It’s the time of year that we love and stress over in equal measure: The Holidays. When our families joyfully descend upon us we all want to put our best foot (and food) forward! Here’s a game time strategy for getting your house ship shape in no time.
A Month Out: Declutter and Downsize
We collect a lot of stuff over the year that we probably do not need to keep. Decluttering is an easy way to make things look a lot cleaner without a lot of elbow grease.
- Throw out old mail and shred sensitive documents
- Get the kids involved! Figure out which toys they currently play with and donate the gently used, but discarded ones to your favorite charitable organization. Organize the toys into colorful storage bins (we found some great ones at our local dollar store!)
- Pack up your summer gear. It’s amazing how much room you can save when you put away your summer clothes, flip flops and sporting gear.
A Week Out: Guest Bedrooms, Hallways and Stairs
- Save yourself some time and energy when your guests arrive by prepping your guest bedroom with clean sheets and towels
- Vacuum and/or sweep the floors of the guest room, basement, hallways and any other low-traffic area that your guests will occupy
- Move some of the stuff in your guest room closets into the space you now have available in your own closet! When your guests store their bags in a closet, it keeps the rooms looking spic and span and provides floor space for sleeping bags (and presents!)
Three Days Out: Bathrooms
- It’s the least fun, but the most important cleaning task – cleaning your toilets. You can make it easy but adding adding a couple denture cleaning tablets into the tank and bowl. The fizzing action helps remove stains and clean the bowl.
- Vacuum and mop the floors. A clean bathroom floor goes a long way, trust us. Use a broom or handheld vacuum to clean baseboards and grout of any dust and hair.
- Disinfect the sinks, counters and tub.
- Clean those mirrors. A splatter and handprint free mirror makes a big difference.
Two Days Out: Common Areas
- Dust all surfaces, ceiling fans and even the back of your couch. It’s weird but there IS dust back there that changes the color and feel of the fabric.
- Sweep your hardwood floors and vacuum your carpets. Use your crevice tool to get those hard to reach crumbs and dog hair from the baseboards and the space between your couches and floor.
- Put down coasters on all your tabletops. Seems like a small thing, but you don’t want to deal with those hot toddy and cocoa rings on your nice furniture.
One Day Out: The Kitchen
- Wipe down and disinfect stove, fridge, microwave, coffeepot, counters, islands and sink. That’s a lot of stuff but it won’t take as long as you think.
- Remove burner covers and soak in hot, soapy water. Scrub with a rough sponge or an abrasive cleaner. For a green clean, make a paste with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and scrub, scrub, scrub.
- Wipe down the insides of the fridge and throw away old stuff – take out containers, old condiments and expired dairy products. You’ll need the space for all the delicious leftovers.
- Simmer a cup of water, the rind of half an orange and a cinnamon stick in a small pot. Your whole house will smell of the holidays in a matter of minutes.
- Make sure all the beds are made and laundry is put away. You’ll feel more relaxed if things look neat and tidy.
- Turn on some holiday tunes. (Okay, this one isn’t about cleaning, but c’mon, live a little!)