Holiday planning is so much fun. It feels great to think about the parties you’ll host and the food you’ll cook and the memories you’ll make with your family. But when it comes time to actually execute those plans, sometimes the fun disappears a little. That giant batch of cookie dough you made doesn’t fit in the freezer. The guest room is a disaster zone. And where the heck are you going to hide the kids’ presents anyway?
Pre-Holiday Prep Work
Now is the time to get that booty in gear and get the not-so-fun stuff out of the way so you can really enjoy the holidays. You know what I’m about to say, don’t click away yet! Whether you like it or not, it’s got to be done. And I’ll be right here by your side doing it all with you at my own house.
Clean out the fridge and freezer. Ouch, this job suuuucks, right? Well no more procrastinating, because you’ll be lugging home a giant turkey soon and if you’re scrambling to clean it out after that grocery trip, you’re gonna be quite mad at yourself, huh? Take some time to empty out the entire refrigerator and freezer, clean all the drawers and shelves, and trash anything that’s old, expired, or just doesn’t look appetizing anymore. You’re going to need all the space you can get.
Clean out the pantry. Same as the fridge, you’re going to need this space. Not just for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, but for storing snacks for surprise guests. You don’t want to be pushing around all the old crackers just to get to the good ones that you *think* may be in there somewhere.
Downsize kids toys. Kids sure do hate getting rid of stuff, don’t they? Try to talk them off the ledge of a meltdown by explaining that they’ll be receiving new things soon and there needs to be space for those things when they come. Help your kiddo choose toys and clothes they no longer play with or can wear, then let them “wrap” them to take to the donation center. They’ll feel better about giving them away if it feels more like a gift. Read this post about helping kids build cleaning habits for more tips.
Clean guest rooms and bathrooms. Don’t let this one creep up on you! Usually guest rooms and guest bathrooms get pushed to the side throughout the year because they rarely get used. The guest bed becomes a home for your latest sewing project. The guest closet is a melting pot of all the homeless stuff you own. And the guest bathroom has a weird smell that no one has been brave enough to check on for the last month. Get these rooms open for business as soon as possible, because you never know when an unexpected weekend visitor may show up.
Take stock of food containers. Here’s another biggie that you may not have even thought of. At least, until you’re cleaning up from Thanksgiving dinner and you realized half of your food storage containers magically disappeared and the remaining half seem to have misplaced their lids. Now’s the time to check your food container inventory and take note of any replacement purchases you need to make.
Deep clean the kitchen. Trust me, you need to do this. Give the oven a good cleaning, scrub the cabinets, dust the light fixtures, and run a vinegar cycle through the dishwasher. Your kitchen is about to get the workout of it’s life, and it should be extra clean in order to perform at maximum capacity.
Take inventory of linens. From table cloths and napkins to extra pillows and bath towels, you’ll want to make sure you’re stocked up on all the linens you’ll need for the next couple of months. Make sure the guest sheets are fresh, clean, and free of stains. Make sure you have enough pillows to accommodate a sofa or floor pallet sleeper. And please don’t give overnight guests your ratty old towels that are frayed on all sides and have a hole big enough for your cat’s paw to fit through. Hit up Target and get some affordable new linens to make your guests feel extra welcome.
Clean the garage. You know there are holiday decorations buried in there somewhere, but where? Instead of making an even bigger mess while searching for them, go ahead and give the garage a quick clean and organization session. Turn on some music, get the family involved, and tackle the garage now before it gets too cold. While you’re at it, you can carve out some secret hiding spots for gifts.
Prep your entryway for guests. Give your front porch a good sweeping, clean the rockers, and put a pretty wreath on the door. Add a boot tray and umbrella stand in your entryway, and add a spot for guests to hang their hats and coats. Put a large bowl for keys and a wax warmer to welcome guests with a sweet smell. Your entryway is your guests’ first impression, and a well put-together one will make their arrivals and departures smooth sailing.
Make a space for wrapping gifts. You may not be gift shopping just yet, but it doesn’t hurt to prepare. Find a good spot in your home for a wrapping station and work on adding a small table or rolling drawer cart to hold all your supplies. By keeping everything all together, wrapping gifts will be so much easier. If you don’t have a dedicated space in your home, clear out under a bed and get a large shallow rolling lidded container (they have them at the dollar store for a lot cheaper than the big box stores) and just pull it out when it’s time to wrap presents.
Need A Cleaning Countdown Boost?
Download my free Holiday Cleaning Countdown Calendar. Each day has a cleaning chore you can do in 30 minutes or less and you’ll have your home in perfect shape in just 30 days. Just pop your email in the box below and I’ll send the cleaning calendar straight to your inbox. Fo’ free!
How About A Step-by-Step Guide For Everything Else?
Grab the Printable Holiday Planner Kit from my Etsy shop for only $10.50. It has November and December calendars, Black Friday shopping and gift-giving lists, party planning sheets, wrapping paper and greeting card lists, and even a tradition tracker for next year. I use this planner for Thanksgiving and Christmas every single year, and it keeps me from stress-eating all the turkey and Santa’s cookies while no one is looking. (Sorry, Santa!)