Holiday Cleaning – Preparing Now For The Holidays

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Holiday Cleaning - Preparing Now For The Holidays

Holiday Cleaning – Preparing Now For The Holidays

Halloween is over, which means it is now officially time to kick it into gear to get ready for the holidays and to get your house ready for company. It really helps to get your house in order now because if unexpected company comes you won’t get caught off guard. Then you can concentrate on baking, finding gifts and organizing activities without having to worry about deep cleaning your house again until after the New Year.

Hopefully by now you have been inspired to start getting things done a little at a time so this won’t be too big of a job. Here are a few things to work on:

  • Get your closets in order. Put summer clothes away and take winter clothes out, tossing as you go.
  • Don’t forget your linen closets. Get your guest towels, sheets and extra blankets aired out and put the linens in a handy spot so they are easy to grab when you need them.
  • If you have a guest room, get it cleaned and prepare everything for your first guests.
  • Get your holiday linens prepared. Wash them if necessary and make sure they’re ready to go.
  • Hopefully you have cleaned your pantry. Now you need to make sure it is stocked with everything you need for your holiday recipes, for some quick and easy to fix snacks and dinners for unexpected company or food to take to social events.
  • Make sure your fridge and freezer are in order. The refrigerator and freezer are going to work overtime for you over the next couple of months so make sure they’re cleaned, organized and prepared.
  • I don’t worry about cleaning my oven at this time. I use it so much for baking that it’s silly for me to clean it right before having a baking fest. I usually wait and give it a good cleaning after the holidays. If it’s really bad or you have company coming and it looks awful you may want to go ahead and clean it anyway.
  • This week and next week is the time to do any deep cleaning that you don’t want to have to mess with again until after the holidays– things like washing your windows, deep cleaning rugs and carpets and dusting mirrors, picture frames, lampshades or ceiling fans.


If you have been keeping up with your cleaning you may not have to do any of these. Basically just clean your house enough for company. Then you’ll know it’s done and you will be prepared for the unexpected.

Part of the stress that comes at the holidays is the result of not being prepared, especially for the unexpected things that always seem to come up. Think of it like being prepared for a disaster. If I have a wood burning stove, firewood, lots of candles, blankets and food prepared, I am not too stressed if we lose power from an ice storm. If I wasn’t at all prepared, I would be in a total panic if an ice storm hit.

If you are prepared, you have something you can whip up for company in just a few minutes or if the kids need treats for school, you have dough frozen and ready to be baked in the freezer. I’m not saying that I have everything prepared like Martha Stewart but I do try to have everything together enough so that I’m reasonably prepared for the unexpected. My idea of the perfect woman is a cross between Martha Stewart and Erma Bombeck! Some days I am more one than the other and on other days I totally miss the mark, but that’s okay, because I tried. :-)


For more easy cleaning and organizing tips, check out our Keeping It Clean e-books.



  1. Susan says

    You are so right about getting ready for the holidays
    now is the time to start so you will not stress yourself out. A couple of years ago I found some really cute baskets at our local goodwill store they were in the shape of a reindeer, a snowman,a easter bunny,a flag, turkey etc they were only 25 cents a piece! So I went to the dollar store and bought soap, lotion toothpaste ,toothbrush etc to put in the baskets and around a hoilday or when I am having company I get out a basket and put it in the bathroom or guest room. I have had my guests tell me that this is so nice because sometimes when packing things they forget the basic toiletries and this makes them feel right at home! Keep up the good advise you give us on your web site! God bless you all!

  2. LC says

    I have been cleaning ALL weekend! It is hard with my working 40 plus hours a week PLUS having fibro, arthritis, and Lupus! I am planning a SIMPLE holiday and will be doing MINIMAL in terms of cooking, baking ect. I plan on making my turkey dinner simple but very nice. I will nix the rolls and the extra veggies and serve salad, mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing along with a pumpkin pie and apple pie. I will also serve a pumpkin bread for breakfast.

