Holiday Housekeeping Tips

BlogHer Original Post

When I sat down to write this article on holiday housekeeping tips I had my doubts that I had anything helpful to offer to the topic.  I mean really?  I don't spend a lot of time on housekeeping and I certainly don't stress about it.  But then it occurred to me that the reason I'm able to keep the cleaning to a minimum is due to some of the simple practices I utilize in my home on a regular basis.  These consistent steps, centered around the idea of keeping it simple and not sweating the small stuff, make it possible for me to have my house ready for company in 15 minutes flat and you can too. 

1.  Clutter control

First and foremost is keeping the clutter under control.  Piles of stuff scattered here, there and everywhere can be suffocating and chaotic.  If you don't have time to de-clutter your home all at once, start with the areas that guests congregate first.  Remember the golden rule: if you don't love it or use it, get rid of it.  I love the fact that less stuff and knickknacks means less dusting for me!

2.  Never leave a room empty handed

This is one of my top tricks to staying organized.  I am in the habit of always taking a look around before leaving a space in anticipation of putting it away in the space that I’m going.  Is there a toy that needs to be returned to a bedroom, a coffee cup to the kitchen?  If you happen to be going there, take it with you.  It saves time in the long run because you aren't leaving it all to clean up at one time. You're on top of it. 

3.  Daily maintenance

You can do a lot in 15 minute increments.  Rather than simply writing down "clean the whole house" on your to do list and be overwhelmed by that, try drilling down your tasks into manageable steps.  Complete one step at a time as you get time.  In 15 minutes you can:

~ vacuum your living room floor

~ clean a bathtub

~ fold a load of laundry

~ disinfect your counter tops

~ coral the clutter on your dining room table

~ sweep the floor

~ scrub a couple of toilets

You get the idea.  I love how Sarah of Thrifty Decor Chick takes this one step further by turning up her ipod and setting a timer for 20 mintues per room to help her stay on track. 

And Sherri of Serene Journey reminds us that you don't have to do everything all at once.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!

4.  Get the kids involved

My kids are ages 12, 10 and 4.  They have regular daily and weekly chores that include cleaning toilets, sweeping floors and tidying the kitchen.   It's amazing what a load is taken off when everyone shares in the housekeeping requirements.

5.  Keep cleaning wipes in every bathroom

When company drops by unexpectantly, don't panic that your bathroom is dirty.  Excuse yourself to the bathroom or better yet send your kids to do a quick wipe and toss with the stashed wipe supply.  In and out and no one gets hurt :)

6.  Contain food eaten by children to the kitchen or dining room

This one became a rule in our home originally because of my middle son's food allergies.  However it quickly became a hard and fast rule when I realized how much less mess it meant I had to clean up everywhere else.

7.  Keep your house smelling fine

Nothing tricks the senses more than walking into a pleasant smelling space.  Try burning some delicious candle scents or adding some Christmas-y oil fragrance to a diffuser.  Two of my favorites are gingerbread and pumpkin pie.  Makes a big difference!

8.  Relax your expectations

The last time you visited someone else's home did you spend the entire time thinking about their dust bunnies?  Nope, chances are you didn't and neither are the guests in your home.   So cut yourself some slack and for goodness sake stop apologizing for it.  That only draws attention to whatever it is you don't want your guests to focus on and makes them feel uncomfortable in the process.  Rachel of Small Notebook suggests that if you are feeling overwhelmed by everything there is to do it might just be time for an attitude check.

Above all, remember it's all about keeping it simple and not sweating the small stuff.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Laura is an addict of all things organizing especially containers.  She is addicted to the high that comes with living a life of order and simplicity and is always looking for her next "fix".  You can find her blogging regularly and sharing her passion over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.


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