Here are some easy ideas for how to reduce holiday cleaning stress with specific actionable items to make it easier to keep the house clean and organized during the holidays!
How To Reduce Holiday Cleaning Stress
They’re backkkkk!!! The holidays are creeping up on us fast! I can see some of you breaking out in a cold sweat just at the mention of those words. Others are doing a happy dance thinking of all the cute gifts you will make, the ways you’ll decorate and the food you’ll bake. Then there is the category most of us fall into. We love the holidays but also acknowledge that they can be quite a bit of work. Here are a few ideas to help make your holidays go a little smoother.
Relax – No Matter Who Is Coming
In Laws – Relax, even if it is your mother in law who will notice that one little speck of dust you missed in the far corner of the attic. You will never please some people so don’t even try. It is their problem not yours. It is an attitude problem, so they need to fix it, not you.
Friends and other Family – Things don’t have to be perfect. In fact, if you try to be perfect, it can never be perfect enough. Hopefully your friends and family love you just the way you are. If they don’t, you have bigger problems than having a clean house will fix.
What Happened? In most cases, five minutes after everyone arrives, your home will look like a bomb blew up in it anyway. This is not really a bad thing. It means that everyone is relaxed and enjoying themselves in your home, so the things you weren’t able to get done probably won’t be noticed anyway.
Still, I know that many of you are like me and really want your home to look the best it can look, so here are some ideas to help.
This is not the time for major deep cleaning and organizing. I will be talking about homes that are in “normal” condition. The important thing is to start now and not put this off or you will be overwhelmed later.
What To Do
Some of this may be too much for you to do, so pick and choose the things that are most important to you and and don’t worry about the rest.
You can pick any way you like to to get this cleaning done. For example you may want to clean one whole room from top to bottom or you can choose to do one job at a time. You might clean all the baseboards in the whole house one day and clean all the lampshades the next day or you might clean the baseboards, lampshades, and so on in just one room.
Here is a list of cleaning tasks you can get done way ahead of time and then you won’t have to think about doing them again until well after the New Year’s holiday.
Vacuum or dust baseboards, lampshades, pictures, mirrors, vents, curtains, window sills and cobwebs from the walls.
Clean carpets and furniture. – By this I mean shampoo your carpets and furniture now. If you have young children, you may have to do some spot cleaning later but you will have the main part of it done now.
Clean rooms hat you don’t normally use. If you have extra rooms like guest rooms and baths that don’t normally get used, clean them now and shut the door so they are ready to go. This is also the time to clean the rooms where guests may not spend much time, like sewing rooms, garages, the master bedroom and basements. These are rooms where guests may have a little peek but they won’t use, so surface cleaning is all they need.
Appliances – Clean your oven and refrigerator. Get them ready for all the extra food you’ll be storing and making.
Clean and organize the pantry and freezer. Restock them, making sure you have plenty of all your basic spices and food items. Now is a good time to go through your usual holiday recipes and stock up on anything you will need for those.
Don’t forget to plan for emergencies. Make sure you have plenty of canned goods and staples in case (heaven forbid) you have a winter storm and you get housebound with extra people there.
Closets – Go through closets, not necessarily organizing but just straightening and getting them in order so you don’t have to waste time digging for clothes and shoes each morning while your company is present.
Toys – This is one area where you need to do some deep cleaning and eliminating. The kids will be normally getting so many new toys that you need to clean out the old ones to make room for the new ones. One way to make this easier is to ask the children to pick as many of their toys as they can to give to children who don’t have any. Most young children have really generous hearts and spirits.
If you say, “There is no way my children will do this,” then remove a few toys to box up each day. If you do this gradually, they probably won’t notice. If they do notice something is missing, tell them you will find if for them. Then, dig it out of the box when they aren’t looking. If they don’t notice anything missing for 3-4 weeks, you are probably safe to get rid of them. I know this may seem sneaky but, hey, when it comes to kids and getting rid of their toys, even the ones they don’t want, it can be like going to war.
Bathrooms – This is the time to scrape off the year’s worth of mold you have growing in the bathroom. Once that is finished, be sure to clean each bathroom once a week. Then it will be very easy to do a quick cleaning right before your company arrives.
Guest baskets – If you are going to make guest baskets for your guests, prepare those now.
2 Weeks Before Company Arrives
- Check or get out linens
- Buy as much of the food you will need as possible. Make sure you have foil, plastic wrap, toilet paper, etc.
- Take out and check or clean any small appliances or dishes you will be using. This includes serving spoons and utensils.
- Make sure the entryway closet is cleaned and organized and ready to hold coats and boots for company.
- If you don’t have children but will have them visiting, buy or have ready some toys for them and make a special area for them to play.
- This may seem like a silly thing but I would clean all the trash cans and put a roll of new bags in the bottom of each one. That way if one of your guests volunteers to take out the trash while you are busy, you won’t have to stop and help them find a new bag.
1 Week Before Company Arrives
- Put fresh linens on the beds. Make sure there are plenty of blankets and towels in the room. Include things like a clock and tissues on the night stand.
- If you aren’t making guest baskets, set out a few things in the bathroom like extra toothbrushes, toothpaste and razors.
- Put out a good supply of toilet paper and make sure there are air fresheners easily accessible.
- Do a quick light dusting of the house. This is one time I pull out the feather duster or Swiffer.
- Sweep porches
1-2 Days Before Guests Arrive
The timeline to complete these tasks depends on your family and how much the house can be destroyed in a 24 hour period. : )
- Do your basic weekly cleaning and vacuuming. (No dusting– Remember, it is done.) Clean bathrooms, the kitchen and bedrooms.
- Check everything once over and make sure the guest rooms have everything they will need including extra blankets and pillows.
- Quickly go through picking up and touching up last minute things.
- Light a candle or have something cooking that smells good.
- Have a few lights on.
- Depending on what time of day the guests are coming, have a snack or drinks ready.
- Make sure you have hand towels out and double check toilet paper.
- If you don’t have a closet at the front door, be sure to have planned ahead of time where they can put their coats and boots.
Last but not least, put your company to work.
If it isn’t a super formal affair, ask your company to pitch in. People always feel more at home when you do this. If it is just for dinner, have them help you in the kitchen dishing up of things or working on small tasks like the last minute mashing of potatoes.
Ask the guys to watch the kids while you finish cooking in the kitchen.
If the guests will be in your home for a longer stay, then it doesn’t hurt to ask them to help with a few things. If there are many people staying several days you will really need the help, so don’t feel bad about asking for it.