    For Christmas we are traveling 4 hours away by car. I decided to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day up in the mountains so we will not be decorating our home this year. We also decided on Mexican Food for Christmas Eve so we will pack our own and a trip to the Lowell Observatory to view the starts and planets. Christmas Day will be spent sledding since we have no snow in Phoenix. We plan on a picnic in the car will LOTS of hot potato soup and hot cocoa!! We also are going to Phoenix Zoo Lights on our return home from our mini-vacation. We wanted to do something very different this year instead of the same old same old.

  3. says

    Well my fridge is in order.
    Just got a brand new one. First brand new fridge I have ever owned.
    Now I have the shelves where I need them and the fridge and freezer are side by side style.
    No bending and stretching and catching things as they fall out when I reach for something under the pile in the freezer.
    Took everything from the old one minus the science experiments and there is so much room in the new one. I can actually get groceries and put them away today and be able to find them tomorrow.
    Now if I could find a new living room, guest room and laundry room the house would be ready for company.
    With the new pills and bronchitis for the past 3 weeks I really just do not care about much of anything.
    Think I will just give up for a while. It is also snowing kind of hard today so that just adds to the blues.
    Oh well off to tackle the guest room. 6 loads of laundry to put away. It has been there for about 3 weeks so I guess the domoviye (house elf) isn’t coming.

    • says

      Either one of those things (new meds and bronchitis) can wipe a person out Grandma and leave you down in the dumps. I’d say if you get that laundry done you are doing good.

  4. G Arzaga says

    Thanks for your article!!! I like Martha, but she can be overwhelming. Thank God for Erma B. We moms, wives, professionals, can feel pressure to strive for the perfect Mrs. Cleaver or the mom from Father Knows Best. I’m more like Roseanne or Frankie from The Middle. All I want on my headstone, “She tried reallly hard, and did her best.” Thanks again!!!

  5. Grandma says

    wow just read my post from last year.
    well can’t change much of it so 2011 is a repeat.
    no children coming. house is a disaster and we just got a new kitten to add to the chaos.
    I am interviewing and being interviewed by a new cleaning lady tomorrow. $20 an hour and I am so willing to pay it right now.
    Spent yesterday in bed because my cyatica joint is so far out of wack. good thing I hadn’t drunk much coffee or that would have added to the pain. I couldn’t get up.
    I have dishes piled for 3 days and can’t put them away since the dw is full of clean ones.
    just got back from cleaning the kitchen a bit. dishes out and dirty dishes in. chicken legs in the new electric frying pan. thawing out so that in an hour I can finish it off by adding honey hoisin sauce. supper is ready by 5.
    now I am sitting here taking a break 1/2 hour of work 1 hour to recoop. what a life.
    I am going to try a lot of those mix in a jar for gifts. One man is not a cook but he is doing all the household things due to his wife’s bad health. maybe the mixes will make his life easier.
    We might take off for 2 days of christmas since we will be by ourselves. a nice motel retreat with lots of books and nothing else but the lap top. we had one place in mind but they don’t have a book store and we want new books to read.
    start early and we might all survive the hecticness of christmas and actually get to enjoy the day.

  6. Cindy says

    Great tips! I am such a procrastinator but I will try my best to overcome it this holiday season. We only have small gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas but there is still quite a bit I can do ahead.
    At my job I’m usually alone and look forward to checking my email at lunch time – receiving your newsletter is like hearing from a friend!

  7. Jan C says

    So good to be reading this, as I will be having surgery on 11/14 and will be laid up this Thanksgiving. It is usually at my house, but I am just making the stuffing and putting it in the freezer so my DIL can stuff her turkey. She is from the South and they only make cornbread. I have been doing much better since reading all your tips.

