Winterize for WarmthImage via Flickr by celikins
Keep your family and guests cozy by getting the house ready for winter. Seal off any drafty windows, fill your duvet covers with your thickest down comforters, and drape plenty of throws around the house for chilly evenings. Get your chimney cleaned and have your furnace cleaned and serviced so it will be working at peak efficiency and won't let you down in the middle of a blizzard. Stock up on salt and dig out your snow removal equipment so you'll be ready when that first winter storm hits. (It doesn't hurt to stock your cupboards with hot chocolate and marshmallows, either.)
Clean Top to BottomRather than waiting for spring to clean, why not do a thorough top-to-bottom cleansing before the entertaining season begins? Clutter tends to accumulate over time, so go through each room with a box and a commitment to cut the number of knick-knacks and trinkets that you've collected. Polish shiny surfaces to help your rooms sparkle, and make sure all the light bulbs are working in your lamps and ambient lighting fixtures. This is also a very good time to get your carpets and upholstery cleaned.
Get OrganizedSpend a little time getting your closets and cupboards in order. Give your coat closet a makeover by tossing all the mismatched gloves and dated scarves and bringing in some pretty boxes or shelving to organize accessories. Put away your summer clothes and fill your closet with cozy sweaters. Make room in your kitchen by discarding old spices and unused odds and ends that are crowding your cupboards. It'll be easier to cook and bake when you can find what you're looking for at a glance.
Decorate for the SeasonOnce you have your house in order, it's time to add your holiday decor. Keep a trash can and donation box nearby as you pack the items you put away last year; it's very freeing to let go of the idea that you have to hang on to each ornament or seasonal hand towel forever. Remember that a few oversized items will be much more visually appealing in your rooms than a visual stew of smaller decor. Add just one or two holiday touches to each room, but make each one count. High-impact decor items might include a giant wreath on the door, a newel post and banister wrapped in greenery and ribbons, or a huge glass bowl filled with gold and silver ornaments.
Getting your house ready for winter entertaining and family festivities can be an exciting part of the holiday season. A home that is clean, comfortable, well-organized, and exquisitely decorated will help you feel relaxed and confident when you greet your guests.
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