Getting your home ready for the holidays goes beyond dusting, mopping, cleaning bathrooms and picking up guest areas. Before the holidays hit, schedule a day for a thorough winter cleaning and use our convenient checklist so nothing is left undone!
Many homes have multiple bathrooms including a guest bathroom, but some only have a single bathroom that also has to serve as the guest bathroom. All bathrooms should be cleaned thoroughly and sanitized before guests arrive.
Here’s your bathroom to-do list:
- Wipe down mirrors with glass cleaner
- Change all linens
- Wash any rugs
- Clean and sanitize the toilet, floors, sink and/or bathtub
- Remove any clutter
- Wipe down the walls (sometimes yucky smells linger here)
- Provide new soap (you can usually find bottles of holiday scented soaps!)
- Replace or purchase air deodorizer
- Stock toilet paper under the sink
Dirty bathrooms are gross, and this is one of the most important areas to keep clean for the comfort of your guests. Make sure that all supplies are easily available to guests; they shouldn’t have to hunt down toilet paper of look around for air deodorizer.
You will probably be using the kitchen for baking and meal prep. Keep the counters wiped down as you cook. Cleaning while you cook saves time! A dirty kitchen gives the impression that food might not be clean or well prepared; be conscientious about keeping this area spotless.
Here’s your kitchen cleaning checklist:
- Sweep and mop the floors
- Clean the microwave
- Wash any rugs in the kitchen
- Replace dish towels
- Clean the oven, microwave and stove before cooking (old crusty burned food on surfaces just looks gross)
- Wipe down and sanitize all counter surfaces
- Keep the sink free from dirty dishes (guests don’t want to see a pile of dishes)
The Living Areas (Living Room, Family Room, Rec Room)
Your hosting area may be focused on recreational areas in the home like the living room, family room, den or rec area. Make sure all clutter is removed from these areas and free up as much floor and seating space as possible. You may need to bring in extra chairs or seating, depending on your available space.
Here’s how to keep this area looking great:
- Pick up all toys, games, and clutter from the floors or couches
- Fold and store blankets
- Arrange throw pillows on sofas and chairs
- Vacuum rugs and carpets
- Sweep and clean wood floors
- Dust end tables and coffee tables
- Place a stack of coasters for guests on each table
Most guests won’t venture into your bedroom. However, many homeowners invite guests to place coats and personal belongings in the bedroom for convenience. While you don’t have to go crazy with cleaning bedrooms, they should look tidy…in case guests do venture in there!
Spruce up these rooms and remember to:
- Pick up toys (kids’ rooms) and clutter
- Arrange pictures nicely on dressers
- Dust all furniture
- Vacuum the rugs/carpet
- Sweep wood floors
- Make the bed and arrange pillows
The Whole House: Energy Audit
You don’t want to invite guests into your home only to have a major home emergency. A week before your gathering, conduct a home energy audit to make sure all systems are a go—literally. Use the HomeSelfe app to find energy leaks or areas of concern.
What are you looking for during your audit?
- Check plugs and outlets for appliances, lamps or other gadgets that aren’t being used
- Look under sinks and around pipes to find any leaks
- Adjust your thermostat to a comfortable temperature—lots of guests mean you may be able to nudge down the heat a bit
- Check the water heater and make sure the thermostat isn’t set about 120 degrees Fahrenheit (higher than that wastes energy and could lead to burns)
- Swap out any bad light bulbs
In addition, beware of any power cords that are connected via a daisy chain—that is, a power cord plugged into another power cord. Daisy chaining is extremely dangerous. You also could swipe out the traditional power cord for a smart power cord that’s controlled via your phone or tablet. This allows you to turn off the strip remotely and save energy!
Outdoor Clean Up
If you live in an area that is hit by snow and ice, you’ll want to keep the driveway and walkways clean and dry. Shovel all pathways and the driveway for guests and use salt to melt any ice on the surfaces. Don’t forget to salt stairways, too! You don’t want a guest to fall or get injured on your property—this could lead to a home insurance claim.
Those living in warmer climates will want to tidy up the yard for better curb appeal. Yes, you can install fun holiday yard décor, but don’t get too carried away. You don’t need a giant inflatable Santa and a massive snow globe, too. Keep décor tasteful and classy.
Relax and Enjoy the Holidays
Winter cleaning and holiday festivities can be stressful. The to-do list seems endless, and, for one person, it can be overwhelming. If you have kids or a partner, enlist their help. Kids can pick up toys or use a feather duster. Dividing up the duties can make the job seem like much less work.
Once you’ve cleaned and tidied every room in the house, kick your feet up and relax. The holidays should be a time of appreciation and enjoying time with loved ones. Take a moment to count your blessings…and don’t forget to include a warm safe home as one of those blessings! Happy holidays!