The Holiday Handbook: Get your Household ready for Hosting

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner folks, so if you’re hosting any holiday gatherings, it’s go time for getting your house guest-ready. We at BH want to help you get prepared so that you can enjoy the holiday instead of stressing over those household tasks.

You know the old saying “If you wait till the last minute, it only takes a minute”? While it’s a cute little saying, when it comes to house preparation, this theory is wrong. If you wait till the last minute, you won’t get through your to do list, your house will remain in shambles, you’ll rush at the last minute, feel stressed out, burn the stuffing, and yell at Grandma when she criticizes your cuisine. If you had just prepared, you wouldn’t have yelled at your sweet ole gran. By finishing projects, cleaning, organizing and prepping for your guests, you will be stress-free by the time of your gathering. Here are our tips on how to make it happen.

 

1. THE ULTIMATE INSPIRATION IS THE DEADLINE

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While you don’t necessarily have to have that ceiling stain painted over, nail in the loose piece of trim, or install that new backsplash to throw a great party, having a deadline like a gathering is a great way to get through that household to do list that often gets put aside for a later date. Make a list of things that you definitely want to have done BY the date of your party. Prioritize your tasks on the list and put the most time-consuming projects near the top.

 

2. DEEP CLEANING

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A sad truth about homes is that, while living in them, you might not realize just how dirty they’ve gotten.

You grow oblivious to your own filth, your home’s aroma and the accumulation of clutter. Now, a few weeks out from your party, is a good time to spend a day or two doing some deep cleaning. Here’s a helpful checklist of the commonly forgotten chores, and remember, clean your rooms from the top down:

ALL AROUND THE HOUSE CHORES:

  • Vacuum any cobwebs that have accumulated around the ceiling
  • Wipe down your walls (a magic eraser is a great tool for removing wall stains)
  • Wipe down, disinfect light switches, door knobs, hardware
  • Dust everything thoroughly including light fixtures, on top of and inside of furniture, shelves (remove all items, then dust), windows and doors
  • Wash your windows, inside and out. This includes window screens also
  • Clean your window treatments. Dust blinds, vacuum, dry clean or wash curtains and valances.
  • Vacuum and wash your floors. Shampoo your carpets
  • Sanitize any cleaning tools you use like sponges or mops
  • If weather permits, open all your home’s windows to air out the inside
  • Replaced burned out light bulbs

BATHROOM CHORES:

  • Sanitize all surfaces of your bathroom
  • Scrub down your shower walls. If you have built up grime that your regular cleaner can’t cut, use the toilet bowl cleaner on the walls. It has stronger compounds that can cut through soap build-up better
  • Wash your bathroom linens including your shower curtain and liner, rugs and towels
  • Wipe down your shower curtain rod and rings
  • Clear out and bleach your drains
  • Bleach your toilet, then bleach your toilet brush and holder. It’s a good idea to unscrew that toilet seat and clean what has accumulated below the screws also
  • Wipe out your trash can
  • Wipe out drawers or shelves of your vanity
  • Wipe down your bathroom light fixtures
  • Vacuum out your bathroom’s fan

KITCHEN CHORES:

  • Wipe down all appliances (microwave, oven, coffee pot, toaster, etc.)
  • Clear out and clean your fridge and underneath your fridge
  • Wipe down inside your cabinets and drawers
  • Clean your silverware organizer
  • Wipe down and sanitize your kitchen trash can
  • Clear out your pantry. Get rid of any expired items and wipe down your shelves
  • Clean your dishwasher filter and your garbage disposal flaps (where mold often grows)
  • If you have a fan over your oven, clean the extractor fan
  • Wash your dish drying rack
  • Bleach your kitchen sink to keep it smelling fresh

BEDROOM CHORES:

  • Wash all your bedding linens, including your mattress pad, bed skirt, pillows
  • Vacuum your mattress

LIVING ROOM CHORES:

  • Remove cushions and vacuum all couches and chairs
  • Steam clean any furniture that needs it
  • If you have one, clean up around the fireplace. Vacuum cobwebs, dust, etc.
  • Wash throw blankets

OTHER SPECIFIC CHORES:

  • Wipe down washer and dryer, inside out
  • Run a cleaning cycle in washing machine
  • Clean out dryer ducts and vents
  • Wipe down laundry hampers/baskets
  • Replace Air filters

Hooray, your house is clean, fresh and organized. Now, a few days before the party, give the home a quick dust, vacuum, and regular cleaning, and you’re ready to go!

