How to Get Your Home Clean & Holiday-Ready in a Jiffy

Your quick!-they're-coming-soon checklist.

November  2, 2018
Photo by Julia Gartland

It feels like the minute the calendar flipped over to November, we're charging headfirst into the holidays: Turkey! Gravy! Wine! It might seem like a lot at once, but we just want you to be prepared ahead of the rush, that's all. The start of November also means getting your home extra clean and guest-ready—even when you're under the gun for time.

Here are some tips for doing just that in a SNAP. Open those windows wide, we're about to get to work!

  • Gather your tools: Your favorite cleaning cloths (here are mine); trash bags; all-purpose spray; glass cleaner; wood or surface spray; vacuum and/or wet mop; laundry bag or basket; air freshener or room spray; ENERGY!
  • Hit the bathroom first: If there's any room in that house that deserves some scrub-a-dub-lovin', it's this one. Get your trusty bathroom cleaner and give everything a spray-down while you get to cleaning the toilet, inside and out (especially under the lid). By the time you're done with that, move onto wiping down the sink, shower/tub, including all the hardware. Get the window cleaner and get the mirrors and glass shower doors, if you have 'em. Vacuum your floors and give them a quick wet mop (especially around the toilet). Bring out your fluffiest guest towels, extra rolls of TP, and light up your favorite candle. Don't forget to empty the trash and put in a new liner.
  • Next, aim for the common areas your guests will hang out in most: That means the living and dining rooms, and kitchen. Run a quick vacuum and a wet mop through these rooms. I like to vacuum the sofa or anything upholstered, too. Clear all the clutter from countertops, remove any piles of mail or paper (in the laundry basket it goes, for now!), and give surfaces a dusting and wipe-down. Fluff your pillows and empty any waste baskets in these rooms. For the kitchen specifically: Empty the sink (into the dishwasher or get washing by hand); wipe down faucet and stovetop hardware; give cabinet, stove, and fridge fronts a wipe-down. Refill your paper towel dispenser, napkin holder (if using disposable), and water carafes or filtered pitchers and stick at least one in the fridge.
  • If you're expecting overnight guests, guest room next!: Vacuum and wet mop quickly. Toss any clutter or to-organize-later items into the laundry basket. Make sure the bed has clean linens, open any windows here for a nice airing out. Spray any surfaces with all-purpose spray for a wipe-down; grab the window cleaner to do the same with room windows and any mirrors. Dust any high surfaces and polish any hardware that looks smudged. Empty the waste bin, put in a fresh set of towels, a candle with some matches, and a box of tissues. Give the room a quick air freshening spray as you leave.
  • Make a good first impression: Take a minute to clear your entryway, too. Vacuum, wet mop, put away any shoes blocking the door (if you have a shoe-free home like I do). Dust off and vacuum the welcome mat, too. If you have a house, give the clearing a sweep and empty your mailbox.

Well that wasn't too hard, was it? What are your must-hit cleaning zones when guests are already on their way? Let us know below!

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Hana is a food writer/editor based in New York.