We’re counting down to another holiday season. But before the crowds of family and friends descend, there’s still time For a holiday cleaning. Want to use the looming deadline For the dirty work? These can-do tips will give you great results.
1. Can-Do Preparation
If you are like me and a lot of homeowners out there, cleaning inspiration does not strike often. That said, when your home needs a deep cleaning for the holidays, there is nothing more frustrating than finding you don’t have the cleaning items necessary to do the job. So, before everything, prepare. And don’t worry – this is an easy can-do!
Take a quick inventory of your cleaning supplies – do you have extra vacuum bags? Glass cleaner? Disinfectant and all-purpose cleaning solutions? Do you have an extendable dusting tool? Some good microfiber cleaning cloths and scrubbing sponges? Refills for your damp-mop? A new filter for your HVAC? The next time you do a grocery run, plan to pick up any tools or products you need to re-stock your holiday cleaning kit. That way, once you get started you won’t have to put the brakes on your momentum.
2. Can-Do De-Cluttering and Delegation
Another great preparation strategy is making sure there is less to tidy in the first place. Holidays are a great time to declutter and you can do it! After all, the holidays usually bring more stuff into the household – might as well make room for it. Start with de-cluttering important surfaces like kitchen and bathroom counters, coffee tables and side tables, dining tables and bars. Clear dirty dishes from the sink and free up your “drop zones” for all the coming and going of the season. Less clutter will make your home feel more serene.
As you edit items, consider what you might want to donate in preparation for the holidays. Donating is a generous and sustainable way to free your life of the old and make space for the new. Bag gently used possessions and leave them by the door. That way the give-aways will be ready for drop-off to your local Thriftstore or charitable organization. Remember, every load-out will take a load off your mind!
You know the old saying, “Many hands make light work”? Spread the holiday cheer and spend a few extra minutes writing up a list of tasks. You can share the load with family members, even the kids, according to their ability and attention span. If you live on your own, consider asking friends to give the gift of holiday cleaning help. Keep in mind too, there are non-profits and other community resources to help older homeowners with cleaning. Once your space is cleared of clutter and the tasks are delegated, you are ready for the big push.
3. Can-Do Cleaning, from Top to Bottom
The holidays can be a hard time to take on the heavy-duty cleaning projects. But if you have the help, and the motivation, there are a few basic pointers for deep cleaning that will give you a wonderfully fresh start in the new year.
If you are deep cleaning, one thing you don’t want to have to do is clean anything twice. That’s why you want to focus on the highest surfaces first and use a top-down approach or what some gurus call “clean high before you clean low.” Dust ceiling fans and light fixture first. Remember the corner cobwebs and the tops of cabinets too. Everything that falls to the floor will be vacuumed or mopped away when you get to that step. Speaking of steps, remember, using a step stool or ladder can result in injuries. Make sure to have a safety partner onsite. From the ceiling, work your way down the walls, dusting drapes, wiping down counters and table tops. You can even vacuum your upholstery to remove dust from the fibers.
4. Clean Inside to Out.
The inside-out strategy goes hand in hand with the high-low approach. What are the most important inside-out holiday cleaning projects? High on that list is cleaning out the refridgerator. Luckily, this bear of a job can be broken down into a few can-do steps. Begin by removing the stuff inside the fridge, that means food and condiments then shelves and produce boxes. Check expiration dates and, when in doubt, throw away. You’ll want that extra space for the defrosting turkey, right? Wipe down the interior of the fridge, including the shelves on the inside of the door. Lastly, wash out the inserts with soap and water and wipe down the fridge front.
If you’ll be doing holiday baking, or even planning to cook a few pizzas, you may want to tackle that oven. Experts say that you should avoid the “self clean“ option for two reasons. First, this mode can damage your oven. Second, and more importantly, it can jeopardize the safety of your home! There is plenty of advice on the web about safer methods for oven cleaning. Keep in mind that what works for the interior enamel of your oven may not be gentle enough for the glass in the door. Once you’ve cleared the interior of splatters and stains, your oven will be cookie-ready!
5. Work Wet to Dry.
Year round, the wet areas of the home are subjected to some of the heaviest wear and tear. Maybe you are dealing with a dirty bathroom or a filthy mudroom or a grungy kitchen floor. Whatever the challenge, a holiday cleaning of the wet zones is a great start. Start with the basic “can-do’s.” Deal with toilets and sinks up front. Work top to bottom, ending with one good damp mopping or wipe down for kitchens, baths and entries. When the guests are on the way, all your floors will need is an easy sweep up.
