Turkeys and Trees and Candles, Oh My… A Guide to pre-Holiday Prep

Turkeys and Trees and Candles, Oh My… A Guide to pre-Holiday Prep

holiday-dining-tableThe topic for our first and most recent Tidy Talk, we discussed ways to get organized before the holidays. For those who couldn’t attend I wanted to share this information in the hopes of making your holiday season a little less stressful and a little more bright. Enjoy!

I think the most important place to start is how to organize anything, and I mean anything.

So, to begin, let’s go through the process of organizing:

Step 1: Remove items from space – take everything out, working with a blank slate helps you imagine different ways to organize a space. 

Step 2: Group like items with like items – This allows you to see how many of one item you have possibly accumulated.

Step 3: Recycle or discard any broken or unsafe items – I always tell my clients, if you can reuse something instead of tossing it, please do. The planet thanks you! 

Step 4: Donate multiples: If you have multiples of one item, think about donating one or more, someone else could benefit from your generosity. 

Step 5: Clean items – organizing and cleaning go hand and hand, take a moment to wipe off, sanitize, dust, etc. before you place that item back in the space. Make sure the space is also cleaned before the item is returned. 

Step 6: Organize items kept back into space – Have fun, be creative and make sure everything is clearly visible or easy to find. There is no point in organizing a space if you still can’t find anything in it. Make sure that things that aren’t clearly visible are labeled. 

Step 7: Admire your work – Stand back and enjoy the small victory that you have just achieved!

This process shows the basic steps essential to organize any space.  Also, cleaning and organizing go hand in hand, so give your home a “Deep Cleaning”.  Every room needs to be dusted and cleaned from top to bottom: walls, doors, baseboards, ceiling fans etc.  Clean furniture by polishing or “Fabreezing”.  Move furniture to clean underneath and also clean in furniture.  Clean floors last.

The most important piece to have before you start is a plan. I repeat, MAKE A PLAN!!!

A plan helps you get organized before the organizing happens. It allows you to map out all the tasks that need to be completed and you can simply go down the list and cross it off when you are done. 

Let’s take a look, room by room of a typical home, to see how we can organize and prepare each space.


  • Organize like items together i.e. baking goods, spices, canned goods and place them in clear containers so you know when you are running low on an item
  • Put rarely used items up higher and regularly used items within easy reach
  • Take items, if possible, out of outer packaging and recycle packaging i.e. cereal, crackers, pasta
  • Place bulk items into containers that are labeled
  • Use baskets to house unusually shaped items
  • Place heavy items or items already organized on the floor i.e. cans of pop
  • Pantry organizers can be purchased if desired, i.e. canned food organizers
  • Plan your holiday meals several weeks in advance, ensuring to buy pantry items ahead of time



  • Take stock of what utensils and cookware that you will need for the holidays and make them easily accessiblem_M9wAJZU8BPD-zUeLHVzEg
  • Desktop organizers i.e. file folder organizers, are great for organizing cookie sheets, large lids or cutting boards
  • Use a tension rod underneath your sink to hang cleaning bottles on and store other items in bins or baskets underneath
  • For large utensils that are regularly used, a rod with curtain holders can organize them neatly on a wall
  • To find ready to use spices for any recipe, place spices in clear jars with screw top lids. Attach a magnet to the top of the jar and the other to underneath a top cabinet. This will allow for easy grab and go access.
  • Place a Lazy Susan in the refrigerator for easy access to condiments and regularly used items
  • Magazine files can organize boxes of Saran or Reynolds Wrap, larger lids etc.
  • CD racks can organize Tupperware/Gladware lids


Dining Room

  • Prepare your tablescape with fresh flowers or other seasonal accessories to add visual appeal
  • If you have a buffet, organize items in order of importance or how often they will be used during the holiday season
  • If children will be attending meals, make sure that their table is fun and visually appealing


Living Room

  • When applicable provide a “kid friendly area” with toys, books, a coloring table, games etc. for keeping kids happy and engaged
  • Label all remotes with small tabs displaying major functions such as On/Off, Sound and other buttons so that anyone can use that remote
  • If placing holiday decorations in this room, go through them first, making sure to recycle or discard any broken or damaged items (Holiday decorations will be discussed more next time!)
  • If the item can be repurposed, please do! i.e. broken garland can be used to create new decorations for tablescapes or can be made into wreaths
  • Make a list of items that need to be replaced or those you wish to buy for next year and buy these items when they go on sale after the holidays
  • Any unwanted decorations can also be donated to charity or nursing homes to be used in crafting
  • If seating is limited, small ottomans can be purchased. Those with lids that come off add storage and also can make a small table if needed.
  • Kids aren’t the only ones who love games, a small display of games gives your guests activities that allow you do needed housekeeping
  • A small rolling cart stacked with drinks, ice, snacks, cocktail napkins, coasters etc. is ideal for organized entertaining


Guest Bedroom

  • Place fresh linens on the bed and add an extra blanket or two at the foot in case your guests get chilly
  • Fresh flowers or accessories can add visual appeal. Include a clock, tissues and a mirror
  • A small basket with toiletries are a nice touch and ensure that your guests are taken care of
  • Ensure that your guests have your wi-fi password so that when they wish to use their devices they aren’t using up their data
  • A chair will allow your guests a place to place their luggage upon it for easy access, or if you have one, set up a luggage rack
  • Ensure that your guests have plenty of fresh towels so they don’t need to ask for more



  • RaH_AUG14_CO_ART_425x305_4_13UnexpectedOrganizersUse organizers or baskets underneath the sink to keep towels, extra toilet paper and other items neat and visible
  • A tension rod can organize cleaners underneath the sink
  • A wire basket hung on the wall can hold styling tools i.e. hair dryers, curling irons, straighteners etc.
  • Plastic drawer organizers are an inexpensive way to organize items and keep them visible. They are also great for keeping the insides of the drawers clean
  • Over the door hooks add space for storing towels
  • A chalkboard hung on the wall is a great place to store cosmetics, just add a magnet of the base of the item and attach to the chalkboard
  • Floating shelves are a great way to display items and add storage as well for items such as towels, lotions etc.


Coat Closet / Entryway 

  • Pull out all unused items, coats and other bulky items can be placed in vacuum sealed bags and stored elsewhere to allow for maximum storage for guests items
  • Add hanging organizer to the back of the door with pockets, these can be used to hold gloves, hats and scarves
  • Place a shoe tray near the door to hold wet boots and shoes


Finally, make sure that your house smells wonderful when guests arrive. Natural ingredients such as cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla extract, orange/lemon slices and spiced tea can make your house smell clean, cozy and make you guests feel like your home is their home away from home.

I hope these tips will help you prepare your home, and I wish you and your family a very happy holiday season!



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