‘Tis the season for decorating, entertaining and — if you’re like the rest of us – stressing out. To offset some of that holiday strain, here are 12 home hacks that will lighten your load (and save you some money). Put them to good use and you’ll be singing through the season like a partridge in a Pinterest-perfect pear tree!
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1. Buckle lights with binder clips.
Plastic light hangers tend to bend and break easily. Ditch the over-promisers and use office binder clips to easily – and evenly — attach holiday strands to your roof instead.
2. Dry boots with a DIY drip tray.
Wet shoes can warp floors, track grime through the house, and cause slips and falls – especially when you’ve got a lot of guests. The solution? Fill a simple tray with river rocks (find them at garden centers or the dollar store). The moisture will drip right through.
3. Save money with creative storage.
Opening last year’s organizers to find broken ornaments and tangled lights is a real bummer. Take a cue from the experts and skip the expensive organizers. Instead, store ornaments in egg cartons and wrap Christmas lights around clothes hangers. This way, you’ll start every season on a good note. And you’ll save money too!
4. Prolong the life of your tree with Aspirin.
Getting a real tree? Some say that adding some crushed Aspirin to its water can prolong its life and keep its needles intact. With or without Aspirin, be sure to give your tree at least one quart of water a day to keep it green. And if you have small kids or pets, be sure to place tree-preserving mixtures out of their reach.
5. Use a stool to create the ultimate wrapping station.
Use an old stool to create the ultimate giftwrapping station, complete with pockets (or hooks) for scissors, tape and trimmings. Then, add wheels or glue it to a skateboard to make it mobile. Voila! Wrapping presents just got a whole lot easier.
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6. Give glitter the heave-ho with a lint roller.
Glittery bows, crafts and holiday decorations have at long last met their match. A lint roller will remove glitter from everything from your floor to your clothes to your cat. Why didn’t we think of this sooner?
7. Gain tire traction with kitty litter.
Live in a cold and snowy climate? Keep kitty litter handy in your garage and in your car. If your car gets stuck in the ice or snow, spread some litter under your tires for instant tire traction.
8. Use green garland to fill out the tree.
Is the old Christmas tree looking a little sparse? Wrap green garland or tinsel through any empty spaces for an easy and inexpensive fix.
9. Pick up broken glass with white bread.
The inevitable broken glass presents an opportunity to wow your guests with some Christmas magic: Dampen a simple piece of white bread and use it to sponge up the shards. It will pick up even the tiniest pieces!
10. Zap sap with toothpaste.
Picking a real Christmas tree is fun, but getting the sap off your hands afterwards is a different story. Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy solution: Scrub your hands with abrasive toothpaste!
11. Use tinfoil to keep your fireplace clean.
Ever place tinfoil on the bottom of your oven to make after-dinner clean up a breeze? You can do the same with your wood-burning fireplace. Just place a double layer across the bottom before you light a fire. Then, after everything’s cooled the next day, simply fold the ashes into the foil and discard it.
12. Simmer something scent-sational.
Nothing brings the holidays to life like the smells of apple-cinnamon, orange spice and vanilla — and there’s no easier way to fill your home with the scents of the season than a simmer pot on the stove. Just fill a saucepan; bring it to a boil; and add sliced apples, orange rinds, cinnamon sticks, and anything else you’d like to include. Then, reduce the heat and turn it down to simmer, adding more water as needed.