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I love getting ready for Christmas. I decorate everywhere. Even the bathroom! One thing I have always detested is trying to put the rooms back the way they were before I started. So, I have a plan. Each year, I take pictures of the room before I start to decorate. All of the little tablescapes and where all the pictures are hung, etc. Then, as I decorate, I store all the items I take down in the tubs that held the Christmas items that are in that spot. I include the picture, so that when I put them back out in January, I have a visual guide to what goes where. Such a small thing, and it really eliminates the stress of the take-down.

Be sure while you are cleaning that you wash down all the light switch plates and the edges of all the doors. No matter how much you clean, if those are dirty, you will still think your house is dirty.

Invest in some really good potpourri. It's worth the money and the smells will help set a festive mood. The best part? You can re-scent this with essential oils at any time. No more buying the same basic potpourri every week. Just grab the oils at your local craft shop and have a ball!

If you are short on decorations, here are a few ideas we've used over the years. Got doors that exit from the living room? Even a closet? Wrap them like a gift. Do the same with pictures on the wall. Wrapping paper, tape and ribbon are easy enough to get. One year, we used sheets!

Use solid colored placemats and table runners in festive textures. They make great accents without over doing it.

Change your candle colors to red, gold and green-add simple berry wreath candle rings on mirror tiles for inexpensive Christmas color.

Bake cookies and then dip them in melted wax infused with essential oils. After they dry, hang them on your tree with ribbons. These will last for a long time and smell fantastic. You can even make garlands and wreaths with these!

Take a walk and collect some evergreens. Tie them with bows and accent with cinnamon sticks. I bought mine at the dollar store in large packages.

And my latest crafty idea? I took 2 wooden embroidery hoops-1 large, 1 small. Turn them to look like one ring sideways through another. Super glue them in place. You can paint them or wrap them in ribbon. Hang the small ball in the center of the large ball. Fill the small ball with mistletoe purchased at the dollar store. Glue pine greens and ribbons on the base of the large ball, curving up around the arms of the ball. Add a pretty bow at both top and bottom. Hang in the doorway-kissing ball!

Hope this helps all of you get into the Christmas Cleaning Mode!
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