A guide to preparing your home before holiday guests arrive

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This is a sponsored post from The Libman Company. However, all opinions are 100% my own.

Entertaining during the holidays can be such an awesome treat. It can also cause you to want to rip your hair out of your head. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Entertaining can be a breeze with the right preparation. Whether you’re having family stay at your house during Christmas or just plan to throw a killer holiday party, preparing your house for people to come over can be joy-filled, not stress-inducing.

If you follow me, you know I’m the creator of the #homemakerish movement. The ish is your permission not to be perfect, but to instead approach modern homemaking with grace and fun by doing it the way that’s best for you. So, here’s something I want to be super clear about: cleaning your house for a party or your house guests isn’t about perfection. It isn’t about comparison or wanting them to think you live a Pinterest-perfect existence. It’s all about making it inviting for them and easy for you. When your house is clean, you’re more welcoming. You’re more at ease with people coming over and are inviting to those that stop by. You’re not worried the entire time about the state of your bathroom or the pile of laundry shoved in a corner. When you’re happy, your guests will be happy. A clean house is the start of a welcome home, and it’s all unique to your particular situation.

Here’s how you can whip your house into shape and places to concentrate on before those guests come a-knockin’

Declutter: Yes, declutter. The mack daddy of making cleaning easier is getting rid of the junk that stands in your way of making the cleaning easier. Cleaning around clutter is like shoveling during a blizzard. Plus, having guests over for the holidays is the perfect excuse to take a few garbage bags and boxes and get rid of what isn’t serving you anymore. Especially for those of us who celebrate the holidays with gifts, there will be more “stuff” coming into your home this month, so why not make room for it by tossing what is cluttering your life. If you’re having trouble with where to start, my good friend Allie Casazza has you covered. She is the minimalist queen.

Refrigerator: That’s right. Your guests, whether they are staying for a long period or just a few hours for a killer party, would love to open the fridge to grab a drink and not wonder what that sticky stuff on their soda can is. If it’s anything like my house, it’s probably jelly or syrup. Cleaning out your refrigerator is much easier than people often make it. You don’t have to do a long, intensive deep cleaning to make it look good. Wipe it out with warm water, a few drops of dish soap and a good sponge (Libman has fantastic sponges to use in the kitchen.) Start by removing all expired products, then wipe down the drawers and shelves with the warm water and dish soap. The sponge is great for removing the extra-sticky stuck-on messes, but the warm/hot water will do a lot of the work for you.

Guest room: Maybe this isn’t your actual guest room. Maybe it’s just your son’s room that your guests will be staying in. Either way, it’s important to make it “guest ready.” This doesn’t mean spotless. This doesn’t mean breaking your back to clean every nook and cranny. The basics will do.

  • Dust: Dust the furniture, ceiling fans and remove cobwebs. If you have a Libman Spin Mop, it works great for removing the cobwebs from the corners up high or down low.
  • Vacuum: If the floors are carpeted, this is a pretty easy, but important step. Just give the floors a thorough vacuum before your guests arrive.
  • Clean the floors. If there isn’t any carpeting, be sure to dust mop with a quality tool, like the Libman Microfiber Floor Duster. Get under that furniture and grab all those dust bunnies. Once it’s dusted, give it a thorough washing. The Libman Spin Mop is perfect for this.
  • Clean sheets on the bed: This is a given, but I figured I would add this in here. You don’t have to buy specific guest sheets. Cleaning the ones you already have is good enough if you aren’t in the market to buy or store guest sheets.
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Bathroom: Again, maybe this is the dedicated guest bathroom or a bathroom that everyone will be using. This is one of the places I tend to concentrate on the most. I realize my guests won’t be grading me on the cleanliness of the bathroom, but I want it to look and feel clean when they are using it. This means doing the regular cleaning of the toilet, tub, shower and sink, but also paying closer attention to the floor, the area are the toilet, the fixtures and the cabinets. It’s just extra touches that give a sense of hospitality, even if it only takes you 10 extra minutes. And because I’m a little OCD about it, I have all the towels trifolded. Just looks...nice.