 

3. ORGANIZE

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This word can be scary, but don’t fret, we will help you conquer the clutter.

  1. Keep your flat surfaces clutter free.

Our countertops can often become drop zones for junk mail, papers, everything. Throw anything you don’t need and organize what you do need to keep in a file organizer.

  1. Donate

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Go through your shoes, coats, clothing, decorative items….and get rid of things you don’t use. If you haven’t used them in the past few years, if you never reach for them, donate. You’ll have more room in your home and someone else might be able to put your stuff to good us.

  1. Take Inventory on Bathroom Products.

Throw away expired, unused, or almost empty products. These can often clutter up bathrooms, and when guests are staying, you’ll want the extra space.

  1. Keep your cords organized.

Grab some zip ties, twist ties, whatever you can find, and get those cords organized. Cords hanging all over the place look sloppy and collect dust.

  1. Storage Alternatives.storage

If you’re short on kitchen storage space, consider storing some of your lesser used appliances and serveware elsewhere in the house. If you haven’t touched that blender in 2 years, maybe store it down on a basement shelf. Guests might be assisting you in the kitchen and rifling through your cabinets, and if they’re organized it’ll make your meal prep easier!

 

4.GET GUEST-READY

If you’re having overnight guests, a few small and easy gestures can make them feel at home and show that you’re a gracious host. If you’re prepared, you’ll get to enjoy your guests more than if you’re stressing at the last minute to make sure they have what they need.

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  1. Make sure you have enough guest towels, hand towels and washcloths that are stain free and in good condition. I always appreciate when a host sets aside a set of towels on the guest bed for my use. This way, I don’t have to dig through their closets to try and find them.
  2. A nice touch is when a host leaves a personal bar of soap with the towels. No one wants to share a bar soap. If you don’t want to waste money on a full bar that will only be used a few times, head over to the travel section at your store and pick up a few of the mini bars.guest jar.jpg
  3. Stock other toiletries your guests might forget. Have a spare toothbrush, razor, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, makeup remover, etc. A great way to do this is keep a container with samples or minis of these items out in the bathroom or guest bedroom so they don’t have to ask and can help themselves.
  4. Make sure the bathroom is stocked with toilet paper, you don’t want your guest to run out mid….use. Its nice to have things like cotton pads, Q-Tips as well.
  5. Its not pleasant, but sometimes toilets can have issues. Leave a CLEAN plunger near your guest toilet to save your guest from having to address you about any embarrassing toilet situations.
  6. Have extra pillows, bedding and blankets clean and ready for guests.
  7. Make sure you have a bedside lamp and nightlights. Your guests will appreciate a simple hallway and bathroom nightlight to help them navigate your home at night.
  8. Have some hangers and space available for guests to unpack and hang their clothing.shutterstock_1055805509.jpg
  9. Consider putting a fan into a guest’s room, it might help them get a better night of sleep.
  10. Ask you guests ahead of time if there are any specific food or drink requests. Then keep a stock of basics like milk, coffee, coffee creamer, tea.
  11. Be mindful of scents that you have. Some people are sensitive to fragrance, so when washing bedding, opt for unscented cleaners. If you normally have scented plug ins or candles, consider putting them away for guests.shutterstock_378721525
  12. If you feel stressed, your guests will feel uneasy. In the end, the goal is to enjoy the time you have together, so don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

 

 

There you have our lists within our list of how to get your home host-ready. Check back next week for our next edition of the Holiday Handbook!

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