The holidays are coming and family and friends are on the move—to your house that is. When work and daily commitments don’t leave a lot of extra time before the guests arrive, being prepared makes the difference between a chaotic disaster and a fulfilling visit.
"With a family who often gathers at my house over the holidays, I know all too well how stressful the holidays can oftentimes be," comments Pete Glavas, owner of Maid Brigade of the Capital Region. "To enjoy holiday time with your family and what matters most during this time of year, a little advance planning, organization, and cleaning can go a long way."
To help, here are five essential house cleaning and organizing tips to kick-start your holiday visitor prep.
1. Make a plan
Sounds simple right? But having a plan for meals, comfort items, and daily routines that will keep you from scrambling is key. Survey the situation and put together a schedule of when you need to have that special orange juice that Aunt Janice likes or times when you and other family members have appointments or commitments that aren’t guest friendly and you need to provide activity ideas for a few hours. Also don't forget to create a shopping list well in advance to save trips to the store.
2. Clean out clutter
Do you really need six coats in the hall closet? Leave the one you use daily and move the rest to your bedroom closet or another free space. Be sure to have extra hangers accessible so guest coats don’t end up on the dining room table. And, remove knickknacks and photo frames that will be in the way of holiday decorations when you haul them out of storage. As for that pile of magazines, if you haven’t read it in the last month put it in the recycling bin.
3. Provide storage and daily essentials for guests
Make sure there’s room in the guest room closet for guests to hang their clothes. Empty a dresser drawer or provide baskets for guests to unpack and store their clothes. Does your home office double as your guest room? Pick up a few file boxes to store important papers so they’re out of sight and won’t get lost in the shuffle. And, provide a place for guests to hang the towels they’ll use while visiting as well as a basket of the essential comfort basics like a new toothbrush, shampoo, toothpaste, fingernail clippers, etc.
4. Clean those high visibility but often overlooked spots
Nothing is worse than having soap scum in the shower, mold on the caulk around the tub, or a dark ring in the toilet. Take a few extra minutes to get those areas that guests will come in personal contact with as clean as possible. Microwave been cleaned lately? How about those switch plates or refrigerator door handles?
5. Get versatile cleaning supplies ready
Keep natural cleaning products and microfiber cleaning cloths in each of the most needy areas of the house. For a basic cleaning spray, mix equal parts vinegar and water together in a spray bottle. Or, mix freshly squeezed lemon juice, three parts water, and one part baking soda together in a spray bottle. To clean bathroom caulk, sprinkle or wipe baking soda on the caulk, fill a plastic spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar, and spray the vinegar all over the baking soda. This will create a fizzy reaction that will help remove dirt. Scrub the vinegar and baking soda into the caulking and rinse the mixture clean with hot water.