December 2, 2015

Ten Holiday Housekeeping Hacks

Rachel Weems

A messy home, impromptu guests and a daunting to do list of chores can kill the holiday spirit faster than a sold out sign on Black Friday.  Keep your sanity and housework in check this holiday season with our list of ten smart solution housekeeping hacks.  Swap your cleaning gloves for a pair of mittens and get back to what really matters this holiday season!

  1. Make the beds. Almost every housekeeping advice article will tell you that making the bed daily is one of the easiest things you can do to instantly make your home look pulled together.  While a messy bed isn’t aesthetically pleasing, it also isn’t inviting to sleep in either.
  2. Create a scentsational space. Engage the senses and create a feeling of comfort, cleanliness and warmth in your home with carefully placed candles and air fresheners.  While I’m a Bath and Body Works candle enthusiast (Sweater Weather anyone?), I’ve loved using cinnamon scented pinecones as a centerpiece in our dining room this year (see recent dining room post).  Our dining room is next to our front door so it’s in the perfect proximity to greet our guests with a dreamy nostalgic seasonal scent.
  3. Focus on high traffic areas. When your energy is drained (or better spent enjoying the season’s festivities), focus your efforts only on the areas your guests will see.  Typically this will include the front entrance, kitchen, living room and main bathroom.  While in an ideal world we’d all find the time to deep clean the whole house, not miss a corner and still have enough pep left in us to attend a slew of holiday happenings, this is likely not your reality… and definitely not ours’!
  4. Find the solution in storage. As you make your way through your home tidying, collect clutter and items that don’t belong in a laundry basket.  Don’t overwhelm yourself with finding a home for all of these items right now.  Instead, utilize your storage options or spare bedrooms and tuck the basket temporarily out of sight.  Just remember to revisit it in January and tackle the clutter then!
  5. Master speed cleaning. Ruth, blogger and author of the book Living Well, Spending Less is the guru when it comes to maintaining a happy, balanced household on a budget.  She supercharged her typical speed cleaning ritual for the holidays when time is short and precious.  Check out the process in full detail and even download a free printable checklist to keep you on pace.  This turbo track to cleaning will help you cover the basics in no time!
  6. Keep an eye on key kitchen spots. It’s no secret that the kitchen is the hub of the house and likely where your guests will gather.  It’s also no secret that this can quickly become the dirtiest room in the home.  Create the look of a tidied kitchen when you’re running low on time by zeroing in on key spots like the sink and countertops.  A sparkling clean kitchen sink and clutter free countertops will go a long way when you don’t have time to deep clean everything else.

To deep clean a stainless steel sink in seconds, pick up a can of Bar Keeper’s Friend next time you’re out.  It’s a budget friendly buy that can be found in the cleaning section of most stores and will really do a number on the lime and food build up that normal rinsing leaves behind!  Check out Jessica’s blog,, for a quick tutorial.

  1. Refresh your living room. Fluff the throw pillows on the couch and fold any blankets.  Remove any dishes from the coffee table and stow stacks of mail or magazines in your designated clutter hideaways if you can’t part with them yet.  Welcome guests to a living room that looks clean and orderly, and not like someone’s bedroom.
  2. Shut the door. Most likely there will be rooms you didn’t have time to clean or where you’ve hidden the clutter.  Don’t be afraid to close the doors to the rooms that are “off-limits.”  Your guests will never know the mess that’s hiding inside.
  3. Redecorate with what you already have. If your home could use a face lift before holiday entertaining, don’t dig into the holiday budget just yet!  Often we gravitate toward the same style throughout our home, so take a look at your inventory and see what you can move around to freshen things up!  Maybe you can swap the living room and guest room throw pillows or you rearrange some picture frames?  Perhaps it’s as simple as moving a plant or using the spare linens for a change?  A little creativity and trial and error can go a long way when it comes to revamping your home with what you already own!
  4. Less really is more. Chances are we all have a little too much ‘stuff’ crammed in our homes.  And chances are, we feel obligated to use it all… at once!  This season, why not take a new approach and pull some items into storage for a lighter look?  This could be as simple as tucking away the blender to free up some counter space.  De-cluttering your space will instantly open it up and streamline the room.  Not to mention, environments with open space and order tend to be less stressful… something we could all use a little more of around the hectic holidays!

Happy stress-free tidying!

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