Ok guys, I know that Labor Day literally just happened, but fall is quickly approaching and the holidays will be here before we know it! I'm not suggesting you start your holiday decorating before the leaves have even turned, although the craft stores are already stocked for Christmas! Today, I'm sharing 6 things that you can do now (in September) to make getting your home ready for entertaining and holiday guests so much easier. Let's just call this your Pre-Holiday Home Prep Checklist.
1. Declutter your entry
Make a better first impression starting with where guests will enter your home. I don't know about you, but the space to right of our kitchen door is a major shoe drop zone. Start packing away flip-flops and summer gear, add some cute baskets and/or a boot tray to corral shoes and a few hooks for coats and bags. If you are lucky enough to have a hall closet, clear it out! Donate anything that no longer fits or that you never wear to make space for guests to hang their coats. Upgrade to wood hangers that will stand up better to heavy wool coats and winter outerwear.
2. Deep clean & organize your fridge
If you are hosting any holiday parties, a clean and organized refrigerator and freezer will make your food prep so much easier! Get rid of any outdated food items, nearly empty condiment bottles, and the leftovers that have been hiding in the back since who knows when. Go shelf by shelf, pulling all of your items out and giving all surfaces a good wipe down. Maybe even try some new organization tricks to help you maintain your newly cleaned and organized fridge! I recently bought two clear organizing trays from Dollar General. I have a smaller one on the top shelf that's filled with jars of pickles, olives, and minced garlic. I cook with onions a lot, so I also throw bags with leftover slices in there so I will see them and remember to use them. The second one is one our middle shelf and is filled with different kind of salsa and hummus. Anthony really loves chips and dip! Just having those two trays has made it so much easier to for me keep our fridge organized and find what I'm looking for easily.
3. Identify & purge common sources of clutter
Get yourself ahead of the cleaning game by identifying and reducing the major sources of clutter in your home. For us, it's old magazines, junk mail, books, electronics cords/accessories and orphan socks. For you, it might be kid's toys, mismatched tupperware containers, or kitchen gadgets. I'm all about designing new systems that will help me keep the house neater on a day-to-day basis. Now that I work from home, having clutter around bothers me so much more! Every season, I try to get rid of all but the most current editions of our favorite magazines. I do like having a few to set out on the coffee table or in our guest rooms, but there are two months until Thanksgiving so we'll be getting new magazines before then! Junk mail is a serious problem for the Storck household. All of our bills are paid online, so most of what we get is junk mail and advertisements. I'm trying to start going through the mail on the way in from our mailbox so I can throw out the unimportant things before I go back into the house.
4. "Quiet" your home decor
If you're someone who goes all out with seasonal decorations, take some time to clear away accessories and tchotckes that haven't been moved in a while. It will give you a chance to dust, but it will also be easier to decorate for the holidays when you have a blank canvas to work with. Focus on surfaces like tabletops and shelves where you decorate the most. Clear away picture frames, trinkets, candles and floral arrangements and start with a more sparse tabletop styling that leaves room for filling in with seasonal items. Who knows? You may even fall in love with the understated look and go more minimal with your holiday decor.
Here's a peek from last year's Christmas House Tour!
5. Detail your dining chairs
If your dining room doesn't get a lot of use during the year, now's the time to check everything over. Are any of the chairs shaky or in need of repair? It's better to take care of that now instead of risking that one breaks while a guest is sitting in it. That's just a recipe for embarrassment for everyone involved! Once everything is in good working order, give your dining set a good wipe down. After several meals with our nieces, our dining chairs are looking a little grimy. Good thing they are white plastic and very easy to wipe clean! If your dining chairs have upholstered seats, I recommend spot cleaning and maybe even protecting with Scotch Guard before your next party.
6. Refresh Guest Bedroom & Bathroom
You may not do a lot of seasonal decorating in your guest bedroom or bathroom, but there are some other ways to get them ready for holiday guests. Upgrade your guest bath with some new hand towels, soaps and maybe a new rug. I love using small area rugs or runners in bathrooms instead of a typical shaggy bath mat. I use a hotel style bath mat towel to protect it from wet feet coming out of the shower. Buy some fresh new sheets and bedding for the guest room. It's a quick way to refresh the whole look of the room! I'm partial to hotel white bed linens, accented with colorful pillows and a throw at the foot of the bed. Everyone has a smartphone these days, so provide guests with your home's wifi password with a cute print, like this one I made. Buy it at Revolt Style Studio at 24 N. Beaver Street in York, or as an instant download printable in my shop!