  8. D.T. says

    i, too, want to say “thanks” for all the good info that comes through your newsletters and comments from readers are so informative. You and your readers seem like old friends and it is always good to have an e-mail from you.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  9. Grandma says

    Finally after 26 years of being too sore, sick or tired to clean much during any one day I found the solution yesterday sort of by accident.
    I woke up with little pain and a bit of energy.
    I looked at my floors and said they had to be done. The dining room was in the best shape so I started there. Moved furniture swept then got the mop and pail. I could only do a small section as the room is small and the furniture was taking up a lot of the room when I moved it. So I did that spot then sat down because I had to wait till it dried to put stuff back. Well that worked fine. I got to rest inbetween times and had the energy to continue.
    I got all the floors done, the couch and rocker vacumed and emptied the dish washer and got to rest before I had to go to the dentist and get groceries.
    To reward myself I bought a couple blade steaks for supper and actually sat down and enjoyed them. Even cheap steaks seem like a treat when you feel like you deserve one.
    Today I have cleaned the bathroom, rested, vacumed the 2 rugs in the bedrooms, resting and all I have to do is pick up some books in the living room and straighten the kitchen. Don doesn’t get home for 4 hours so boy am I doing well.
    I guess I should have taken my own advice all these years of pacing myself.
    I always thought I was but these 2 days have proven me wrong.
    Tomorrow and Sunday will be the real test.
    Laundry and going wandering with Don. Those days are killers. Would put laundry off till monday but cheap time is weekends or after 10pm.
    just thought I would let you know how after so many years of being discouraged if you find something that works keep doing it. If it doesn’t keep trying to find something that does. finding it sure feels good.

    • says

      That is why I use my 5 min. commercial break cleaning all these years. When I first got sick I could do nothing then after a few months I found if I made myself only work during the 5 min. commercial break on tv and no more, resting till the next commercial I got any amazing amount done.

      There is something about telling myself I only need to work 5 mins and not more that helped me manage to force myself to get up and work. I was shocked at how much I got done in those 5 mins. – clean a toilet, wash a sink or tub, vacuum or dust a small room, put in a load of laundry etc. I still on some days have to clean my kitchen or bathroom in stages doing the tub one day and the toilet the next but surprisingly it all seems to get clean.

      I don’t watch tv any more now that I am not so deathly sick but I still have to do this type of cleaning and usually I just time myself.

    • says

      Grandma, I call this “commercial cleaning”. I would sit down watch tv and doing 1 chore during the commerical. Watch some more, do another chore during the commercial and keep going all day long. That way when I’m really sick I can still veg out and rest but get something done too. :-)

  10. Bea says

    Commercial cleaning! That is so funny. If only those advertisers realized how much they waste their time and money by putting on SO many commercials one after another. I have done a lot of “commercial cleaning” too. HA HA.
    I have borrowed DVD’s of old TV shows from the library, that include the real commercials that were aired, and the commercials of the 50’s and early 60’s were so much simpler AND SHORTER. No loud music and craziness. Somewhere along the line advertisers made big mistakes in commercial making, because older commercials were actually fun to watch. Quieter and simpler, and NOT STUPID, and you could actually know what they were trying to sell, which is SO different from today. OH WELL, their loss, because I walk out of the room and CLEAN or COOK.

    • says

      Bea as much as I hate to admit it I remember those old commercials. It use to be that there was a 1 minute commercial on the hour then they started having a 1 minute commercial at the half hour. The water department at that time said more water was used on the hour and half hour then any other time of day because everyone would run in and try to use the bathroom before the commercial was up.

      I’m like you I just use the commercial time to get something done or if I am tired I read during the commercials so never really see them.

  11. Bea says

    Jill you are so sweet and cute. I kind of get a kick out of today’s commercials, in a way, because I could go a couple of rooms away from the TV, and I know when the longer segment of commercials is over when the loudness stops. They blast commercials, which is SOOO annoying. I can get stuff done in other rooms of the apartment because of how ridiculous TV is. I hardly watch TV at all, but when I do I never pay attention to the commercials. I will mute the commercials if I’m not leaving the room and read, or walk out and do something else.
    I was amazed when I saw how simple and quiet early commercials use to be. It was like they gave people credit for having some intelligence by simpling stating what they were selling in a dignified and quiet way. Today they think they have to blast music and have loud talking and dozens of people acting crazy or sexy, in order to sell something. Well I have news for them. Just about everyone I know either mutes commercials, walks out of the room, or channel surfs. What dopes advertisers are!

