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Avoid a Post-Holiday Headache

The Guiness World Record for the “Most Holiday Lights” belongs to David Richards in Canberra, Australia. His display has almost 1.2 million LED lights strung on 75 miles of cable. The most lights on a residential property is 601,736 lights held by Tim and Grace Gay in LaGrangeville, New York. Their display spans two acres and takes two months for their entire family to rebuild each year. Most of us don’t come close to having this amount of lights, but many of us do amass our own large holiday collections. It can be a lot of work to drag out all the boxes and hang the lights and decorations. Then, when the festivities are over, taking them down and putting them away can cause your own post-holiday headache.

Famously, the same strings of lights you carefully put away one year become a tangled mess when you take them out the next year. You spend hours trying to unsnarl them and replace burned out bulbs. Along with the lights are the other decorations and ornaments. You discover that some of them have broken and some are tattered and worn, so you buy new ones, but you can’t part with the old ones because of their sentimental value. Later, you decide you want a certain color or theme for your decorations and you buy even more. The collection grows and so does the space needed to store it.

Families with children know all about this accumulation of adornment for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. It starts small with a special ornament to commemorate the birth of the first child. It balloons from there – holiday art projects from school, Homemade Cards, Wreaths, Candles, Menorahs, Kinaras, Stockings, Nutcrackers, Nativity Scenes, Trains that wind around the tree and Miniature Villages in fake snow. There may be an artificial tree or two or three. And, let’s not forget the outdoor lighted reindeers, the inflatable ten-foot snowman, and the oversized candy canes that line the driveway. Their boxes are tucked away in attics, garages, closets and storage units. They start spilling into other things. Soon it spirals out of control.

If you have boxes of decorations and old lights that stack to the ceiling and take up a whole room or most of your garage, you probably have too many. Are there boxes that you haven’t opened in years? You can start with examining whether or not you need to keep those. Are there broken or damaged lights or frayed wires or cords? Do you want to replace your old lights with more efficient LEDs? Don’t throw them away. Recycle them. Did you know you can send your old lights for recycling to: They will gladly take your old lights and send you a 15% off coupon for LED lights from their website.

If the thought of it all is just too much to cope with and you don’t know where to start in taming the mess, you can always call The Move Makers for help. Our team of professional organizers will gladly assist you in getting things under control. Take some of the stress out of your holiday and avoid the post-holiday clean-up headache by calling The Move Makers.

Brighten Those Dark Winter Months

We are headed into those dreaded dark winter months. Our mood grows gloomy and we feel tired and lack energy. Lighting is often overlooked in the realm of accessibility even though it is critically important. Without light, there is no perception, no color, no style to guide you. A lack of lighting can lead to falls and it also adversely impacts our mood. People most profoundly affected may develop Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or other health problems associated with insufficient natural light.

The older you get, the more important light becomes. The lens of the eye yellows over time and eye muscles weaken. It takes older eyes longer to focus. Research has shown that many older adults require two to three times the amount of light as do adults age 20 ( AARP studies show that the average person age 60 or older spends 80% to 90% of their day indoors. People spending the majority of their time inside under artificial lighting may suffer from fatigue, susceptibility to disease and other physical problems (Hughes and Neer).

Natural light from windows and skylights is preferred in homes, but in the winter, this isn’t enough. Homes need additional lighting from fluorescent, incandescent or LED lights. The frequency range of lighting is very important. Incandescent or full-spectrum bulbs are preferred because of their wider, more natural spectrum of colors. Older fluorescent bulbs produce more of their colors in the frequency range for blues and greens which tend to make colors seem washed out or dull. More recently, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) have delivered full-spectrum light and replaced incandescents. Even more modern LEDs (light emitting-diodes) emit fuller-spectrum light for a fraction of the cost of incandescent, fluorescent or CFL lighting.

To prevent falls, make sure there is non-glaring light in rooms that people occupy during darker hours. Too often, lighting is chosen for style and not function. Instead, select light fixtures whose bulbs can be changed easily and turned on and off with a rocker switch, not an old-style toggle. Lights can be programmed to come on at a specific time or turned on by a smartphone. Ceiling mounted overhead fixtures are best for directing more light downward over large parts of a room. Task lighting or accent lighting can help in darker zones. Tasks lights are useful in kitchens, hobby rooms and offices where close work is done. Nightlights that are motion-sensitive can create a lighted path to the bathroom at night.

During the holidays, many people have special lights on trees and elsewhere. Make sure they are safe. Don’t overload outlets, use power strips instead of extension cords and replace damaged or frayed strings of lights. Also, be careful to place power cords where people can’t trip over them.

One relatively easy way to improve your mood and avoid trips and falls is to improve the lighting in your home. You can increase the wattage of your bulbs or add more lights. Simply hanging a mirror can add depth, light and visual spaciousness. If you need help in determining the proper lighting for your home, contact The Move Makers. Their Certified Aging in Place Specialist can measure the light in your home and give recommendations for improvement to brighten your gloomy winter months.