These life hacks will help you survive the holidays

I just used an eyebrow brush to brush my teeth.

Nope, not an accident. It was pretty genius life hack, if you ask me, since I forgot my toothbrush on a work trip, had only three hours to get any sleep (so no time to hunt a real one down). And it worked quite a bit better than the free plastic one the hotel offered up.

See — we harried, hurried, busy working parents are pretty darn resourceful when we need to be.

Cue the holidays. Every year I love to think that I’ll have enough time to organize, plan, cook, clean, decorate, shop, mail out holiday cards, go to parties, and stay sane through it all. Ha! Truth?  Real life is busier and messier than ever.

So rather than stretch myself too thin again this year, I turned to some of the world’s savviest life-hackers — who taught me how to outsource all kinds of holidays hassles — including the stress. You can thank me later.

Clear the clutter

I have people coming for the holidays, and my house is a hot mess. It’s clean, but cluttered, with summer stuff crammed in closets, winter stuff piling up in the guest bedroom, and everyday life happening around it all. A new service called Clutter fixed it all in less than an hour.

Just call the service up up and arrange a time for them to show up. They come to you, photograph all your stuff, pack it up, catalog it, and store it in a secure space nearby. Want it back? Just go online and schedule a delivery. They meet you at your doorstep with your stuff. Right now, you have to live in one of the cities they service. But they are growing faster than your collection of Christmas collectibles (I hope).

Pricing: In parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, for instance, Clutter charges $84 a month for a 5′ by 5′ size storage space, $117 a month for a walk-in closet sized space.

Don’t buy it, rent it

A similar start-up called Omni not only lets you store your stuff but rent it out to other people too. It’s a strange take on the whole sharing economy, but it’s working well for people like San Francisco public relations associate Chelsea Murillo.

“I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year,” she wrote in an email.  “Within the first hour of starting to plan I realized that getting all of the stuff I need to cook and finding enough chairs and tables was waaaay out of my price range.” So she went to Omni and rented “a table, chairs, turkey roasting rack, chocolate fountain, and a food processor — for a grand total of $50.” That includes delivery and pick-up. Sweet.

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