  12. Grandma says

    short trip down memory lane. feel free to add.

    you can trust your car to the man who wears the star the big white texaco star.

    you’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with pepsodent.

    call kenwood 7 4200 and remember please the folks who care call belair and put their minds at ease.

    grew up in Canada near the border so we got all the american commercials put on the Detroit television.
    used to love the little ditties.

    especially like plop plop fizz fizz oh what a relief it is. alka seltzer.

    • says

      I was just singing the plop plop fizz fizz to the grandkids last week. They got a crack up out of it. That was one of my favorites too.

      I was wondering the other day too does any one out there remember Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green jeans? I had to watch him every time he was on. You don’t hear about him ever now. He was kind of like the Mr. Rogers, Barney, Sesame Street and everything else at that time rolled into one.

      • Grandma says

        sure do.
        my brother’s mother in law was french so she didn’t watch much tv and she had never heard of the captain. He doesn’t know how they got on the conversation but one day while shopping he found a record of some of his shows. record not video and she actually loved it.
        When she got alzheimers and was put into a home whenever alan came she talked about the captain. It was one of the few things she remembered.
        I am not sure but I think they buried the record with her.
        I watched them everyday until I went to school along with the friendly giant and mr. dressup. And I always listened to see if the romper room teacher saw me in her magic mirror.
        There were rules and ways of acting that these shows taught but they were not so blatant about it like they are now adays. I think our childhoods were a lot more fun and free.
        As I got older it was the Mickey Mouse club with annette. And in Canada we had a show done on Manitoulin Island about a bunch of teens being forest rangers in training. Lots of adventures to be had.
        oh yes memory lane.

    • Angie M. says

      Please don’t squeeze the Charmin.

      I’d like to buy the world a Coke…

      Life cereal, it’s supposed to be good for you. Hey let’s get Mikey! He likes it! Hey Mikey!

      My bologna has a first name it’s o-s-c-a-r, my bologna has a second name it’s m-e-y-e-r…cause Oscar Meyer has a way with b-o-l-o-g-n-a.

      It walks downstairs alone or in pairs… It’s Slinky…

      How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?

  13. Bea says

    I remember some of those commercials and they were SO cute that you would remember their jingles. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz is one of them I remember, and the Charmin commercial was sweet. Jill, I remember Captain Kangaroo. Apparently he started in 1955 and went to the 1980’s so he was on a long time. I also loved Mr. Rogers!!!
    Grandma you are sweet too!
    Angie M I remember Mickey too. And the cute slinky commercial.

  14. Angie M. says

    I remember Captain Kangaroo. I mentioned him to my mother-in-law and hubby the other day and they hadn’t heard of him.

    I also watched Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street. Although I heard a couple of years ago that the old Sesame Street episodes are not considered politically correct. No joke, they released DVD sets of the original episodes with parental warning labels.

    I also used to watch Mr. Cartoon and the Little Rascals every day after school. Anyone out there heard of these?

    • says

      It goes to show how so many of the dos and don’ts we are told to do now in 15-20 years they will be laughing at us or think what we did was all wrong. I personally hope they will find out things like snack foods are really good for you and exercise is bad for you. : ) : ) Well I can dream.

      Anyway I wouldn’t be surprised if chocolate candy bars will some day have a hazardous to your health warning on them. I’m not sure how I and many others have lived to a ripe old age consuming so many of them but hey who am I to question the brilliant (??????) minds of the world. : )

  15. Grandma says

    Little rascals, bowery boys, lone ranger and roy rogers rin tin tin.
    moat of those are now politically incorrect.
    guns, kids running around without parents, gangs, insensitivity to natives.
    I like them all especially liked zorro, he was cute and a Canadian show that is still around on some channels today wasy the Littlest hobo. a german shepherd who always showed up in the nick of time and when the problem was done he would be on the road out of town.
    Ed Sullivan and international show time and the old Walt disney show with the old movies on there.
    Our town had no theater so our principal used to get movies on those big old reels and we would take the last day before christmas to go to the gym with our coats so we could sit on them on the floor we would sing carols and then watch a movie. the one I remember the best was National velvet. the next remembered one was Swiss family Robinson.
    Can;t see an entire school sitting down now to watch a movie as a treat. Which is a shame.

