5 Decluttering Tips To Get Your Home Ready For Holiday Visitors

The holidays. It’s a time for celebration, a time for good food and good cheer, and – for many homeowners – a time for out-of-town visitors. And while gathering your loved ones from all corners of the globe to celebrate with you and your family undoubtedly brings holiday joy, it can also bring more than a bit of holiday anxiety.

If you’re like most homeowners, you’ve probably accumulated quite a bit of clutter since spring cleaning. And with piles of toys and clothes and all manners of STUFF spilling out of every drawer, closet, and cabinet, the thought of hosting guests can quickly have you singing the holiday blues.

But don’t worry! It’s not too late to get your home in order and your clutter under control. Here are 5 decluttering tips to get your home ready for holiday visitors:

1. Prep Your Kitchen For Maximum Efficiency.

A large part of any holiday gathering is the meal, and if you’re the one playing host, you’ll likely be the one responsible for getting that meal on the table. The last thing you want is to spend your entire celebration stuck in the kitchen, rifling through cabinets looking for that casserole dish you haven’t seen since Mother’s Day. Organizing, getting rid of unnecessary utensils and tools, and prepping everything you’ll need to get your meals cooked, plated, and served is key. The right preparation saves you a ton of time, energy, and frustration, leaving you free to spend the holiday enjoying the company of your family and friends.

Go through your kitchen and remove any tools you won’t be using for your holiday meals, like your frozen yogurt machine or Halloween cake molds. Organize your pots and pans by size and function so you can easily locate them as you’re preparing your dishes. Clear everything off the counters so you have plenty of space to work on and aren’t wasting time trying to find room as you go along.

Not only will prepping your kitchen help you prepare and serve your meal more efficiently, but it’ll also save you time on your cleanup… which means more time to enjoy those delicious holiday desserts.

2. Get Your Kids Into The Spirit of Giving.

If you have children, clutter is par for the course. Between clothes, shoes, sporting gear, and toys, it seems like their clutter multiplies overnight. Factor in that your children are just going to be getting MORE clutter from your holiday guests in the form of presents, and things can quickly get out of hand.

But the holidays are all about giving, and they actually present the perfect opportunity to help your kids downsize, declutter, and give back to people in need.

Find a local charity that’s accepting holiday donations, and talk to your children about the importance of sharing the holiday spirit with other children who are less fortunate than they are. Help them work through their clutter and identify toys and clothes they’ve outgrown to give to charity.

Not only does this help to declutter your home, it also helps teach your children an important lesson about the spirit of giving, and your children will feel good knowing that their things are going to give someone else a wonderful holiday season.

3. Keep The Holiday Decorations To A Minimum.

While holiday decorations can add a nice ambiance to your home for the holidays, overdoing it can cause more clutter and overwhelm your visitors. Take stock of your holiday decorations, and be honest with yourself about which will add to the space and get your guests in the holiday spirit and which will just take up space and make them feel like they’re in the holiday aisle of the local Target.

To keep holiday decoration clutter to a minimum, think of them as an accent, NOT a focal point. Instead of displaying your entire collection of snowglobes, choose 1 or 2 that have a sentimental meaning and display them on your mantle. Hang up one Thanksgiving art project that your child made at school, not every project from the past 5 years.

Taking the less is more approach to holiday decorations will make your home feel more spacious and less cluttered while still creating that special holiday experience for your guests.

4. Rearrange Your Furniture.

While your current furniture setup likely works perfectly for you and your family, it might not be the most functional as you add more people for the holidays. Too much furniture + too many people = serious clutter.

Take stock of your current furniture arrangements and see how you can maximize each space. Rearrange the couches in your living room to form a circle around the middle of the room so everyone can face each other. Take any unnecessary tables or shelves that are taking up space without adding functionality and move them to the garage. Move, remove, and rearrange your furniture to create a space that feels more open and inviting.

5. Make Room For Your Guests’ Clutter.

No matter how well you declutter before the arrival of your holiday guests, the truth of the matter is they’ll be bringing clutter with them. And if you don’t have a place for them to put their clothes, suitcases, and other things, your home will feel just as cluttered as it felt pre-holidays within 10 minutes of their arrival.

Clear out space in a closet or garage for each guest to store their suitcase. If possible, give them space in a closet or drawer to put away their clothes. Make room in the bathroom for things like extra curling irons and electric shavers.

By being prepared and having a plan of action for your guests’ clutter, you can stop it from re-cluttering your space.

With these 5 decluttering tips, your home will feel organized, spacious, and ready to host your out-of-town holiday visitors.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering a Mother-in-Law Suite

There’s many reasons why you might be considering having your mother-in-law (or your mom) move in with you. Perhaps it’s for health reasons. Maybe it’s due to finances. Or, it could just be that you all want to be closer to each other.

There’s no single definition of what comprises a mother-in-law suite. But, in the grandest sense, they are often considered to include a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen (or kitchenette), a living room, as well as an entrance that’s separate from the main house. Sometimes they may be free-standing structures, known as “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs). In other instances, homeowners get creative and simply repurpose a room in the house, basements, attics, or even garages to accommodate their loved ones.

For a variety of reasons, multigenerational living continues to increase in popularity. In fact, in 2016, a record 64 million people, or 20 percent of the U.S. population, lived with multiple generations under one roof, according to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of census data.

Some families choose to buy a home with an in-law suite, or add one to their existing property because it makes financial sense. In other situations in which both parents work full-time outside the home, having built-in babysitters who are ready and willing to lend a hand is a welcome relief.

