Written by Katelyn Zee
Holiday lights and decorations take up a lot of space — especially for single parents who may not have quite as much free room as they think.
To help, the American Society of Interior Designers has put together some simple steps to help homeowners make the most of a limited space. Here’s a look at some examples of ways to make the most of your clutter without hoarding it.
Unplug light fixtures
When they’re not needed, say in an elevator, changing off the lights in a room can be difficult. Lights can remain on long after their power is turned off, which creates energy waste.
To get around this problem, the ASID recommends installing timers and switching the lights off after a certain amount of time. If you’re about to head into a building’s elevator, leave the lights on at your highest level and dim them down in the elevator.
Set back the clocks
No time is worth wasting. So when lights are switched on before a holiday, set the clocks back an hour, which can save you money on lighting and energy costs. Setting the clocks back early can save 10% on energy costs.
Don’t get caught in the moment
Getting festive? Make sure not to get carried away with that last-minute party.
It’s easy to get carried away with candles and decorations during the holidays, but be mindful of how much your burn during a party. Smoking candles and hard-to-reach items, like piping and saws, can increase a homeowner’s carbon footprint, according to ASID.
Be careful not to overuse extension cords. Long-distance running adds weight to the final load and may cause additional power problems, ASID notes.
Hosting large gatherings is also potentially dangerous if you have guests who are intoxicated. Keep the cocktails and food warm and waiting in a cooler until guests get to you before serving food and drinks.
Your home may look beautiful and inviting, but putting a little effort into making it hospitable will make it that much more inviting.
Ask lots of questions of your guests — like who plans to stay, where they want to stay and how long they want to stay.
Be sure to think about people’s comfort level. If you have a young couple visiting for the holidays, make sure that the younger person doesn’t get cold.
If your host has an especially large party, consider having a sitter on site. This not only puts an end to potential guests staying in the same room, but it also prevents anyone from lingering too long.
Pay attention to hospitality
Designate a designated guest who is ready to share each guest’s concerns with you. Make sure you start a conversation during the day of the holiday party. If someone has any concerns, ask them.
Keep the drudgery to a minimum
Instead of buying several dozen paper cookies to share on the way home, or package cookie cutters in plastic bags to wrap up your leftovers, consider using the holiday decor as a de-stressing.
“One of the bigger questions that we always get as holiday decorators is how do we get away from the cake, the presents, the cards and decorations during the holiday season?” said ASID’s Claire Hill. “The answer is easy. The tableware.”
By all means, enjoy the decorations, but change up your decor from time to time.
“Some people feel that the decoration itself is stressful. It could be that the decoration just isn’t what a holiday event is about,” Hill said. “Some people argue that people are more prone to drink, and having a holiday party doesn’t necessarily keep people away from the holiday party if the decoration isn’t putting people at ease and helping them celebrate the holidays.”