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Well, I’m not sure how it happened so fast but the holidays are upon us once again! And according to Instagram, a lot of you have already started your Christmas decorating! I’m starting soon and I’m really looking forward to it this year thanks to a little advance planning for my holiday cleaning.
I’ve been on a clean and purge kick for the last few months. Geez, I have a lot of stuff. Actually, crap might be more accurate. I’ve accumulated what feels like a massive amount of pointless crap over 7 years of homeownership that’s just taking up space. Why do we hold on to this stuff??
So a few weeks ago, I started a list of all the cleaning, organizing, and minor maintenance type stuff I still needed to get done. (I have a separate list for all the projects and upgrades I want to do. You can check out that post here.)
The list was longer than I expected. It’s amazing how many things you don’t “see” on a day to day basis. Or it’s a passing thought of “I really need to take care of that” and then quickly forgotten.
I decided that I was going to tackle it before the holidays so I could start off the season with a clean and organized slate. And you know what? The majority of it got done. What’s left isn’t critical and won’t get in the way so I’m not stressing about it.
If you’re overwhelmed with the thought of getting your house ready for the holidays, here are the steps I took to knock out my holiday cleaning and organizing to-do list.
Holiday Cleaning And Organizing Tips
Holiday Cleaning Tip #1
Make a list. This will always be my number one piece of advice. If you’ve been here before, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m a Type-A list-making sort of gal. It’s just how I roll.
A list is like your roadmap. It’s how you know how to get from Point A to Point B.
When I made my list, I walked through each room in the house and wrote down every single thing that needed to be done. Even if it was stupid simple. Marking those quick hits off the list is great motivation for tackling the bigger stuff.
I had things on my list like wiping down light switches and outlets, cleaning light fixtures, washing curtains, paint touch-ups, closets to clean out, etc. We all have those things that should get done more often but are easy to skip during our normal cleaning process. But now is the time to get ’em done!
Holiday Cleaning Tip #2
Make a schedule. Rome wasn’t built in a day you know. Nothing burns me out faster than trying to accomplish too much in too little time.
Set aside a few hours each day to focus on your list. You can go room by room or you can group like tasks together.
If you have a room that needs a lot of work, spread it over a few days. My office was a hot mess of disorganization so I had to spread that over 2 days or else risk losing my mind.
I had to do some paint touch-ups in a few different rooms so I did all the painting at once. The same with organizing closets. I did all those at once so I only had to make one trip to drop off donated items.
If you work best completing each room before you move on, do it. If you like to jump around from task to task, do that. It’s important to create a schedule that works for you and that you can stick to. And give yourself enough time to get everything done that you want to.
Holiday Cleaning Tip #3
Get your supplies ready. It really irks me to start something and then realize halfway through that I need something I don’t have.
After you’ve done your schedule, go through your list and make a note of all the items you’ll need to complete it. Extra trash bags, storage tubs, cleaning supplies, painting supplies, light bulbs, extra paper towels, or maybe a new mop.
Whatever it might be, do a little prep work beforehand and make sure you have everything you need. The little bit of extra work is worth it, trust me.
Oh, and also….have plenty of Magic Erasers on hand. I’m telling you, these things really are magic. I tried a couple of DIY versions that I found on Pinterest and nothing comes close to the original. They are wonderful for removing scratches and marks from doors, walls, and appliances. Someone (not mentioning names, but I’m pretty sure it was Alex) scratched the top of my new dryer. I tried a Magic Eraser before having a complete meltdown and, poof, it was gone. Like it had never been there. That girl is lucky.
Holiday Cleaning Tip #4
Take a walk through your home and try to have the perspective of a visitor. If you’re going to have holiday guests, you’ll want to make sure that you’re prepared.
Here are a few things to think about:
- Is there a place to put coats and bags?
- Do you have enough wine glasses?
- Are there any cobwebs you might have missed? Old houses like mine can have cobwebs spring up at any time.
- Are there any medications in your cabinet that you’d prefer no one saw? (people are nosy)
- And also, are there any medications that might be in the reach of a child?
Use a critical eye and you may discover a few things you missed when you made your original list.
Holiday Cleaning Tip #5
Prepare your guest room(s) if you’re having overnight visitors. You may have cleaned and organized already but take a look around to make sure you have everything a guest might need to feel comfortable in your home.
Make sure there’s plenty of space for guests to store their luggage, their clothes, or whatever else they may have brought with them.
It’s a nice touch to provide a basket of amenities either in the bathroom or the guest room. Travel size shampoo, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash are great to have on hand in case they forgot to pack these. Q-tips, tissues, an extra hair dryer, pain reliever, batteries, and universal phone chargers are also nice to stock.
Other things to think about are extra blankets, pillows, and towels.
Holiday Cleaning Tip #6
Don’t forget the smells! Have you seen the Febreze commercial about nose blindness? It’s true! We can become immune to the odors in our homes when we’re smelling them every day. You don’t want holiday guests to wrinkle their noses when they walk into your home.
Freshen up your home with the scents of Christmas. Try essential oils in traditional holiday scents like pine, peppermint, and apple. You can buy a packaged set on Amazon here.
You can mix up water and essential oils to spray on couches, lampshades, curtains, rugs, and bedding. Basically, anything with a fabric surface that can trap odors.
You can also buy diffusers to keep in the most lived in areas of your home. This diffuser is also a humidifier which is great for dry winter weather! A diffuser is a nice touch in guest rooms as well.
Holiday Cleaning Tip #7
Make sure your kitchen is ready for holiday cooking and baking. I feel like I spend the majority of December in my kitchen. (You can check out the post on our big annual holiday baking weekend here.)
I like having a clean kitchen before I start any holiday cooking. It definitely doesn’t stay that way, but at least it starts out clean!
This is a great time to clean out the refrigerator and freezer. Say goodbye to random condiments that have been in there for a year.
Clean your oven and stovetop, and don’t forget the microwave. Mine sits above the stove and I ALWAYS forget it until AFTER I’ve wiped down the stove. Annoying.
Take stock of your supplies too. Do you have enough baking sheets and bakeware? Is there anything that’s seen better days and needs to replaced? We make candy so I test the candy thermometer ahead of time too.
Make This a Stress-Free Holiday
The holidays are stressful enough. Give yourself some breathing room by taking a little time to get organized before the chaos descends.
When you’re in control of the situation, you’re more relaxed and everyone will enjoy themselves that much more.
Instead of fixating on the mess, focus on important things like making memories with family and friends. And remember, the holidays only come once a year. You got this.
How About Some Free Printables?
Click the image below to download the zip file with 3 fun holiday-themed printables to help you with your holiday cleaning and organization! An initial to-do list, a holiday cleaning list, and a supplies shopping list are all included.