Start Holiday Cleaning Now to Impress Guests 

Dec 6, 2023 / Laura Bolt

Holiday cleaning seems to start earlier every year, and while aisles of Christmas candy in September might have you saying bah humbug, retailers may be on to something. Between cooking, hosting, and holiday shopping, staying on top of keeping your home organized can be the difference between a happy holiday and Santa stress.

According to professional organizer Alexia Halliday of Nice and Neat Homes, “Incorporating organization into your life will make your daily routine and the busier times in life like the holiday season much easier.”

Before the baking begins and the guests arrive, check out our guide for ways to make sure your house is in top shape for the holidays.

Clear out the Clutter

The first step to getting your home ready for the holidays is to gather all those season-specific items that won’t be used for a while. Tuck an empty laundry basket under your arm and work your way clockwise through each room, scooping up summer sports equipment, spring decor items, etc. as you go.

This is a chore that kids can help out with, and you can even make a game out of it. Once you have everything in one spot, quickly sort and label items by season and tuck them into your storage space. Be sure to throw away or recycle broken or worn-out items to create even more space.

Because the holidays often come with additional items and decor you don’t keep on hand all year, Melanie Summers of I Speak Organized recommends “Establishing a designated ‘holiday storage’ area where you can store seasonal items. Use clear bins and label them clearly for easy access. This way, when the holiday season rolls around, you’ll have everything you need in one place, streamlining the decorating process.”

(Tip: A small storage unit — think 5’ x 5’ or 5’ x 10’ — can help you store out-of-season items while you’re not using them.)

Need more holiday storage ideas? We have some great tips on our blog.

Do a Deep Cleaning

Now that your corners and countertops are clear, it’s time to give your home a good cleaning, starting with your kitchen. It’s the heart of your home during the holidays, so consider using a professional cleaning service to get it gleaming.

If you decide to do it yourself, scrub the outside of small appliances like mixers, air fryers, and toaster ovens and wipe down the walls to remove any grease or dried-on food. This is also a great time to thoroughly clean the inside of your refrigerator and oven before filling them with delicious holiday treats.

As far as areas of focus, Summers recommends paying special attention to “high-traffic areas like the entryway, kitchen, and living room. Clear clutter from these spaces and implement systems that are easy to maintain.”

Set a Schedule

woman looking at watch and phone to set a timer

After you’ve done a deep cleaning, set a time to do frequent touch ups to keep your home tidy. Maybe a once-over on the kitchen for 15 minutes each morning, or a wipe down of the bathroom every other morning.

Summers also recommends “Creating a calendar with reminders for important holiday-related tasks, such as ordering gifts or sending out cards. This proactive approach ensures you stay on top of things and reduces last-minute stress.”

For example, items that you’ll want to put on the calendar include:

  • Sending out holiday cards
  • Sending holiday invites for parties or get-togethers
  • Travel booking
  • When you’ll need to have gifts purchased by (especially if you need to ship them out of state)
  • Touch ups for cleaning before guests arrive

Another thing to add to your schedule? Checking out our tips for your most organized holiday yet.

Gift Intentionally

Gift-giving is one of  the most fun parts of the holiday, for both givers and receivers. However, it can also lead to extra clutter that you’ll be tripping over through the season and into the year.

“The holidays are a great time to reset any spaces that might experience an influx of new gifts,” says Halliday. “For example, take the time to organize spaces such as your closet, bathroom, kids’ rooms, and bathrooms. This will give you a good feel for what items you and your family already own or what is missing so you are more intentional with the gifts you purchase.”

Once the holiday is over, Halliday recommends a “one in, one out” rule for new items that you receive in order to keep your home clutter-free all year.

Get Ready for Guests

When the holidays arrive, so will the house guests! Give them a warm welcome by making sure guest spaces are clean and inviting. In the bathroom, clean the toilet, tub, and sink, wipe down baseboards and mop the floor.

Don’t forget to toss the shower curtain and bath mats into the washing machine and to clean the inside and outside of cabinets and drawers. After all, “It’s likely that guests will look for something to freshen up or simply be curious and open up drawers and cabinets while they are in there,” says Halliday.

To guarantee overnight guests get a good night’s sleep, clean and dust under the bed and wipe down nightstands and dressers. Be sure to clean the base and shade of table and floor lamps. They can gather dust and make rooms look dark and dingy.

Summers mentions that indoors isn’t the only place that needs to be inviting for guests.

“Don’t forget about the outdoor areas either, especially if you’re planning to entertain outdoors,” she shared. “Clear pathways, clean patio furniture, and make sure any outdoor lighting is working properly. These small touches can make a big difference in creating a welcoming environment for your guests.”

Whether you’re hosting for a week or just having people over for a party, Halliday also notes that “If you like to stuff your front coat closet and shut the door, consider cleaning this out so it is nice and functional for your guests’ bags and coats as they walk into the home.”

Enjoy Decorating Time

With your home decluttered and deep cleaned, all that’s left to do is decorate! Whether you go all out or keep it simple, fill your home with guests or entertain a few close friends, preparing your home in advance will help you enjoy a stress-free holiday season.

Be the host with the most with our top tips for maximizing space for hosting.

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