Entertaining Essentials: Less is More

If where you live, as is the case with most homes and condos in Toronto, your storage space is maxed out, the holiday season presents an excellent time to assess your current possessions, especially what you have on hand for entertaining and hosting dinners.

 

dinner party

More Is Not Merrier

Serving the needs of newlyweds and new homeowners, stores with wedding and gift registries typically recommend that people buy at least 8, and more recently the trend is 12 of practically everything. But let’s be realistic! For starters, how many chairs does your dining room table accommodate? That’s likely the most people you’ll ever have over for dinner at any given time. And how often do you actually entertain and host dinner parties? Once a year? Then chances are you may only need a 6-piece place setting, if that.

 

Rent It.

Not enough glassware, flatware or dishes? Rather than investing a lot on money on items you’ll rarely ever use – or have the storage space for – rent. More than ever, rental companies are extending their services beyond commercial clients hosting special events to individuals for residential dinners and private parties. The bonus? You get to skip the clean up. No dreaded “morning after” spent washing glasses that don’t even fit in your dishwasher and stacks of dirty dishes: just put everything back in the shipping containers for pre-scheduled pickup.

 

setting table for dinner party

Borrow It.

In today’s shared economy, it pays to borrow rather than shop. This holds true for items you may have spotted in a friend’s home or at a relative’s dinner party. Just be sure to ask to borrow with plenty of advance notice, giving the person time to get it out of storage. And don’t put the person on the spot, be prepared if they decline your request. Sometimes an item you want to borrow may turn out to be a treasured heirloom they don’t want to risk getting damage.

 

Be prepared to replace anything should the item(s) you borrow get chipped, scratched, broken, etc. The same with offering to clean any cloth napkins or table linens. Check before you toss anything in the laundry machine or take things to be professionally cleaned. The person may prefer to look after it themself, have it taken to a specific dry cleaner, etc. Regardless, always offer to pay the cost of cleaning.

thank you note

Also, take the time to write a short ‘Thank You’ note acknowledging their generosity in helping you out by lending their goods. A handwritten note is ideal, but an email is better than no note at all.

 

And, of course, don’t borrow something for say, a holiday open house, from a neighbour, but not invite them. When appropriate, invite any person you’ve borrowed something from to whatever you are hosting.

 

Use It.

As you start to get out your silverware, crystal, etc. from storage, take a moment to consider why you are saving all of it for special occasions? Saving it to pass down to your children should never be the reason. They likely have very different taste than you do and in the end, won’t even want what you’re planning to pass on to them. After all, did you want your mother’s dowdy China or fussy crystal?

 

Get the lead out! I recently had a pregnant client whose mother was going to be giving her all of her crystal stemware and matching decanters, dessert dishes and more. I was helping her tidy up her basement to make room for all the baby stuff, while also making space for all the crystal she was going to be receiving. In the midst of talking about baby names, it dawned on her that her mom’s crystal is from the early 1960s. After a quick Google search, it turns out it’s lead crystal, which presents a number possible health risks. Needless to say, she’ll only be taking a few pieces for mementoes, but not the boxes and boxes of lead crystal she will never use. Instead we’ll be helping her mom sell it on Kijiji or to a prop stylist. Who knows! Maybe they’ll end up on a movie set...

 

Eliminate It.

When you comes time to getting out the last out your holiday decorations and setting the table for Christmas dinner, take a look at what you don’t put out for use. If you haven’t used it in the last two or three years, chances are you never will. Clear the clutter and get rid of it. Sell it online, donate it, give it to someone else. Just get it out of your house before 2019.

dinner party preparations

And speaking of the new year, start things off with a fresh slate! Or more specifically, a clean, tidy and decluttered house. If you have time off between Christmas and the New Year, spend at least some of it getting rid of old clothes, magazines, newspapers and other items that you don’t need taking up space in your house.

 

If you have older children home for the holidays, whether in grade school or university, encourage them to get rid of some of their own things. Chances are there’s everything from winter coats and ice skates that they’ve outgrown to outdated toys and electronic games taking up space.

 

send junk home with your adult children

Need help? Don’t despair. Make a New Year’s Resolution to finally banish all that’s holding you back from happiness. Peace on earth can start right in your own home. Call or email Clutterfly at (416-892-5919, info@clutterflyinc.com). Schedule a consult to meet about how 2019 can be cleared of clutter, more organized and less stressful.

 

Wishing you a Christmas filled with more joy and less clutter.

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