Sometimes, no matter how hard we work to keep our homes organized, life has a way of catching up to us. Somehow, it always seems to happen right before you have company over, particularly around the holidays. Even for those who pride themselves on keeping their homes running like clockwork, the holidays seem to raise a special sort of challenge. Between errands, concerts, and social events that we just can’t miss, something has to give, and often, the first something to go is any semblance of organization.
Of course, right as that happens, that’s when company decides to stop by and expose your mess for all to see. Fortunately, all is not lost. Even under the onslaught of other tasks to get done during this time of year, there are a few things you can do to make sure your home at least look organized when holiday guest arrive.
First Impressions Count
Your guests’ impression of your home starts as soon as they pull up to the house, no matter the time of year. If you don’t have the time to spend on your lawn, you can hire a lawn care service. Most services come on a regular schedule, so once you’ve engaged their services, you no longer have to worry about your yard and can focus on the rest of the house.
Focus on the Rooms the Guests Will See
When you only have so much time, you need to prioritize which rooms you will focus on. Ideally, your whole home will be presentable, but if that’s impossible, spend your efforts on the rooms visitors will see. In most cases, this will be the living room, the guest bathroom, and likely the kitchen.
Make the House Smell Nice
One of the first things people notice when walking into a freshly cleaned home is the smell. Put a pot of water on the stove and add a few drops of an essential oil. During the holidays, instead of essential oil, consider throwing some cinnamon sticks, cloves, lemon, and nutmeg into the pot to bring a festive aroma and set the atmosphere.
Bring In Some Light
Shadows can loom in rooms that are dimly lit, so brighten up the place. If you are entertaining during the day, open curtains and blinds to let in natural light. If your guests are coming in the evening, then turn the lights up in the rooms where the guests will be. If necessary, bring in extra lamps. Light opens up a room and makes it feel.
Clear the Tables, Counters, and Sitting Areas
Remove clutter from flat surfaces that are just below eye level, as those are what your guests are most likely to notice. If you don’t have time to sort where it goes, then place everything in a box you can set aside and sort through later. Fluff and organize throw pillows on sofas. Just the few seconds it takes will make the room feel more intentional and put-together.
Close Cabinets, Closets, and Cupboards
It seems simple, but it’s easy to forget. Keep cabinets, closets, and cupboard doors closed. Not only will it hide clutter you have not yet had the chance to organize, it will make the rooms feel bigger. Open doors have a tendency to crowd a space and make it feel small, but closing those doors instantly opens up the room more.
Take Out the Trash
A freshly emptied trash bin can do wonders to make your home look taken care of. Trash bins are always in use, and an empty bin doesn’t stay that way for long. Having it empty when your guests arrive gives the impression that you have prepared for them and that you are ready to entertain.
Do a Quick Sweep or Vacuum
I’m not talking about a deep clean of the house. Run a broom or vacuum over problem areas to remove obvious spills and crumbs. These sorts of messes can draw the eye, and cleaning them up really only takes a few minutes.