That said, blending generations isn’t always easy, especially after years of both parties living independently.

Whether you’re overjoyed or not-so-secretly seething at the thought of your mother or mother-in-law becoming a permanent fixture on your property, there are certain things you’ll want to consider.

Here are four questions to consider before moving in with your in-law.

1. Can everyone coexist peacefully?

It’s one thing to visit with your in-laws during the holidays, it’s another to see them 24/7. No one wants to watch the phrase “Familiarity breeds contempt” come to life in their own home. Still, you don’t need to be a family therapist to know that too much togetherness can quickly lead to trouble.

Chances are you’re accustomed to having your privacy, as is your mother-in-law. A separate entrance, kitchenette, and soundproofing can go a long way toward establishing boundaries that will ensure your relationship survives your new roommate status. But will these be enough to allow for harmonious living?

It’s not a bad idea to give the scenario a test run by having Mom spend a week or two and see how it goes before you commit to adding on to your home.

2. Will your city or town allow it?

If you’re considering constructing an addition for your in-laws, check with local and city zoning regulations as many have strict building codes. You may or may not be able to extend your house, or enough to accommodate your plans.

Some homeowners contemplate placing an entire new structure—an accessory dwelling unit (ADU)—on their property. Again, you’ll have to check on zoning laws before just plunking down a free-standing structure on your property.

But even something quite simple as renovating the garage, a basement, or section of the house with a separate kitchen area may not be allowed.

Every municipality will have different regulations. Check with yours before making any concrete plans to move mom in.

3. How much will it cost?

Whether you add on to your home or repurpose an area within it, most likely it won’t be cheap. According to, an in-law suite will set you back anywhere from $40,000 to $125,000, while ADUs (aka Granny Pods) are estimated at $85,000 to $125,000.

You may also want to separate the utilities between the unit and the primary residence if possible, to divide expenses. This can also save money if your relative goes out of town for lengthy periods, and you want to shut down the utilities temporarily.

Compare these expenses to the cost of an assisted living facility or nursing home if your motivation is to ensure the safety of older family members.

You should also weigh your options to buy a house that is already set up with a mother-in-law suite. It may actually cost you less (and easier), than doing construction on your existing house.

4. How will it impact your resale?

Because few homes include in-law suites, having one can attract multigenerational families. So when it comes time to sell your home, you may find that you have a lot of interest. Or at least specific interest from buyers who this would appeal to.

However, the layout and flow of the house may not appeal as much (or at all) to buyers who have no need for this kind of set-up. So, it may also reduce the pool of buyers your house will appeal to.

Not that resale value, or the ability to resell it, should dictate whether or not you create this sort of space in your home. You need to make the decision based upon your own situation, wants, and needs. Life needs to be lived, and enjoyed. If resale value is higher in the future, great. If not, perhaps you can renovate it back to the original layout if it makes good financial sense to do so.

While these are certainly not every question you may want to consider before making a decision, it’s a good start. And, hopefully, taking the time to ask and answer questions before moving Mom in, will save you time, money, frustration and, most importantly, your relationships.

1530 Key Blvd #409, Arlington, VA

One bedroom, one bath balcony unit in sought after Atrium! Fantastic location less than 2 miles from Georgetown and one block from Rosslyn Metro Station.

Bedroom features large windows and three closets. 

Amenities include outdoor pool, tennis courts, gym, concierge desk, and bbq area. Dry cleaners  located in building. Condo dues include water and internet. 

Offered for $387,000 **Under Contract**

Presented by Meghan Pachas, Principal Broker

MAP Property Solutions LLC 


Moving With Your Pets? Avoid These Mistakes

For most pet owners, pets are a part of the family. And so, of course, wherever the family moves? The pet moves, too. And while moving might be a stressful process for you, it’s arguably even more stressful for your pet.

Pets respond well to structure and routine—and so the packing, moving, and settling into a new place can make them feel anxious and stressed out. But there are ways to make the process easier on your pet. A recent article on outlined the five mistakes to avoid when moving with your pets, including:

  • Having your pet around on moving day. Moving day can be chaotic, which can stress your pet out. Make sure to board them or have them stay with a friend or family member while you’re managing the big move.
  • Washing your pet’s things before the move. Familiar smells are comforting to pets—so while you might be tempted to wash their bed, toys, or blankets before you move, resist the urge. The familiar smells will help them acclimate to their new home and feel more comfortable.
  • Not supervising them in their new home. When you move into a new home, you’re not totally familiar with the layout—and there could be areas where your pet could escape. As you’re settling in, make sure you keep an extra close eye on your pet.
  • Changing their setup or routine. Again, most pets are creatures of habit—so when you’re moving to a new place, you don’t want to change their setup or routine too much. If they’re used to having their bed in your room, put it in the same place in your new house. If you typically walk your pet at certain times of the day, continue with that schedule. Keeping the same setup and routine will make it easier for your pet to transition to your new home.

Bottom line? Moving can be a stressful experience for everyone—including your pets. So make sure you make the moving process as easy as possible for your four-legged family member.

137 Lambden Ave, Winchester, VA

Fantastic home in Winchester City limits. Completely remodeled, hardwood floors throughout main level. Updated kitchen with new appliances and granite counters. Large living room downstairs with built in storage and possible fourth bedroom. Large fenced yard with spacious deck. Fireplace is decorative only, no pets


Offered for $1550/month

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