The holiday season has arrived and along with festive feelings come the inevitable stress of preparing your home for entertaining family and friends. Don’t panic! Break down the tasks into manageable segments to prevent feeling overwhelmed and enlist help whenever you can.
When you’re planning on hosting family and/or friends for an extended stay at your home, extra tidying is a good idea. You want your home to feel like a comfortable, cozy resort.
- Mattress and bedding – Vacuum mattresses in your guest rooms to reduce allergens and dust before putting on fresh linens.
- Flooring – Thoroughly vacuum the carpet in the guest bedrooms and steam clean if you have time. For hard floors, dry dust, mop and consider placing some area rugs to cushion and warm bare feet. Dust all surfaces and remove cobwebs.
- Illumination – Clean any dust or cobwebs out of lights in the guest bedrooms and provide night lights in the guest bath and along the hallway.
- Guest bath – Clean off the countertops, give your guests their own drawer or cabinet for storage, and stock up on necessary toiletries in the guest bath. For a spa-like feel, provide scented bubble bath, candles, and soft washcloths.
- Little details – Provide available outlets to charge cell phones and other devices, put out fresh towels, designate a place to stow luggage and clothing, replace alarm clock batteries and clean windows and window coverings so your guests feel like they’re in a hotel suite. As an extra holiday touch, put out a mini lighted tree to add a festive feel.
The kitchen has become the social heart of the home, which means it’s also well-used. Clean the kitchen in stages and start with what you least enjoy first, such as cleaning the oven, before moving on to other areas.
- Oven racks – These are easiest to clean when placed in a bathtub full of hot water and laundry detergent. Alternate between soaking them and scrubbing them over a few hours.
- Stovetop – Cleaning a flat, ceramic stovetop requires a different procedure than cleaning a stainless gas burner stovetop. Consult the owner’s manual for proper cleaning instructions.
- China – China is more delicate than daily dishes. Place a towel or silicone mat in the bottom of your sink to prevent chips or cracks when you wash the dishes. Wash one dish at a time, use warm but not scalding hot water, and avoid stacking them, which can cause damage. A mixture of 1 part peroxide to 3 parts water is ideal for cleaning stains off of white China and regular toothpaste or cream of tartar rubbed on with a soft cloth aids in removing silverware marks.
- Silverware – Place all silverware in a pot lined with aluminum foil and pour a mixture of 1/4 cup baking soda and 2 teaspoons salt over the silver. Let stand for five minutes, rinse, and use silver polish for any touch ups.
Hosting dinners and parties is a great way to spend time with family and friends. Preparing for the unexpected beforehand makes it easier to have fun and relax during the event.
- Coasters – Prevent water rings on surfaces by providing ample coasters in all rooms so your guests always have something to set drinks on.
- Cleaning caddy – Accidents happen so be ready for them with a well-stocked cleaning caddy that contains gloves, hydrogen peroxide, cornstarch, white vinegar, club soda and fresh white cloths for blotting up spilled drinks. Also, include floor cleaners, window cleaners, a lint roller, and dust cloths.
Conquering your house cleaning tasks in advance enables you to enjoy the warmth of the holidays.
In addition to doing what you can to ensure you’re prepared, you can also have aspects of your home professionally cleaned either prior to, or immediately following your large gatherings. For example, it would be nice to welcome your guests to your home with pristine carpets and rugs, and newly-cleaned draperies and upholstered furniture. Or maybe your large gathering more closely resembled a party at the Tasmanian Devil’s home and now you need to hire a company to remove the macaroni and cheese and kugel from your fabric upholstered walls. It’s great to be prepared to deal with stains on your own, but for larger jobs, a professional is the way to go.