We’re done with the Thanksgiving feasting, but the holiday season is only gearing up — here are tips to get your home in shape for festivities to come!
Set the stage
Look at it like staging your home for selling — it should look its best. Before adding decorations, do some decluttering. It will give you a cleaner background for your holiday decor, letting it be the star of the season. You can get some simple storage bins, and you use them later to organize and store ornaments, lights, and everything else. Or just do what home photographers do — gather the knick-knacks in laundry baskets and stow them out of site.
Clean up your front door, inside and out. Clear your walkways, tidy up around the front door, and be sure that any lights or decorations won’t get in guests’ way as they enter your home — especially if they’re bearing gifts, home-baked cookies, or wrestling luggage.
Make room for guests’ coats and jackets — if you don’t have enough room in a closet, a coat rack will do temporarily. Provide a spot for them a place to stow umbrellas. Get an entryway rug to absorb the snow, slush or salt that may come in on visitors’ boots.
If you spend the season cooking or baking up a storm during this season, show your kitchen a little love beforehand. Clean your microwave, paying special attention to the vents, especially if it sits above your range. A degreaser like Simple Green works well and is non-toxic, or you can make your own with this white vinegar-based formula.
Clean out the fridge and freezer, and then wash all the surfaces. Tackle the stovetop, too, but skip the oven. Popular Mechanics says the self-clean function on your oven can cause stress on the appliance, and possibly a failure. You don’t want to deal with repairing or replacing your oven right now.
You’ve got long-term guests
If you’re hosting overnight visits, take some time to make sure your guests — even if they’re your grown kids — can stay comfortably. Provide a place in their room for luggage and a place to hang clothes — even adding some hooks to the back of the door will help.
In a shared bath, make room in the vanity for their toiletries and shaving kits, or provide a dorm-style shower caddy so they can tote things with them.
Stock some basic toiletries on hand for those that forget — toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, shampoo, and lotion.
Have enough sheets, towels, and blankets
If you home office is also a the guest room clean up papers and office supplies. Make it feel like a bedroom by adding a nightstand — at least one — a lamp and a place for a glass of water. Install a power strip or multi-plug outlet so guests can power up their phones, tablets, and laptops.
If your visitors will exceed your bed capacity, the good news is inflatable mattresses have come a long way. Look for a double-height inflatable mattress — it’s high enough that your guests won’t feel like they’re camping on the floor. Consumer Reports likes the 17-inch-high Hi-Loft from Simmons Beautyrest the best in this category.
Setting up the bed on a slab floor — like a basement — will allow the cold air to seep up from the floor. It makes for a frigid sleep. Simply adding a set of flannel sheets and a featherbed mattress topper along with the usual blankets or comforter will keep guests will be comfortable and cozy.
If you’ll be hosting a party (or two) or welcoming a houseful of far-flung family, stock your freezer with made-ahead soups, chilis, breads, and any side-dishes you can make ahead of time. Having a selection of frozen appetizers at the ready can feed hungry drop-ins. Have back-ups of coffee and tea — waking up to no coffee in the house is cruel, even if they shouldn’t have slept so late.
Don’t stress, take time out to enjoy and savor this season. We wish you the happiest of holidays!