As we near the end-of-year rush in Ryan’s Crossing, it is easy to become overwhelmed with surprise items sneaking onto the agenda. Holiday visitors, shopping for the perfect gifts, and endless invites should remain the focus, rather than the home maintenance that goes beyond hanging twinkling lights.
In order to avoid such surprises, mark each change of season with an all-around health check of your home. By spending minimal time, four times per year taking stock of your surroundings, it is possible to minimize unwelcome surprises down the road.
Now is the time to look around your nest and ask:
- What is working?
- What could use tweaking?
- What can be eliminated?
These are questions that are often asked in relation to major systems, such as HVAC or plumbing but don’t forget about your smaller appliances (toaster oven, coffee maker, mixer). All will likely be essential in the next months – and also on sale, should they need replacing. Avoiding an emergency performance call on those larger items is also ideal. Should any require major maintenance, get it scheduled now in order to avoid a long wait due to the vacation schedules that affect all companies.
There are other areas in our homes that those same three questions can apply to. Spring cleaning? Yes! But what about Fall? Adding a second “full-sweep” date to the calendar, just before the holidays ramp up, has multiple benefits.
- Start with the areas where guests will likely congregate – and don’t forget the spare bedroom! Get a head start on freshening up linens and cleaning guest bathrooms to avoid last-minute commotion. If you are one who forgets when those bed sets were last washed, leave yourself a note somewhere so you don’t end up doing twice the work.
- The beginning of the school year usually sends homes into havoc as backpacks and school supplies become standard decor for countertops and couches. Make a weekly “power hour” a new home habit in which all household members report for decluttering duty. During the days prior, jot down a task list that can then be split among participants. Make it fun by creating a Power Hour Playlist or by turning up those holiday tunes to get everyone moving.
- Meet any holiday wish lists with a pre-holiday purge. Check through toy boxes, cabinets, and closets for items that have not been used in the last year and help fill up shelves of the local Goodwill or Salvation Army Donation Centers. This is a terrific way to be charitable while on a budget. Did you know that most children are more likely to donate gently used items around the holidays than at any other time during the year? Engage their Gift for Giving!
- Plump up your pantry. Buy extras of the essentials so that you aren’t forced to the store when a late night baking spree breaks out. Think ahead to favorite holiday dishes and begin buy the sundries now in order to spread out your future financial load. Did you know that you can freeze fresh fruits and vegetables? This is a great “plan ahead” method for any favorite meals that deserve to be the star of the table. While the rest of the grocery shopping population may be elbowing each other for those last sweet potatoes, your casserole will already be assembled.
- If you’ve not discovered a multi-function cooker, such as Instant Pot, now is the time. Whether using the crock pot, pressure cook or sauté functions, dinner will be served with less work exactly when it’s appreciated – during that high-activity evening rush. Multi-function cookers are terrific for meal prep as ingredients can be assembled ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a few days or stored frozen for weeks.
- Many people chuckle at the “gift bag” drawer…until they need a gift bag. Start stocking up on wrapping supplies now, bit by bit. Dedicate some of that freed up closet space to store all things essential for primping packages to eliminate a scissor or tape finding scavenger hunt later. Think year round with birthday wrapping paper or wedding shower gift bags and buy when those items are on sale. You might also create a go-to basket of host or hostess gifts, available to grab on the way to a surprise night out.
- Is there a scent that reminds you of being home for the holidays? Or do you prefer a signature scent year round? It is not uncommon to have a nostalgic reaction to a smell, such as a baked apple pie sparking memories of grandma. Plug-in fragrance distributors are a great way to scent your home all day long and without the worry that comes with candles. Try Wallflowers or Pura for endless, seasonal options or find one you love and make it your home’s signature scent.
As the holiday season approaches, welcome guests into your beautiful home without worry. Push back any thoughts of a need to do more and relax into fellowship with friends and family. While a semi-annual “full-sweep” is a great idea, reality may eliminate the time needed to complete it. No need to fret, however. Creating new holiday memories is far more important and Ryan’s Crossing is the perfect place to do so.