How to make your holiday season (at home) more productive in just 15 minutes!

November 18, 2011

The  excitement of the holidays is now upon us and it is during this time we often feel like we have more on our ‘to do’ list than there are hours in the day!

A common area of stress for many people is getting our homes ready for the holidays (and all those visitors)!

Hire a cleaning service – I love Harmony Clean because they use natural products and they are fabulous in Bucks County. Take 15 minutes to seek out your local service and schedule a clean; it is worth every cent I promise you!  Book a special onetime clean – if you know you have company coming, a party or a gathering of people; consider hiring the experts to clean your home from top to bottom. This will also make it easier for you to maintain during the holidays.  

Clean  – yep that’s right! If you have to do it yourself, and you want just do a quick tidy up around the house set your alarm and do as much as you can in 15 minutes! That is it! No more, no less – just 15 minutes. You will be astounded what you can achieve!

Make a holiday ‘to do’ list – include on your list the activities you want to complete at home, the activities you want to outsource and your shopping ‘to do’ list. Sit down for 15 minutes, do a brain dump – I promise you will feel lighter!

Clean the bathrooms – you know these areas get significant traffic during this busy time, keep these areas clean by placing cleaning products in each room so that you can quickly wipe the counter tops, clean the shower doors and wipe down other areas.

Change linens – it is great at night to snuggle up into flannel sheet sets. Allocate time to change over all the linens in each room. Do it all on the same day so it makes it easier to remember when they all need to be changed again.

Arrange your guest room -clean, tidy, dust and make some closet space for your guests. This is a great time of year for unexpected visitors so make sure your guest room is ready for anyone that might drop in for a visit or stay over after a meal.

Set up candles – candle light is so much more forgiving than bright lights. Use the dimmer switches or light candles, no one will know if you house is clean or not!

Decorate – choose a room, choose a color theme and choose the things that will make the most impact. Now go! You could spend 15 minutes on each room if you want. If you don’t get it all done, make another appointment with yourself to complete it.

Shop online – instead of spending time in stores, determine how many gifts and items you can buy online (from the comfort of your own home). You might also end up spending less money as you won’t be distracted by the other items in store.

Drycleaners – outsource your linens; take your table cloths, matching serviettes and any other linens you might need for your holidays, to your local dry cleaner and ask them to press them, this will save you time.

Research recipe books – pull out all the relevant recipe books that you want to use and mark the recipes you will be making. Sit down in one place, in one sitting and make a list of every ingredient you are going to need for your special meal. This will prevent multiple trips to the store (or multiple orders online).

Oreder fresh flowers – these add a special touch to your home during this busy time; they create beauty and will be appreciated by those around you. You can have special holiday arrangements delivered by many companies, I like www.1800flowers.com – it is nice to receive flowers (even if you do have to order them yourself)!

Spend 15 minutes searching for serving platters – search your pantry, your cupboards and your basement for all those large platters you like to use during the holidays. Decide which food will be displayed on which platter. I always place them all on the counter top the day of the event so I know which platters are going to be used.

Spend 15 minutes chatting to party hire – a senior executive, one of my clients, says she simply phones the party hire store and tells them how many people she has coming for a meal and they deliver the cutlery, crockery, linens, candles and extra seats and tables she requires. She rinses off the crockery and they come and pick it all up – no cleaning, no fuss. Can you reach out to your local party hire store and see if they provide this service?

Order groceries online – order from your favourite supermarket and have them delivered to your home. For a small tip to the delivery person, you will save so much time and it also means you won’t have to carry them indoors during the cold weather.

Order your main ingredients – if you like to have a ham or turkey on the holiday table, now is the time to place your order for those items and any special order pies you might want. Search out your local farmers market or local produce store.

Sweet talk some help – during this busy season there are many services that can help you feel less stressed and give you more time. Consider online shopping services, personal chefs, and dry cleaners, cleaning services, flower delivery and local school children. You might be able to recruit local neighbourhood kids to help you with the many chores you need to get done. I pay my neighbors to help me achieve my ‘to do’ list.

The holiday season is for enjoying with friends and family, it is not meant to be a stressful, busy time. This year decide you are going to stop trying to do it all and get help where ever you can.

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