By Kathy Riggs
The holidays can take a toll on your home with baking, preparing larger meals, entertaining guests, wrapping gifts, having more of everyone’s “stuff” around and entertaining energetic kids home on holiday break.
To reduce cleaning stress during the holidays, consider a November “practice run” to clean bathrooms, rugs, carpets, kitchen cabinets, bedding, the refrigerator, etc. Then, you can determine how long it takes, if you have the supplies you need and if there are things you need to buy. This preparation will help stave off budget strain and perhaps introduce more efficient ways to manage tasks before your home becomes a holiday hub. Consider these suggestions for pre-holiday cleaning and organizing.
1. Sort through holiday decorations. Check now for items that have been loved by your family, but are no longer used and are taking up space. These could be donated to make someone else’s holiday bright. If you plan to downsize, reorganize, replace or re-gift, now is a great time to do it. Be aware that many thrift stores will not accept holiday decorations post-holiday. (They don’t want to store decorations until next year any more than you do!)
2. Prepare guest bedrooms. If you have a guest room or a space such as a hide-a-bed in the office, cleaning now may reveal things that need to be removed, stored, or replaced, including blankets and pillows. Changing sheets and cleaning rooms now means you won’t have to do it later when things have become hectic. If you want clean towels and bedding to smell extra fresh for guests, tumble them in the dryer for a few minutes with a dryer sheet.
3. Prepare the guest bathroom. If family members use it regularly, it likely gets cleaned often, but would you like to change out, launder, deep clean, retire or replace items? You may not need to replace towels or a shower curtain, but you may consider purchasing a holiday-scented room freshener, soap, or shampoo and conditioner.
4. Check serving dishes and tableware. Most people don’t regularly use their best dishes and silverware. However, to add to the holiday festivities, you may consider it. Wash them by hand or in the dishwasher (if they are dishwasher safe) to remove built-up dust. And don’t forget the goblets!
Cleaning and preparing your home now will give you peace of mind amid the flurry of the holidays. Being clean and organized pre-holidays will also make it easier to clean up when the season is over.
For more tips on holiday cleanup, stain removal, etc., visit the American Cleaning Institute website.