of space and are totally organized, but I live in a small, old house with 5 family members, 2 cats, a rabbit, a guinea pig, and very little storage space. That means everyone dumps things in the attic, but those 3 boxes of holiday decorations are clearly labeled and
have a designated spot so I can find them. Because our house is small I keep the decorations to a minimum. 

Moving furniture and adding decorations requires extra cleaning and organizing, which is an ongoing challenge anyway. A handy stick vacuum, feather duster and broom are my best friends through out the season, especially because of those little pine needles and the occasional broken ornament.

Before decorating I set aside a full day of cleaning, usually on a Saturday. I solicit everyone's help for different areas of the house, and being that it's the season of "good cheer", everyone tends to be cooperative, (if they're not I tell them I will turn into Scrooge). When that's done we'll bring the tree in and put up the decorations, to the tune of our favorite holiday CD's. 

Having cleaned well ahead of time, it usually only takes a quick vac & dust tour to keep things looking nice, and some gentle reminders for everyone to put their stuff away, (or at least put it in the attic). Having Eggnog in the refrigerator, a secret supply of holiday treats in the cupboard, and a smile on my face helps me get lots of cooperation, except from the cats. Never figured out how to stop the cats from pulling balls off the tree or leaving their toys out. 

To Grandmothers House We Go...
Now that my house is all set up, it's off to Mom's house which is an hour and a half away. For the past few years I've been decorating her house too, because she's not able to. Although I don't need to clean as much, there's a lot more boxes and decorations to deal with. This requires teamwork. My sons and their Uncle get the huge artificial tree down from the garage loft. We all bring up big boxes of decorations from the basement and Mom proceeds to direct us as to where she wants everything. The outside, the inside, the tree, the snow scene - it's a major production! My daughter always does the snow scene.

Fortunately Mom has a big walk in closet in the guest room where we can store all the boxes and extra decorations until after the holidays. I usually wait until middle or late January to pack it all away again because that gives her more time to enjoy it and me time to deal with my own house. 

Since we spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Mom's house, I don't have to worry about all the wrappings and kitchen mess at my house. Of course we do have to cook & clean at her house, but somehow because we're not at home, it's just become part of the fun. Everyone pitches in to help so it gets done fast and no one feels overwhelmed. That's been my secret to keeping things tidy and having a happy holiday for many years, enlisting help with good tidings & cheer.

"I am sharing my holiday home decor and cleaning tips for the chance to win prizes from The SITS Girls and Great Cleaners."

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