Bring your home back to normal -- without going crazy -- with a few extra hands.
Santa and his holiday help have gone on their merry way. The gifts have all been opened. Dinner is done. Everyone is in a state of complete satiated bliss. Except you.
> Find extra holiday help to keep your spirits bright this season.
You look around and see crumpled wrapping paper, empty boxes and dirty dishes. You might even wish Santa had left a couple of holiday helpers behind to lend you a hand. But take heart. It is a season of miracles and you can have your own personal helper without relying on magical elves.
From removing decorations to packing up holiday gear, your holiday help -- whether it's a hired service or your babysitter -- can help you get back to normal before you know it. You might even find time to hit the after-holiday sales!
- Remove Holiday Decorations
The first step in getting any house back to normal is to clear away all the trimmings and decorations that were so lovingly assembled just weeks before. Your helper can pack up the ornaments and recycle the tree and wrapping paper.
- Check Lights and Batteries
Before you just toss the lights into a box to worry about next year, why not let your helper pack them away with care? She can check each bulb and wind them around empty wrapping paper tubes so that you can use them right out of storage. Batteries left in stored items can leak and ruin the decorations. Ensure your mechanical decorations last for years by removing all batteries and storing them in a baggie. Keep the bag in the item's box or taped to the item to be ready for next year.
- Clean, Pack and Store Seasonal Linens
While working on other tasks, your helper can run seasonal linens through the washing machine. This might include seasonal bedding, towels, kitchen cloths, tablecloths and napkins. When you pack these away for the year, ask your helper to pack them into clear plastic zipper bags. Not only does this protect the fabric from insects and spiders, but it also makes it easy to identify the items next year.
- Spot Clean
Parties and celebrations take their toll on the house. Guests spill things and carpets and upholstery can really show stains after parties. Look for a helper that has the skills and the patience to work on those little drips and drops that end up all over your home.
photo courtesy of Allfloors Glasgow
- Drop Off Holiday Dry Cleaning
That beautiful dress you wore on New Year's Eve looked a lot better before your best friend dumped shrimp cocktail on it. Let your helper take it and all those other special pieces that were worn to the dry cleaner. She can even check for coupons to save a little money.
- Personal Space
During the holidays, your usual organizing routines can go out the window. Your holiday help can get your closets and bedrooms back to their pre-holiday order with just a few small organizing tasks (and they can also find some room for all those gifts!).
- Writing Thank-You Notes
Don't dread those piles of thank-you notes. Instead, let your helper print, address and stamp each envelope. You can add personal notes and then let her take the stack to the post office.
- Print and Organize Holiday Pictures
Have you always drooled over other people's professional-looking family albums but didn't feel crafty enough to do it yourself? No problem. Just look for a helper with scrapbooking experience (possibly your babysitter) who can organize your family's holiday shots and get them printed and mounted for you.
- Clean Silver
Your helper can clean and polish all that silver that only seems to see the light of day between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Be sure to wrap each piece of silver in tarnish-resistant cloth to reduce work next year.
Did we leave any holiday tasks off our list? Let us know in the comments. And if you're looking to lend a helping hand this holiday season, check out Get a Babysitting Job During the Holidays.
Shellie Braeuner, is an award-winning children's author. She earned an M.Ed from Vanderbilt in Human Developmental Counseling and has worked as a nanny for more than 25 years. She is currently working on her MFA in writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.