Holidays can make even the most rational person wish that guy in the red suit had a magic potion with her name on it and an extra spot in his sleigh. With all the stress of cooking, preparation, and gifting, the last thing you want is to tackle the mess left. If no one thought to give you a gift card for maid service, here are a few ways to handle the clean-up.
1. Tackle it as it happens
From spilled beverages to plates in the sink, it’s best to deal with messes as you go. While it might seem exhausting to clean as you go, it’s a lot less stressful than facing a mountain of dishes and no clean forks. Spills are less likely to become set-in stains if handled immediately. Plus there’s a good chance if your guests watch you in clean mode, they’ll be a little more helpful and neat. Hey, there’s always a chance.
2. Learn the difference between right away and in a day
You will save yourself a lot of energy if you break down the tasks into manageable chunks. Remove the stress of the post-holiday cleanup by deciding what must be done now and what can wait. Cleaning your kitchen must be done now, while making your guest bed with freshly laundered sheets can probably wait.
3. Clean the linens
Even if they seem spot free, clean the table linens after each gathering. Spots from salad dressings or clear juices can look fine the day of, but they often turn into brown permanent stains by morning. If you have even a little time, clear your table linens, pretreat the spots you see, and soak them overnight, running the rest of the cycle in the morning before the next set of guests arrives.
4. Give bathrooms a thorough scrub
Bathrooms may be some of the most disgusting places, but they are also some of the most rewarding to clean because the effects are so obvious. Scrub the shower and bath, wipe down the mirrors and the sink, wash the towels, mop the floors, and clean the toilet.
5. Deal with stains
It’s amazing the number of spills that can happen in a house filled with people. Try these helpful suggestions:
- For candle wax on a tablecloth, place a brown paper bag over the spot and iron it (on an ironing board). The bag absorbs the melted wax.
- For muddy shoe prints, remind yourself to place plenty of runners down next year to protect your carpets. Next, depending on how thick the mud is, either let it dry and brush it (as in the case of very thick mud) or use a chamois to soak it up (for wet sludge) and spray with carpet cleaner.
- For red wine on fabric, pour white wine into the spill immediately and then wash in cold water and ammonia. For white wine, wash in cold water and ammonia. For wine on the carpet, pour yourself a glass. Repeat until it’s no longer a concern.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
The amount of work that goes into preparing, hosting, and recovering from the holidays can be exhausting. Another tip to getting your home spick-and-span after a holiday celebration: begin immediately recruiting someone to host next year’s holiday gathering!
But, seriously. Holiday gatherings are all about togetherness and enjoyment of the good times. So, the sixth tip is this: ask for help in advance, with a designated cleaning crew made up of some of your guests. Usually, people are willing to take some of the burden if you’ve hosted them. Don’t be afraid to ask! And if they say no, that’s one way to shorten your guest list for next time!