Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday's Household Assignment-Get ready for the Holidays!

This week is the week to get your house ready for the upcoming Holidays. As much as I hate to say it, it's time to do a really deep cleaning. UGH. I hate this post because it means that I have to do it too.

Once you get started, it goes pretty fast. I have to work quite a bit this week so I won't have the luxury of just spending a whole day cleaning, I'll have to break it up. Obviously, the most important place to start is where your guests and family will be spending most of their time. Here are some things to do and some techniques for doing them: First grab a couple of old toothbrushes, you'll need them.

General Cleaning:
  • When you clean always clean from the top down. Do your dusting and wiping down first before you vacuum and dust the top shelves first and work down. This way any dust or dirt you disturb falls down onto a dirty surface not a clean one. 
    • This is the time to remove everything from shelves before cleaning it instead of just dusting around the items. 
      • Knickknack Shelves or Picture Shelves: I take everything off the shelves and put them on the floor. I wipe off each shelf with a damp microfiber cloth and then wipe down each item before putting them back. Rearranging your shelves will give a new look to your room without spending a dime. 
      • Book Shelves: I don't take all the books off!  I just take a vacuum with the brush attachment and vacuum the tops of the books and them wipe the shelves around them. When you place books on shelves, insert some stacks of books that are laying on top of each other and some other items to break up a long span of standing books. It gives a shelf some visual interest.
    •  Go around each room and using a damp cloth and maybe a bit of vinegar, wipe off all of the face plates and any smudges and marks on the walls or, in my case this morning, the ceiling. How did my kids get a hand print on the ceiling? I don't think I want to know. Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser is great for marks on walls, but only use it on walls painted with flat paint and you can't scrub too hard or the paint will come off.  Don't forget to wipe down all the doors, too.
    • Wipe down the baseboards. I use a damp microfiber cloth and a toothbrush for this. The baseboards don't look that grungy until you start then you have to do the entire room because you can see the difference. 
    • The last cleaning chore in a room will be vacuuming. 
      • First take the time to vacuum the insides of the chairs and sofas. Remove the cushions and vacuum the cracks and crevasses of the furniture and the bottoms of the cushions.  If you think that there might be some earrings or valuable items in those creases, take a nylon knee high stocking and elastic band it around the tip of the wand. This will catch all the big items and hold them. Once you get all the big stuff caught, remove the stocking and vacuumed up all the crumbs.
      • When you vacuum for deep cleaning go around the baseboards, edges  and corners of the room with the hose attachment to get all the dist and  stuff that the vacuum reall never picks up,  then vacuum as usual.  Don't forget to get under the furniture.
    • Bathrooms- Get an old toothbrush and use it around the faucets and the faucet handles.

        I also use a different one old toothbrush around the base of each toilet. I throw this one away as soon as I've finished cleaning around all the toilets so I don't accidentally use it by the sinks. 
      • Go get a holiday candle to set in the guest bath and some seasonal air freshener for guests to use if they need it!!! LOL
      • I know it's tacky and wasteful but I have a roll of paper towels in my guest bathroom instead of cloth guest towels. They're on a cute red holder! Unless your guests are washing their hands for 2 full choruses of Happy Birthday, they're not getting many germs off of their hands before using a guest towel which means that the towel is a cesspool of germs. To prevent the spread, I use paper towels for guests. I do try to get the rolls of cute holiday print.
      • Hide an small air freshener on the floor behind the toilet. It will smell fresh without being obvious.

    • Kitchen
      • This is the week to run a cleaning cycle on your oven if you have it. That way anything in there won't burn as you run your oven for hours, making Thanksgiving dinner. If you don't have a self cleaning oven, do a good scrub and wipe out to get ready for baking. 
      • Take the vacuum and vacuum out the silverware holders. I hate it when we have a ton of company and I empty out a holder to find lots of crumbs in the bottom- Yuck! 
      • Scrub and bleach your sink. Fill the sink with hot water and add a cup of bleach. Let it sit until the water has cooled. Your sink will be sparkling clean and disinfected. Throw your sponges and scrubbers in to soak too. 
      • Wipe down all the cabinet and drawer fronts with a damp cloth. 
      • Clean off the junk pile and your desk. Sort it all out and put it away. 
      • Sweep and mop the floors. Really get into those corners with- you guesses it- A toothbrush. I told you it was deep cleaning. 
    • Bedrooms- Same in here: dust, walls, door, baseboards,  and vacuum
    • Getting ready for guests:
      • If company will be staying over, have a basket filled and ready to set out in the bathroom for guests. I have one and it holds travel sizes of: shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, deodorant,  a new disposable razor, shaving cream, a new toothbrush and toothpaste, lotion and mouthwash, plus some little paper cups. This helps out guests who may have forgotten one of these items. Make sure that there are easy to reach extra rolls of toilet paper near the toilet.
      • If you have the luxury of a separate guest room,  Put clean sheets on the bed and fresh towels in the room. I wash sheets after a guest leaves but I fold them and make the bed just before company comes so that the bed is freshly made. 
      • If you don't have a guest room and will be using a kids room for guests. Have a spare set of sheets for that bed that are for company only. Have them washed, folded and ready to use along with a set of towels for each guest. Keep them all together so that when you need to "flip" the room you'll have everything that you need to get it ready in a few minutes.
      •  Make sure that there are some empty hangers in the closet for their hanging items and a place to set their suitcase. I have a couple of those folding luggage stands for guests to use.
      • Set a few newer magazines next to the beds for bedtime reading.
      • Make sure that there are tissues in the room as well. 
    I'm off to scrub and clean. Have a great week. 


      Erin M. said...

      Wow, Margaret! What a great list! I'm sorry to say I'm nowhere near the housekeeper that you are. I don't think I've ever vacuumed the tops of my books w/ my vacuum cleaner...I should definitely do it now~!

      Jody said...

      DRAT! You mean it is time to clean... DRAT!!

      blueviolet said...

      I found this incredibly useful. I'm guilty of neglecting my baseboards, big time. You've convinced me it can make a big difference.

      I never thought to do the sink cleaning with bleach. I always scrub it clean. You're too smart! Except last time I soaked my scrubby sponges in bleach (because of gnats) they disintegrated. I imagine the water/bleach combo would be fine though.

      Thanks so much for these tips!

      Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

      I am going to have to live vicariously on this that okay??

      kys said...

      Ha! Finally, I'm doing something right. I started the kitchen cleaning this weekend and did the oven today, too. And the baseboards. Go me.

      Unknown Mami said...

      I can never get my husband to understand the top down cleaning. He always starts by vacuuming. Drives me crazy!

      Holly said...

      I need a list like this...really bad. I always forget something. FANTASTIC!

      Holly said...

      I need a list like this...really bad. I always forget something. FANTASTIC!

      Holly said...

      I need a list like this...really bad. I always forget something. FANTASTIC!

      Holly said...

      I need a list like this...really bad. I always forget something. FANTASTIC!

      Holly said...

      I need a list like this...really bad. I always forget something. FANTASTIC!

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