It’s that time of year again! The holidays are just around the corner and while you’re planning outfits for your upcoming events and shopping for loved ones, getting your house ready for this joyous time may be the last thing on your mind. Here are 5 ways to keep you on track preparing your house for the holidays!

 1. Start by creating a list
No matter how many blogs or “how-to’s” you Google for tips on getting your house holiday ready, you know your house better than anyone – and you know what really needs to get tackled! Start early and create a list of items that are important to you. Cleaning out the garage might not be on everyone’s list, but if it’s on yours then now is the time to get started.

  2. Declutter and clean
Let’s be real, none of us want to show anyone how we really live! Time to put away those home décor magazines sprawled across the dining table, wipe down countertops and other surfaces, and let’s not forget about the kid’s toys – time to hide them from ‘adult’ spaces for a little while! Also, don’t forget to tidy your entrance and make space in your front closet for guests’ jackets and shoes. You don’t want to be fumbling with your guests’ coats after they’ve arrived not knowing where to put them.

If you are short on time or in a hurry, consider a few items worth tossing to speed along your decluttering process:

  • Broken toys or toys missing pieces
  • Tired or broken holiday décor
  • Countertop appliances that no longer work properly
  • Stained Tupperware or bottoms missing lids
  • Old magazines, newspapers/ ads, junk mail

Now that your space is recognizable again (oh, there’s that coffee table in my living room!), it’s time to make sure your home is clean. Vacuum, mop, wipe windows and mirrors, clean toilets and sinks, etc. Devote more attention on areas you know your guests will be spending most of their time and gradually move onto rooms that won’t be frequented much.

3. Prepare guest rooms
If you are hosting overnight guests this year, the room they’ll be sleeping in requires some extra attention. Wash sheets, pillowcases and comforters. Wipe down blinds and wash drapes if they’re dusty. Ensure there are adequate drawer/ closet space for your guests’ belongings (some of your things may need to be re-located for the time being).

As an extra special sentiment, consider preparing a small basket of items your guests may have forgotten. Things such as dental floss, soap or shampoo, slippers, extra towels, a scented candle – anything you think will help them feel more at home. Attach a bow to the basket and place it on a dresser or a freshly made bed with a welcome note. This will surely allow your guests to enjoy the holidays even more in your home!

4. Decorate!
Now that your house is tidy, it’s time to bring out the holiday decorations! Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kuwanzaa or hosting New Year’s Eve, turn on some music and enjoy the ‘pretty’ side of getting your house ready for the holidays. You’ve earned it after all your hard work cleaning!

5. Stock up on snacks
Unexpected visitors are common during the holidays. Sure, it’s not always at the most convenient time, but their intention is good! Keeping extra goodies on hand will help you feel prepared for when that doorbell rings. Having something to offer extended family or friends to snack on while they’re in your home will make your guests feel most welcome – even if their visit is short.

A few quick fixes that won’t go bad in a hurry include:

  • Pretzels or popcorn
  • Pre-made hummus dips and crackers
  • Pillsbury ( ready-to-make cookies, croissants or cinnamon buns
  • Frozen appetizers (most can be prepared in the oven in less than 20 minutes!)

While hosting family and friends during the holidays can make some of the best moments of the year, the holidays can also be one of the most stressful times of the year if you’re not prepared. Planning ahead and preparing your home in advance will allow you to enjoy your time with company and feel less overwhelmed – so you can really enjoy the holidays!

What are your best tips to get your house ready for the holidays? Comment below!