  16. Bea says

    Grandma, It is a shame that innocence and simple pleasures are not good enough anymore. That is why everything has to be super big, super loud, action packed, and over the top, to make any kind of impression. Sad.
    And not being politically correct usually means some sort of sin is now suppose to be normalized, or else you’re considered a “hater.” Wrong can’t be wrong anymore. There has to be tolerance for everything.

  17. getforfree says

    I already made a list of what desperately needs to be cleaned before thanksgiving. The windows, inside and out, window blinds, kitchen cabinets need to be polished.

    The kids closets need to be purged of summer clothes that won’t fit next summer. The weather is still warm enough to wear shorts and flip-flops during the day, but not in the morning or evening. Some shirts and shorts will still fit next year I hope, but my son’s outgrown stuff will go to my sister’s house. My older daughter outgrown home clothes will go straight to my youngers clothes, and my youngers, some will make rags, and some will be sent to my other sister. The school clothes need to wait another year or 2 in the spare closet for my youngest when she will start school. My kids wear the skirts, shorts for 2-3 years instead of one season, most have stretchable or adjustable waist in them. Shirts usually last 1-2 years.

    I also need to pick all the green tomatoes and bring it into the house, and let my chickens out into the garden to eat the remaining of the plants and the grass, so I wouldn’t have to weed it. But that has to wait a few weeks, until the night temperatures will get to low 40s.

  18. Susan says

    Hi Jill!

    You are so right about getting the house cleaning done early. Since I am not able to do but a little at a time.I take one room a day and even if I just get that room dusted I feel like I have accomplished something,make sense? I know that many people may think that is such a little to do but to me its a lot! anyway I try to live a simple life, I love watching the old Andy Griffen shows that were in black and white and belive it or not my hubby found some old Tom & Jerry Cartoons at a local thrift store and we sit and watch them and laugh! Its a shame people don’t take the time to enjoy the simple things. Have a blessed one!

  19. Jan C says

    I can’t believe this. These comments are from 2011. I commented that I was having surgery just before thanksgiving, so therefore not doing dinner this (2011) year. Well, 3 years later, I am doing dinner this year, and your tips can work no matter what year it is.

    • says

      And we are glad you are up and able to do it this year. Funny how things change from year to year and the things that happen in our lives. : ) Jill

  20. Mary Jane says

    This is not so much an idea for cleaning, but will take a lot of stress off for Christmas, if you get started in January next year. My husband told me about three years ago about a bachelor co-worker. About the 23rd. of December, he went to the bank and took out $500.00 in 10 fifty dollar bills. Then he walked over to the local discount store and bought ten nice Christmas cards. Then he put a fifty dollar bill inside each card, signed and sealed it, and his Christmas shopping was done in under an hour. The first time I heard this, I was totally overcome with a wave of pure envy. I recently told the story to my friend, and she had the same reaction that I did. Now, maybe $50.00 per gift is too much for your budget, and maybe it is not a good choice for all your gift giving, but the idea has some merit. I shop all year round, and still struggle with what to get people (especially my grown children) that they will really use, or haven’t already bought for themselves. This could free up a lot of time to do the things at Christmas that you really enjoy, whatever it is (decorating, baking, volunteering, etc.). This idea really appeals to me as I detest wrapping Christmas gifts most of all. I thought that next year I would set budget for gift giving (as usual), and will plan on putting equal amounts (each payday) away in an account until the beginning of next December. Those family members that I actually know what to buy for will have their gift bought with their budgeted portion. Those that I am unsure of…a check or cash with their portion will be put inside a card. I can feel the relief of stress already.

    • says

      Yes, we do this type of thing in our family all the time. We joke around that all we do is exchange money but…we love it! Then we can use the $ to save up for something big. Mike is always saving for a new camera or computer thing, I like to use it for plants in my garden and it really does work out well. We can then get exactly what we want and we do appreciate it!

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