Being home for the holidays can be a time of joy and relaxation, if you’ve planned household cleaning appropriately. Spread out major cleaning tasks far ahead of the celebrations and you will be able to enjoy the festivities knowing everything is in order. Create a checklist to keep you and your family on task. With a clearly defined plan, which can usually be accomplished within several days, you’ll be ready for the New Year.
Preparing your carpet for heavy holiday traffic is the first step in creating a festive look and warding off mishaps. Start with a thorough deep cleaning of all carpeted areas. While vacuuming will remove surface dirt, more grime and debris gets trapped down deep in the fibers and padding. Cleaning options vary depending on your carpet type but may include hot water extraction, dry cleaning (or, “very low moisture,” VLM) systems, encapsulation, or dry foam carpet cleaning. Carpet cleaning professionals, endorsed by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), can help you return your flooring to its original luxuriously woven state.
After a comprehensive cleaning, protect your carpet with a few simple strategies. Place inexpensive area rugs in spots that are likely to invite spills or stains (e.g., near beverage or food stations). Be mindful of places for guests to set down glasses or plates. Make sure to provide strategically placed tables so spills are less likely. Though not required, you may even choose to consider your menu and avoid red wines and sauces that tempt stains to appear.
Remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and so you shouldn’t let holiday housecleaning become a daunting task. Break projects into manageable parts or days. Now is the time to tackle those chores that usually aren’t accomplished on a regular basis (dusting ceiling fans and baseboards, for example). Perform a “fresh eyes” review of your home. Walk around with new eyes to take inventory of areas that need attention.
Look up at your ceilings and light fixtures. Are there cobwebs or wall smudges that need removal? Use extending rods with dusters to get to those high-reach spaces. Damp microfibers are perfect for dusting or cleaning almost any surface. As your eyes move from top to bottom, check out your windows. Are they in need of cleaning? Vinegar and water make a great simple solution for streak-free windows. Now is also a good time to launder or dry-clean window treatments. Remember the baseboards and go over them with a damp mop.
One area consistently remains the gathering place-the kitchen, which is all the more reason to concentrate effort in this room. Wipe down all appliances and cabinets. Clean the refrigerator and pitch expired food or remove food that doesn’t require refrigeration. The goal is to make room for party foods and beverages. Do you want it smelling fresh? Trying opening a box of baking soda or canister of oatmeal and leaving inside the ‘fridge for a few days. This will help absorb foul smells. Clean all kitchen surfaces, including the range or stove top and hard to reach or see spots like the top of your refrigerator. The garbage disposal can also be a source of sour smells. Add some baking soda or lemon essential oil or flush sink drains with boiling water.
While not considered an assembling spot, it still is an often visited room-your bathroom or powder room. A good scrub will have surfaces sparkling and guests feeling more comfortable. Organize your medicine cabinet or étagère and remove any private items you wouldn’t want discovered or tampered with. Revive the powder room with new linens or decorative hand towels. Think about placing a nice air freshener or candles to keep the room nicely scented.
Prepare your entry way for guests’ arrivals. Wipe the door and polish the hardware. Consider using a higher wattage bulb in your exterior lighting to better illuminate address signs. Just inside the door, make sure floors are swept and rugs are secure to wipe feet, more important in inclement weather if you’d like to avoid slippery spills or tracks throughout your home. Before your guests arrive, literally put out the welcome mat. Select a decorative design and roll it out for a warm welcome this holiday season!