Watford resident, Sarah Watkins shares her top tips on getting your home ready for the onslaught of Christmas.
If, like me, you’re beginning to regret that somewhat wine fuelled invitation to ‘come to us for Christmas’ you extended at the summer barbecue, it’s probably about now that panic is starting to set in. Not only was the invitation taken seriously, but said friends have now let you know what dates they will be staying for!
And looking around, the place doesn’t look particularly welcoming. Worn carpets, grubby curtains and furniture that's seen better days. There's nothing like Christmas visitors to bring us face-to-face with the less than show home reality of our own living space.
So it's time to get things organised, with a good clear out to make way for visitors, space for presents and the odd clear surface to show off your dazzling display of festive decorations.
It can be done, especially with these top de-cluttering tips..
Tip 1 - Never leave a room empty-handed
Pick up something that doesn’t belong and put it in its rightful place. And make sure everyone else in the house does too. We travel from room to room so many times each day you’d be surprised how quickly following this rule makes a difference.
Tip 2 – One in, one out
Stuff, we can’t resist buying it. Make a rule that if one new thing is brought home, one old thing must go. Much easier than having a mass clear out when the house is full to overflowing. Kids especially are far more willing to part with something old when they are happily preoccupied with something new.
Tip 3 – Big is not necessarily beautiful
Large but essential items such as the vacuum cleaner, ironing board, step ladder etc need to have their own home when not in use. And they need to be put there, not left leaning against the dining room wall (ok, that’s me I confess!)
Tip 4 - Be ruthless with clothing and shoes!
The problem with shoes especially is, as adults, they will always fit. No matter if we gain a little weight, we can still get into pretty much every pair of shoes we own. And we can keep the matching handbags obviously. Shoes and bags take up a LOT of wardrobe space, if you haven’t worn/used them for a year, it’s time they went. Ditto clothes, which if you have the willpower, should also be given the ‘one in, one out’ treatment.
Tip 5 – Get storage savvy
Invest in effective storage solutions, but don’t use it as excuse to hang on to more stuff. Make sure the kids have suitable storage in their bedrooms for their personal possessions, including clothes. When their personal space is filled, remind them about ‘one in, one out’ which will encourage them to actually use the storage space provided, rather than utilise the ‘floordrobe.’ If you have a spare room or garage use them for storage by all means, but with proper storage facilities and shelving etc, not just as a dumping ground threatening injury to all those who dare to enter.
Tip 6 – Fantasise your house clean!
Seriously, this one works for me. I’m not just cleaning the bathroom, I’m preparing for scrutiny on ‘Four in a Bed.’ The living room has to be spotless and clutter free before ‘Phil Spencer – Secret Agent’ turns up with the camera crew. And now George Clooney has finally found a window in his diary to visit, the bedroom clearly has to be immaculate! Working this way isn’t just more fun, it makes you look at your home as someone else would, and whilst you may find it easy to ignore the overflowing washing basket, George Clooney certainly won’t!
Tip 7 – Call in the cavalry!
Teach the children that cleaning is a family job, and even the young ones can help with some tasks (funny how they always seem to understand ‘tidy up time’ at nursery but not in their own bedroom!) Don’t expect the man of the house to don a pinny and marigolds on a regular basis, but anything involving power tools, ladders or paintbrushes can safely be seen as his domain. And yes I know I’m being sexist and stereotypical and horribly unPC here, but I’m also being realistic!
A good weekend de-clutter can leave your home looking a million times better.
Still room for improvement?
Freshening up the window dressings can make a world of difference. Shamma Dry Cleaners in Watford currently have a fabulous 3 for 2 offer on that is too good to miss at this time of year. Established 20 years ago Shamma Dry Cleaners is registered as one of the elite group of Master Cleaners. Not only do they offer a full range of cleaning services, including specialist care for Evening wear, silk, suede and leather items, but they also offer a collection and delivery service.
Please click here for further details about Shamma Dry Cleaners.
Head to our offers page where you will find that for each three curtains you bring in before Christmas, Shamma Dry Cleaners of Watford will only charge for two!
Please click here to download the voucher.
And if you’re looking for carpet or furnishing bargains to spruce up the place before the visitors arrive, why not go to CLEMENTS of Watford where they have some amazing closing down bargains prior to their exciting relocation to their old, new premises!
Please click here for more information about CLEMENTS.
Running until 16th December there are some great deals to be had, as all stock and most displays at CLEMENTS' current Charter Place showrooms must go.
Please click here to view the voucher.
So with a little bit of time, organisation and elbow grease, plus some help from your local Watford businesses, you will have no problems being ready to receive your visitors with pride (George Clooney anyone?)