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SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

“It’ll be here before you know it:  holiday season….probably time you started getting prepared…it will probably be easier than expected to get it into good shape.  Here are a few things you can do this weekend to get started.

MAKE OVER YOUR GUEST ROOM.  In many guest rooms, whatever furniture exists is often leftovers from other spaces, but that doesn’t mean it can’t look great.  If you’re not looking to add to or replace anything, get out that paint can.  How does the bed look?  Tired or drab?  You don’t have to spend a lot to get a great set of sheets, and top it with a graphic patterned comforter and a few pillows – voila!  On the night stand, a favorite book and a scented candle will make your guests feel welcome.  (A stack of pretty, fresh towels at the bottom of the bed makes a nice presentation.)

POLISH YOUR SILVER.  Several simple tricks (http://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/how-to-clean-silver) will have it look better in no time.  Our favorite:  ketchup!

MAKE IT  INVITING.  Discount home decor stores can be a goldmine for little, inexpensive items that can make your guests feel like they’re staying at a fancy hotel.  Stock up on guest soaps, hand towels, lotions, and (!) perhaps set out a new robe and slippers.

THINK ABOUT FUNCTION. While you’re making things look pretty, make sure you consider function.  Guests will need a place to put their things, so this is a perfect time to put away summer clothes or pack up a few boxes of giveaway stuff to create space in a closet.  Now…hit your coat closet.  Go through your closet or hooks by your door, and store away any extra jackets you may have hanging there.

CONSIDER THE LIGHTING.  While you are out shopping, hit the lighting aisle.  Even though you can navigate your home blindfolded, your guests can’t.  Make sure outside lights are working so they don’t trip on the way to your door.  Put motion-activated night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to ensure safe passage at night.

DO A SMELL CHECK.  Everyday scents, especially if you have pets, can get past us in our own home.  There is actually a science behind this…we adapt to smells very quickly.  Within the space of just a few breaths, we can lose our ability to detect new odors, It’s called olfactory adaption, and it’s the same reason you can’t smell your own breath, body odor or even perfume after a few minutes.

Outside of the typical tactics of cleaning and deodorizing, there are a few tricks that can help freshen up your home.  Fill two to four shallow bowls with fresh coffee grounds, depending on the size of the room.  Shut the windows and the door to the room, then leave the bowls overnight to let the coffee grounds absorb the odor.  Throw the grounds away the next day.  Repeat one more night with fresh coffee grounds for particularly stubborn odors.  Another quick fix:  Put about a cup of white vinegar in a sauce pan on your stove top and bring it to a simmer…it will release more odor-fighting power into the air, and if you let it go for awhile, it will deodorize your whole house.  It might smell a little vinegary at first, but after a while it won’t smell like anything at all….”

(Our own tip, which is especially easy over the holidays….bake cookies, breads etc. each day to keep the lovely aromas of holiday baking in your home.  And if you are in the process of selling your home, bake a loaf of bread every morning.  It’ll create a pleasant “greeting” when prospective buyers first enter your home!)

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri/realtytimes.com   IMAGE:  huffingtonpost.com

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