Tidy these spots instead to get your home ready for company.
Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or inviting friends to celebrate the season, your kitchen and dining room should be in tip-top shape for guests.
I always try to do too much: washing the floors, scrubbing the cupboards (somehow, I only notice they're covered in coffee drips right before guests arrive), and then I’m scrambling to put out drinks and food when the doorbell rings.
Thankfully, you don't have to do a deep clean before hosting this holiday season, according to cleaning experts Becca Crandall, Owner of Beck Cleaning and Organization, and organizing expert Shantae Duckworth. Crandall said, “When preparing for holiday hosting, we recommend not stressing the small stuff and focusing on the big-ticket items.” Skip these five places so you can focus on high-traffic spots that guests will surely notice.
1) Don’t worry about cabinets, pantry, or drawers.
We’ve all been there, caught by the tidying bug when suddenly, you realize that your cutlery drawer is full of crumbs or your regularly organized pantry is overflowing with snacks. Distracted, you start to reorganize and clean, wasting precious hours tidying less noticeable spots. Duckworth advises against this, saying, “If your cabinets are closed, people are not going to go searching through them.”
Focus on creating clutter-free and clean countertops and tables.
Since kitchen surfaces see a ton of germ traffic (from crumbs to spills), wipe down and sanitize them. Remove unnecessary items and replace them with fresh flowers, fruit, or festive decorations. Crandall said, “A tidy kitchen sets a serene mood and welcomes guests to the heart of the home. We recommend removing any items that do not belong or that do not have a designated space.”
2) Don’t worry about washing windows, curtains or blinds.
Can’t remember the last time you washed your windows? Don’t sweat it now. Add it to your spring cleaning list, as the mild weather is better for completing this task. Try draping a garland over your windows to add a festive touch. Crandall said, “Dust may accumulate on curtains or blinds, but they can go longer between washes unless heavily soiled or allergens are a concern.”
Create an inviting tablescape instead.
Entertaining guests is an ideal time to take out your special serving ware and give it a rinse or polish. Organize your bar cart: get rid of any liquors that are past their prime and add mixers or garnishes for seasonal cocktails. Display glassware, bar supplies, and drinks neatly.
3) Don’t worry about the inside of the fridge and freezer.
Similarly to your cabinets and drawers, it’s unlikely that guests will open the fridge or freezer. Set out food before their arrival and prepare a drink station on the counter or a side table for ease. Even if you have to open the fridge to serve guests, no one expects to see an Instagram-worthy interior.
Focus on exterior appliances like your stove, fridge, or microwave.
While often overlooked, large appliances like the stove, fridge and microwave can easily become covered in grime or unsightly handprints. Since these are often the focal points of the kitchen, show these appliances a little love. Add some sparkle to your stainless-steel appliances by giving them a quick polish. Mix baking soda with water to a paste and rub onto the appliance. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes, and then wipe it clean with a damp cloth.
4) Don’t worry about all your kid’s (or pet’s) toys.
If you have kids or pets, you know it’s impossible to put away all their toys without a meltdown. Instead, focus on tidying most toys into a bin or play area so they’re out of the way. Leave a few toys out so that little ones have something to entertain themselves with or show off to company.
Focus on the garbage can or a smelly sink disposal.
A smelly bag of trash will certainly distract from the festivities, even if tucked away under the sink. Plus, you’ll be thanking yourself when you have one less task to do when the party is over. Remove trash right before guests arrive to prevent any unwanted odors. To remedy a malodorous garbage disposal, pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for ten minutes, then flush with hot water.
5) Don’t worry about baseboards or scuff marks.
If you have kids or dogs, you know that despite your best intentions, your house takes a beating. Don’t fret; most guests won’t notice minor dings on the wall or a dusty floorboard. Unless visibly dirty, you can skip cleaning them, according to Crandall.
Instead, make a simmer pot.
Real estate agents know that the secret to an inviting and welcoming home is a cozy, sweet scent. Easier than baking cookies or lighting a bunch of smelly candles, try making a simmer pot. In a large pot, combine your favorite aromatics and cover with water. Try fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme, hard spices like cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns and cloves, and cut fruit like apples, oranges, lemons, lime, and their peel. Simmer the mixture on low and replenish the water as necessary.
Read the original article on The Spruce Eats.