Even though my mother enjoys cleaning my house when she comes to visit for the holidays, I still want my home to look perfect—or at least close to perfect—by the time she arrives. I've found that having a house cleaning check list ready to go helps make cleaning my home more manageable.
Another way to tackle pre-guest or pre-party cleaning? Have a house cleaning schedule so that I can do a little bit at a time each day.
Speaking of schedules, The Maids, the franchised residential cleaning service, has come up with an easy 12-day house cleaning schedule that should have you ready for guests and any unexpected visitors in no time. I've taken their tips and tweaked them with my own house cleaning hints.
- Day 1: Clean the inside of the oven and the top of the stove.
- Day 2: Clean out your refrigerator to make room for leftovers. Make sure you have adequate storage containers and space for the extra food before the meals begin.
- Day 3: Empty coat closets of extra outerwear like spring jackets and sweatshirts to make room for your guests' outerwear.
- Day 4: Empty all trash containers. Clean and disinfect inside and out with warm, soapy water, and a neutral disinfectant. Drop several extra trash liners inside each container before relining for a quick and easy way to remove future trash.
- Day 5: Clean the tops of ceiling fan blades and inside ceiling lamp globes. This ensures no surprising plummeting dust bunnies!
- Day 6: Remove clutter from tops of kitchen counters. Find a home for mail, magazines, books, and other items that tend to pile up on tables and in the home office.
- Day 7: Launder bedding for any overnight guests. Leave clean towels in each guest bedroom, and top with a holiday candy piece or two to make your guests feel pampered—assuming you don't have pets who could get sick from eating the candy.
- Day 8: Move furniture, like small end tables and large potted plants, to a spare room to allow for extra chairs and sitting space around the tree for opening gifts.
- Day 9: Dust all surfaces, including baseboards and windowsills, along with collectibles and picture frames.
- Day 10: Make your bathrooms meet the white-glove test. Remove personal items from countertops, and clean the toilet, sink and mirror to a sparkling shine. Use window cleaner on fixtures for extra gleam!
- Day 11: Vacuum home from top to bottom, paying attention to the dining room, living room and kitchen. Don't forget about your upholstery and hard-surface floors.
- Day 12: Set and style the table.
Heck, if you get started today, you'll be done with a few days to spare before it's even Christmas!
By the way, if you stumble upon this story with only a few days to go before guests arrive, here is another story I wrote with a five-day house cleaning schedule.