Once the wet zones have been dealt with, focus on the dry. For your carpets, nothing is better than a slow vacuuming. Use the best vacuum for your lifestyle then make slow passes over your carpet fibers to ensure the best results. This can be a great time of year to freshen up your door mats to be sure they are effectively removing soil from shoes. Sweeping up stoops and steps help keep dirt and debris from tracking in.
As for the deep cleaning that only the pros can provide, schedule an estimate with a trustworthy service company for cleaning your hardsurfaces and carpet. You can always schedule that appointment for after the new year, when your household is quieter. Some companies offer upholstery and rug cleaning which can address any merry-making oopsies. If you opt for a DIY response, be wary of all the online advice for addressing the usual accidents. Take time to track down the trustworthy pointers so you won’t worsen holiday spots and spills.
5. Stay on Top of the High-Touch Surfaces.
When wintry weather drives us indoors, high touch surfaces need ongoing attention. One benefit of holiday cleaning is cutting down on the spread of viruses and colds among your family and friends. The good news is that these can-do’s rarely take more than a few seconds. To keep germs and illness at bay, use a cloth or paper towel with a disinfectant solution to clean the usual culprints. – light switches, door handles, tv remotes and phone screens.
Remember, electronics, like phones, require special cleaning protocols. The dirtiest areas of a home deserve extra TLC too. Keep disinfectant cleaning supplies close to hand for bathroom and kitchen surfaces like counters and sinks. For smaller items, the can-do hack is to have skin-safe disiinfecting wipes in the car and on the ready, througout your home. Half the reason we don’t get around to cleaning things is basic incovenience. By keeping cleaning supplies easily accessible, that extra 30 seconds of effort won’t seem so daunting.
6. Remember Ye Olde ‘Ounce of Prevention’ Strategy.
One of wisest can-do holiday cleaning strategy is to keep up with the little day-to-day messes. That can be easier said than done – we all have problem areas. There’s the countertop that gets covered with mail, the chair where everyone drapes their coats, the kitchen sink perenially full of dirty dishes. Cleaning a little at a time makes all the difference.
More often than not, the mess just needs a place to go. You can have a small basket for the mail. You can start a no-drop policy for coats. The key to getting good results is to make sure the mess-makers have an easy alternative – a coat rack or hooks not too far from the front door, foor example. One of the most important rules of a lasting tidy is to be sure that there is ‘a place for everything, and everything in its place.’ Make room for the everyday items and you’ll cut down on ongoing clutter.
7. Revisit Your Rooms with this Cleaning Lightning Round.
No matter what kind of home-care strategies you like to use, there is a holiday cleaning plan to match your style. Maybe you’ve put in the time with a few weeks of deep-cleaning projects. Maybe the holidays have crept up on you. No matter the scenario, you easily can do these quick-cleaning tasks and put the bow on your holiday home before friends and family members knock on your door.
Start with the front entry. Sweep front stoop or stairs, be sure your welcome mat is shoe-ready, clean any glass inserts on or around the door and use a dust mop to freshen wood floors. Once they are through the door, the next place your guests are likely to head is the bathroom. Put out fresh hand towels and new soap. WIpe mirrors, counters and floors with a household cleaner with a holiday or other fresh scent. Avoid the cleaners that smell like bleach. Brush the toilet and take out the trash and the bathroom is good to go.
A common cleaning challenge is the holiday kitchen. Your best bet is to focus on the counters and the floor with a quick wipe-down and damp-mop. Remember to take out the garbage here too so there is room for used paper plates and cups. Whether a living room or family room, you can quickly walk through any public spaces with a laundry basket and fill it with any lingering clutter. If you don’t have time to put everything away, hide the basket for the time-being and return to it later. Vacuum high-traffic floors, stack media and books or put your magazines in an attractive basket and set aside. Straighten pillows and cushions and put away the stop watch. Time to greet the season!
Now Enjoy Your Home for the Holidays!
No matter how ambitious your entertaining, don’t forget to enjoy a little holiday cheer. No one wants to see you scurrying around with a wash cloth or a broom. What you can’t get around to won’t really matter anyway. People enjoy clean but they value companionship more. If you’re hosting, hydrate, have a little food, and when those inevitable spills happen, remember there are some trustworthy tips out there for addressing the spots after your guests are gone.
Overwhelmed with the post-party problem areas? Consider calling in the pros. They can advise you of the best options for cleaning your carpet, rugs, upholstery and hardsurface flooring.
Give yourself a pat on the back and kick-back for some holiday fun. No matter which celebrations you observe, the pros at Pro-Care wish you, your family and friends a Happy, a Merry, and a Safe Season of Joy!
Oh, and don’t sweat those spots and spills. We’ll see you in the new year.