Monday

14 Things You Just Might Not Think to Clean in Time for the Holiday Guests

Excitement about a future holiday gathering can cause everyone involved to have a one track mind, so to speak when it comes to prepping for guests.  Most hosts will think about the obvious things that need to be organized, cleaned, rearranged, or removed, but sometimes there are those other things that are often overlooked and can reveal problems that you just might not want your guests to know about.

1.  Coat closet.

Who would bother to pay that close attention to a coat closet?  It isn't that one would care that much.  But first impressions are long-lasting, so depending on who is coming over and how much stuff they might be bringing, it would make sense to organize your coat closet and any other.  Coats need space.  Some don't look nice wrinkled.  Others might have unsightly odors, would you want yours tightly squeezed with the stinky coat? 


2.  Walls, living room upholstery and carpets.

One of the first things people notice upon entering one's home are furniture, carpet and sometimes walls especially bright ones.  If there are noticeable stains, they can be an eyesore.  So don't forget to spruce them up.  There are many cleaning products that one can get to clean upholstery and carpet.  Check for items that contain Scotch guard, this will help prevent a stain in case your guests accidentally spill liquids or food on your furniture.

3.  Top of refrigerator and inside it including vegetable and fruit storage drawers.

These drawers are sometimes overlooked because they always have something in them, but when you are expecting company you might want to check them.  Be sure to remove old containers of food, produce bags, etc.  They tend to leave an odor every time the refrigerator is opened and closed.  Consider purchasing baking soda and other types of products that keep down refrigerator and freezer odors that can affect the way your food tastes.

4.  The range hood of your stove.

Dust and grease gets trapped on the top and inside the screen that collects grease.  Take the small screen out and let it soak in a good cleaner that will loosen up grease.  Take a cloth dipped in cleaner and wipe the fan.

5.  Inside your microwave.

Some people just don't think about the poor microwave.  Spill after spill, grease, hair, crumbs--you name it in the microwave.  Just imagine, your host offering to heat your food, and surprise, "What the?  I changed my mind, don't bother heating my food,"  your guest says with a look of disgust.

6.  Behind the doors of your rooms and along your baseboards.

When one is vacuuming, he or she doesn't think about those corner areas and so in time they begin to collect all sorts of dust balls and debris.  Take a moment to use a detachable hose connected to a vacuum to suck those items up in corners and along the baseboards.  If you don't have one, use a damp cloth, wipe and pick up with a broom, one's hand or a portable vacuum.

7.  Drawers in your living room area that are easily accessible to your guests.

A stuffed drawer can be an eyesore and also embarrassing if private items are stored in it where all eyes can see.  Open up those cabinets and drawers in the living room, taking great care to remove clutter and put away items that might be considered offensive.

8.  Medicine cabinet.

Expired items, things one never uses, and so much more can be found in a medicine cabinet.  Put the things away you don't want anyone to know about, so that your visitors aren't whispering behind your back, "Did you know she is on that medicine...wow she must be really messed up...I heard..."  Get the point?

9.  Inside and outside bathroom cabinet and drawers.

Host will be sure to have the bathroom fixtures and counter tops sparkling, but forget that sometimes busybodies like to peek in cabinets and drawers.  If something is needed to clean the bathroom or deodorize it after an accident, the guest will have a problem trying to find it if everything is stuffed beyond capacity.

10.  Toilet especially around it and behind it.

How many times have you seen a nasty, smelly toilet?  Sometimes people will remember to clean the seat and the inside, but what about around it and behind it.  Drippings should be cleaned up, they can be seen if the bathroom light hits them right.

11.  Around the shower door and other crevices around the bathroom.

Mold and mildew can hide just about anywhere, but in the bathroom is definitely a sign to guests of uncleanliness.  Purchase mold and mildew cleaners and also bleach.  Before you know it, your whole bathroom will just sparkle.  It doesn't hurt to touch it up with a few bathroom accents or a paint job, if needed.

12.  Dusting including wiping off or changing items that have sat awhile ie.) bedding, drapery, heating/cooling vents, and fans.

Ever been somewhere where you know no one has changed the bedding for months and didn't bother to vacuum?  The dust can be overwhelming and don't mention the dust mites, ugh!  Start taking some items down and washing like the screen covers for the bathroom fan, living room, and kitchen area if need be.  Change heating and cooling air filters, so that your guests who have environmental allergies aren't aggravated.  Steam clean if necessary items like drapery and upholstery.  There are some great, affordable steam cleaners that will help with your steam cleaning tasks.

13.  Patio area.

A great place to entertain your guests when the weather is expected to be nice and also a good place for smokers.  Make it comfortable for your visitors.  Put away unsightly looking things, add a tad bit of holiday decor and seating along with ash trays, and before you know it, you have one nice area to kindly escort some loved ones to.

14.  Basement/Attic.

Who would go up there?  You might think, but sometimes you never know.  Maybe you need someone to get a special something from any one of those places, but there is far too much stuff for that person to get around.  On a cold winter day, a house can get stuffy especially when one hadn't anticipated so many little visitors.  The attic or basement can be a great place for children to bring toys and play without being the center of attention amongst some stressed adults.  Pack up those collectibles, donate some items, organize some of your miscellaneous goods, and make room for the kids, just in case.

Now that you have 14 simple things to check around your home, you just might find a few more.  When your loved ones mean the most to you, it is always best to do more for their comfort, than less.  Cleaning can be overwhelming, but it is better to be talked about for the great time everyone had and how you treated them, then to be remembered for having the unclean, disorganized and cluttered home.

Nicholl McGuire author of When Mothers Cry and other books.  See blog here.

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