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Christmas is just around the corner. While it may seem a little early to be hanging baubles and making fresh foliage wreaths, getting organised ahead of time is key to managing a magical, stress-free festive season.
According to Homebase, we’re set to embrace Christmas earlier than ever before, hang more outdoor lights, and spread yuletide cheer beyond just our living rooms. In fact, research found searches for decorations started gaining momentum at the start of last month, while 54% of people want to festoon their homes with statement-making lights.
“This Christmas will truly be the brightest, most colourful Christmas yet – and deservedly so,” says Frances Clements, Christmas Buyer at Homebase. “Whether fuelled by festive frenzy after a bleak 2020 or inspired by some friendly neighbourhood competition, we predict more people will use decorations to glow up their homes and make their entire homes a festive statement.”
Are you looking to beat the rush this Christmas and get ahead of the game? Take a look at what you can do now to get your home ready for the festivities…
1. Declutter key areas of your home
No matter how neat and tidy you naturally are, it’s all too easy for clutter to pile up. If you’re looking to bring harmony to the home before Christmas, start decluttering in stages — focus on one room, one space or even one zone within a room to make it easier (cupboards, storage nooks and box rooms are good places to start if you feel overwhelmed).
Once you’ve made a start, it’s time to deep dive into the areas you’ll spend most of your time. “Concentrate your attention on rooms that will be used the most at Christmas, such as guest bedrooms which tend to become a dumping ground,” Elizabeth Grant, Founder of Declutter on Demand, tells Country Living.
“Clear out anything you no longer need or love and don’t keep things out of guilt. If you have decluttered ahead of time, you could make some extra cash from unwanted items on apps like Vinted or Depop. You might even find nice things that you can re-gift saving you time doing your Christmas shopping.”
2. Get guest bedroom ready
Have you got long-awaited visitors staying over this Christmas? It might be the season for goodwill and cheer, but hosting can zap the fun out of everyone — even if you think you’re prepared. As the festive season fast approaches, it’s time to make space for guests.
“The nation is beginning to prepare their homes to ensure its guest ready,” Sam Baldry, Head of Design at Swoon, tells us. “After last year’s Christmas lockdown, we are all making more of an effort to be the ‘host with the most’ – and where better to start than with the guest bedroom?”
A guest bedroom should feel like a home from home, so layer up fabrics, textures, soft bedlinen, quilts, warm lighting, and a patterned blanket at the bottom of the bed to brighten things up.
“Make guests cosy at night with brushed cotton or teddy fleece bedding. A fur throw is also a great addition,” suggests Lisa Jones, Editorial Design Manager at Dunelm. “As well as this, why not add a small Christmas tree to make the room feel special. If you don’t have one, a pre-lit wreath or hanging line lights will work just as well.”
3. Tackle those maintenance jobs
Use the months before Christmas to tackle some of those nagging DIY maintenance jobs you have been putting off.
“Take time to get on top of any home maintenance tasks you have been putting off,” Lizzie tells us. “Jobs such as booking a boiler service, having the gutters cleared and drains unblocked and changing fuses and lightbulbs will help your Christmas run smoothly. It will also save you the headache and expense of trying to find a plumber or electrician to come out last minute on Christmas Eve.”
4. Declutter your living room
The living room is the heart of the home, which is why creating a cosy, characterful space before Christmas is vital. Your decorations might still be in the loft, but making your room clutter-free is the best place to begin — and will save you time later on.
Not sure where to start? Lizzie tells us: “Declutter old magazines and newspapers, keeping recent ones in a magazine holder. If toys are taking over, sort through and donate any that have been outgrown or are no longer used. Big baskets with lids are a great way to quickly tidy up toys after they’ve been played with. Open bookshelves look great but not if they are cluttered. Take time to review ornaments on your shelves and make sure you just have those on display which you really love.”
5. Tackle your hallway cupboard
We’ve done a whole lot of cleaning in our homes over the past 18 months, but have you tackled the forgotten space under your stairs? Often a dumping ground for muddy shoes, coats and bags, it’s an easy nook to neglect.
“Hallway cupboards easily become over-crowded particularly with items that don’t really belong there,” Lizzie adds. “To make space for guests’ outerwear and all those winter accessories, have a clear out of your coat cupboards and shoe storage. Donate old and outgrown coats and shoes to charity if they are still in good condition. If they are not in good condition, drop them off at your local textile recycling bank. If you lack space, store summer coats, shoes and accessories elsewhere in your home until you need them again.”
6. Plan those finances
It can be challenging to pay for Christmas out of December’s pay packet alone, so it makes sense to work out what you can afford — and budget ahead of time. To ensure you have the least financial stress, make a list of the things you need to buy and set aside how much you want to spend on each person (for example, will you be buying one present for each family member or will you club together for Secret Santa).
Other things you can do include tucking away a little bit each week, shopping around on various comparison websites, sticking to your budget, and being honest with loved ones about what you can realistically afford.
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