If you have a tiled shower and the grout is looking a little dingy these days, take some extra time to remove any mold or mildew if you can. A baking soda paste left on the grout lines for a few hours works wonders. Spray it with vinegar when you’re ready to clean and watch it bubble up. Chemistry at work. Use a large scrub brush, like the Libman Big Scrub Brush to clean the grout. Use circular motions to remove as much as the mold and soap scum as possible. The big scrub brush is great for doing large tiled walls or floors because of it’s size, rigidity, and the handle that gives you more leverage. If you need to get into small corners, try the small tile and grout brush.

Microwave: Much in the same way as the refrigerator, a clean microwave just makes your kitchen LOOK and feel cleaner without having to do much work at all. And you don’t have to do any scrubbing, my friend. Take a sponge, like this sponge from Libman, dampen with water and “cook” in the microwave for 60-90 seconds. When it’s done, let it sit for 2-3 minutes to let the steam do it’s thang, and voila. You can wipe the microwave clean from there. The steam helps even the most cooked-on food particles release from the microwave so you can wipe it out with a cloth. If you find your microwave is particularly messy, go another round with the sponge and let the steam work for longer. I’ve seen this work on even the grossest, messiest, dirtiest of microwaves.

All the small things: Maybe your overnight guests won’t notice, but cleaning areas like remotes, doorknobs, light switches and phones is just a good idea before and after your guests are there. Why? Because germs. Use an all-purpose disinfecting wipe, or a damp cloth with white vinegar or all-purpose spray to wipe down all the small areas that collect grime and germs from little hands.


Libman spin mop wiping the dust off baseboard heaters so I don't have to bend down to do it. WIN!

Libman spin mop wiping the dust off baseboard heaters so I don't have to bend down to do it. WIN!

Baseboards and doors: There is a hilarious meme that I have seen that says “When you’re at your family’s house for dinner, be sure to compliment their baseboards because that’s what the spent all day yesterday cleaning.” That. Is. So. True. But here’s the reason we care about baseboards. When they are clean areas like the baseboards, molding or doors, it makes the house feel clean. It can give the illusion that your entire house is spotless even if you know that isn’t even close to true. Baseboards, especially those that are white, frame the room and when they are clean, they give such a sense of accomplishment in the arena of cleaning. On a logistical end, baseboards and molding catch a lot of dust so cleaning them removes allergens from the air.

You can use a damp cloth (with vinegar, your favorite all-purpose cleaner, some essential oils, or just water) to clean baseboards, doors and molding with caked-on dirt. You can also use the Libman Spin Mop as I mentioned before to clean baseboards that just have a light layer of dust on them. No bending over and you can use it up high as well. Score one for repurposing your tools!

Once you’ve cleaned, here are a few ways to make your guest’s experience at your home welcoming, without complicating your life.

Leave towels in their room: Whether they have a guest bathroom or not, it’s nice to just leave a few towels for them. Guests don’t usually like to go through your closets.

Make up a guest basket: You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to do this. A basket from Home Goods or Target will do. Fill it with

  • Soaps
  • Lotions
  • Hand-written card
  • Gift cards to local coffee shops or stores they can visit while in town
  • Gum
  • Ibuprofen (not that you’ll be giving them a headache or anything)

Stock the fridge or pantry with things they like: It’s always nice when I go to stay with someone and they asked ahead of time what we like to eat or drink. I’m so go-with-the-flow that I will always take whatever is there, but that extra touch is so nice.

Be clear about your schedule and stick to it (and let go of the guilt!): So many people worry that they won’t be able to stick to their normal routines or schedules with guest staying in the home. While you want them to feel welcome, it is also ok to be clear with your guests about your daily schedule and what you have planned. Invite them to come along or let them know they can stay in the house. You can still live your life with guests in your home, especially around the busy holiday season.

Even if you are a "Cleaning doesn't suck that bad" kinda mom, keeping a running tally of all the things that need to be cleaned in the house can be a daunting task! Sign up below to join The Mother Like a Boss Vault and gain free access to home management printables, worksheets, mini courses, audio lessons and more! This vault is your key to all things #homemakerish and it's totally free.