Now that we’re firmly in pumpkin season, you might be itching to get a head start on preparing your home for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.
And while some may consider that premature, beginning early can make the whole process a lot easier and less stressful. Follow these tips to give yourself plenty of time to ensure your home is clean and cozy for your guests.
Before you get started, you might need to stock up on cleaning supplies. Check your closets and cabinets to determine what items you’ll need, like paper towels, sponges, and an all-purpose solution. You can use an app like AnyList to curate your list of necessities; it will also suggest supplies you may have forgotten and group them together to simplify your shopping trip. Since this time of year can get busy, consider purchasing enough products to last through the holidays so you won’t run out.
Helpful hint: Cleaning with washable microfiber cloths and mop heads can help you spend less on supplies.
One of the benefits of readying your home for the holidays now is that you don’t have to try to tackle it all at once; instead, you can have the luxury of clearing unwanted items from one room at a time in thirty-minute intervals to avoid getting overwhelmed. Once a space is clutter-free, keep an eye on it in the following weeks, taking time to straighten it regularly. You could use a box or basket to gather anything that’s out of place and put them where they belong.
Helpful hint: If you find it difficult to corral odds and ends, add items like storage ottomans and baskets to hide anything you want out of sight.
Devise and stick to a cleaning schedule to help get your home in tip-top shape—and ensure it stays that way until the holidays. You can use a whiteboard or an app like Tody to keep you on track. For tasks that will need to be done regularly, you could try focusing on a different room each day of the week or group similar tasks together. For instance, you could dust and empty your trash bins every Saturday, vacuum, sweep, and mop every Sunday, and scrub sinks, showers, bathtubs, and toilets at least once weekly. Work from top to bottom so dust or dirt won’t settle on already-cleaned surfaces. You can also keep a tub of disposable wipes in your kitchen and bathroom to quickly sanitize and wipe up messes as they arise.
On top of the more frequent tasks, there are other items you may want to clean at least once before guests arrive. Looking ahead at your schedule, determine when you want to change the sheets and towels and clean your refrigerator, microwave, or oven. Then mark it on your calendar or set a reminder so you don’t forget to tackle these important duties.
Helpful hint: Don’t forget often missed spots, like your light fixtures, walls, and underneath or behind your refrigerator and furniture.
Now it’s time for the fun part—decorating. If you’ll be utilizing items that have been packed away for a while, make sure they are clean and dust-free before you put them out. To make your life easier, consider reusing some of the same decor for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. For instance, you could deck your home’s exterior with string lights that have colors you can change with the press of a button, such as from orange to green or blue, or choose an attractive welcome mat that’s appropriate for any season.
Helpful hint: Use Command hooks to hang your garlands and other holiday decor; they’ll be much easier to put up and take down.
Add finishing touches
Just a few days before entertaining, focus on any remaining but important details—fluff pillows and decorate your dining table with a table runner and festive placemats. Be sure to add a fresh scent to your home immediately prior to your friends and family by simmering cider in a slow cooker or baking a few holiday cookies. (Your guests will also be happy to sample these treats.)
Helpful hint: Even just a few well-placed decorations, such as lit candles and colorful holiday throws and pillows, can wow your guests.