Monday organizer: Prepping early for holidays helps minimize stress
BY NOUR HABIB World Scene Writer
Monday, November 05, 2012
11/05/12 at 4:22 AM
It's never too early to start preparing for the holiday season.
So says Monika MacIntyre, owner of Checkmark Concierge, a company that offers personal assistance to help people with numerous tasks, including decorating, gift shopping, organizing and packing.
MacIntyre and Amy Bates, owner of Merry Maids, offer several tips to help people enjoy the holidays by minimizing the stress of last-minute preparations.
MacIntyre says she does her holiday shopping year-round.
"When I see something that reminds me of a person on my holiday gift list, I pick it up and save it for holiday gift giving," she said. "That way I don't have to spend the month of December battling the weather, traffic, crowds and lines at the cash registers."
MacIntyre recommends making a list or spreadsheet of the people you want to buy gifts for and writing ideas of what to get them. Then, write down what you bought, the amount spent on each gift, and check it off once the gift is wrapped and delivered or mailed.
"It's a good idea to have a few extra gifts on hand," she said, in case you forgot someone or are invited to a last-minute holiday party.
Holidays generally mean more people are coming through your house, whether they're dinner guests at a Christmas party or family members staying for a few nights.
Make sure guest bedrooms are prepared early, Bates said. If you've been using them as storage space, start moving things out. Be sure you have linens, fresh towels and matching bedroom sets ready.
And don't forget details that might be overlooked in a rarely used room, like base boards, door frames and light switches.
"It makes people more comfortable to sleep in clean space," Bates said.
Also, get the big kitchen cleaning tasks done early, like organizing cabinets and cleaning the refrigerators and microwaves.
"If people are going to be helping themselves, they want to get their food from somewhere clean," she said.
MacIntyre and Bates recommend waiting until after Thanksgiving to start decorating.
But you can start thinking about what you will use to decorate and where you'd like to place everything.
For example, if there is a carpet stain that you're covering with a piece of furniture in the place you usually place your tree, now is a good time to get that stain cleaned, Bates said.
And when you do start decorating, MacIntyre suggests keeping it simple.
"Going overboard can look cluttered," she said. "But try to bring a little something festive into each room of your house - even a cinnamon scented candle in the bathroom or a simple floral arrangement with pinecones or poinsettias on the dresser."
Other reminders, tips
Original Print Headline: Prepping early for holidays helps minimize stress
- If you are traveling during the holidays, make sure you arrange for someone to check on your home and pets.
- Break up time-consuming tasks, like holiday cards. Take the family photo early, update your addresses, print your labels, then spend 30 minutes each weekend addressing and stuffing the envelopes.
Nour Habib 918-581-8369