This holiday season, it’s time to be proactive.
There are, of course, the essentials for prepping your home for the holiday season: adding décor and lighting, setting up the standard festive things, and even moving furniture around to accommodate guests.
However, the months of November and December always seem to fly by, as they do every year. That’s why it’s important to think about what you can do — and do it early — to stay on top of the Christmas season and best prepare your home for your family and visitors.
Here are the top ideas from professionals to help you be proactive this season, from decluttering to inspecting your heating system.
1. BEGIN EARLY
It’s best to start getting your home ready for the holidays as soon as possible. The holidays have an uncanny ability to creep up on you. Prepare a plan and accompanying timeframe in the weeks preceding up to hosting company or entertaining to avoid being surprised or scrambling at the last minute. Focus on gift purchasing and organising your home early on, then leave duties like tidying the guest room and completing a deep clean for the days leading up to the arrival of guests and relatives.
In the same vein as early preparation, you can prepare your family, children, or roommates by preparing meals or goodies ahead of time. That way, you won’t have to worry about what to eat on the busiest holiday days.
To make room for Christmas bakes and some home-cooked ‘ready’ meals, I like to empty my freezer. Preparing snacks and dinners ahead of time allows me to spend more time with my family rather than rushing to the kitchen.
If you haven’t used something in the last year, dump it, sell it, or donate it in the spirit of giving back this holiday season. Decluttering can be really beneficial, especially in the run-up to the holidays, because it allows you to focus your cleaning and organising efforts more effectively. Plus, if there’s less in the way, decorating will be easier.
It’s best to assign each object to a certain location. As you prepare for the holidays, consider where your belongings belong and whether or not they have a proper home. Vacuum cleaners, coats, shoes, laundry baskets, and other common household items sometimes float around the house with no obvious place to go when you’re done with them. As a result, these items quickly accumulate in your home, causing an unneeded mess. The first step is to identify whatever goods in your home need a specific storage space and build one for them.
Some questions you might want to consider are: Where does this item go? Is there a space where coats and shoes can be stored? Where would guests be able to store their belongings? Where can I put my bills/paperwork that isn’t visible?
Asking yourself these questions can help you prepare to the best of your ability.
3. MAKE A MORE THOROUGH CLEANING.
We’re all familiar with vacuuming, dusting, and wiping down surfaces. But how thorough are we in our work? There is a good way and a bad way to vacuum.
This holiday season, vacuuming in a zig-zag pattern is a tried-and-correct approach to effectively clean carpets. Because carpet strands are twisted loops that collect dirt from both sides, vacuuming in one direction only provides a partial clean. Working a traditional or cordless vacuum across a room in one direction in a zig-zag pattern, then repeating the process from a right angle, will thoroughly clean carpets. This design produces the best results while saving your time by avoiding repeating the same regions to clean the carpets.
This is not only a more effective way to vacuum, but it can also help minimise allergy symptoms because it is a deeper and more complete clean.
4. PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE FRONT DOOR.
Remember that your foyer is the first thing your guests will see, so it’s a good idea to tidy it up. Make a ‘home’ for coats and shoes, and consider a ‘drying station’ for wet clothes and boots, especially if you live in a snowy climate.
Make a drying rack from scratch. Allow the boots to drip into a plastic tray filled with rocks or pebbles. If the inside of your boots gets wet, put newspaper in them and it will soak right up!
It’s also crucial to think about what you’re doing outside the house. Make sure your driveway and walkway are free of ice and snow if you live in a chilly environment. You may need to check this several times before your visitors come. Coffee grounds, sand, or birdseed are fantastic eco-friendly hacks for this because they help break down the ice without harming the ecosystem.
5. MAKE MODIFICATIONS TO THE DECOR IN A SUBTLE WAY
The holidays bring a refreshing change. Swapping up some simple decor pieces and other aspects to create a fresh vibe is one method to spruce up your home—and especially your bedrooms.
You can, for example, change the bedding, such as cushions or blankets, to a warmer set besides the votive candles and colourful holiday garland. You might even rearrange the furniture to create a distinct atmosphere, add a set of shelves to exhibit more objects or even repaint the walls.
I like to bring out the new decor in the fall that will last into the spring, then layering Christmas decorations on top to avoid having to start from scratch. Think fuzzy, richly textured earth tone cushions and throw blankets with a pop of red or green to get you in the mood for the holidays.
If you have decorations you’ve collected over the years or received from family members, you can design the room around them. For example, to convey a festive atmosphere both indoors and out, incorporate more of the colour palette from your grandmother’s old wreath into the guest bedroom or incorporate extra lights in the windows.
6. USE ELECTRICITY WISELY AND SAFELY
In your drive to be festive, don’t forget about safety. A few electrical and safety tips for when you’re decorating: To avoid overloading a circuit and blowing a fuse, distribute your lights across the house. Light timers are also an excellent way to keep track of your overall circuit usage.
People frequently, and often without realising it, use indoor extension cables outside, but this is not always a smart idea. Outdoor lighting is not compatible with indoor extension cords. You also don’t want to plug too many things into the extension cord. Instead, invest in a smart cord that will warn you if you’re over-plugging.
7. GUEST ROOM SHOULD BE UPDATED
If you’re expecting visitors this Christmas season, make sure they’ll be comfortable for the duration of their stay. Consider including an ‘essentials’ basket with goods like toothbrush, lotion, mouthwash, and other necessary items besides surface-level cleaning, bedmaking, and organising.
You should also deep clean the most vital room in the house: the bathroom. Wipe off all surfaces and make sure there are no residues. Of course, the most vital aspects of a ‘hotel’ experience are the toilet and shower.
A DIY ‘Toilet Bomb’ tip for freshening your toilet. 1 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup citric acid, and 1 tablespoon dish soap are all you’ll need.
Combine all ingredients and freeze for at least 4 hours in a silicone ice cube tray. After they’ve dried completely, gently pluck them out and store them in an airtight container. After that, simply toss the bomb into the toilet (both before and after guests) to clean and refresh the odour.
8. EXAMINE THE ESSENTIALS
There are a few essentials you must handle as you prepare your home for the holidays, cooler temps, and guests: heating, air conditioning, and water pressure.
Before your guests arrive, check the water pressure of your shower head and make sure it’s clean.
Buying a pressure gauge from your local hardware store and connecting it to a hose faucet is the most accurate [evaluation] approach. To acquire a baseline reading, check the pressure when all other faucets and water-using appliances are switched off. In general, the pressure in your home plumbing should be between 40 and 60 psi.
In terms of air quality, I recommend cleaning your air registers and vents, as well as your fan blades and filters. People and pets are more likely to spend more inside as the weather cools, causing more dust, dirt, and allergies to accumulate in the filters. You have the option of cleaning these sections yourself or hiring a professional duct cleaner. It’s crucial to think about both options if you want to freshen up your area for the holidays.
You should also inspect your furnace. Furnaces develop dust over the summer months, and if [your furnace] isn’t properly cleaned before turning on the heat this Holiday season, you may expect a horrible odour of burning dust to linger in your home for hours.
Getting a tune-up can help you avoid not only poor air quality but also more dangerous problems like carbon monoxide leakage. It’s critical to inspect your furnace as soon as possible.