Hosting a holiday party is plenty of fun, but preparing your house for guests can take a whole lot of work. It's the most hectic time of the year, so we don't blame you if you happened to put cleaning and organizing on the back burner until now.
If you need some help now that it's getting down the wire, consider it handled. Shop TODAY has put together a guide to help get your entire house ready for that upcoming holiday soiree, whether you have one week or a day to prepare.
If you have one week to clean....
If you've got the time, pick up a few festive hand towels and toss them in a basket in your bathroom. It's a nice touch and great for anyone who's a bit of a germaphobe (aren't we all these days?!). This set from Target comes in three cheerful designs, including a snowman one you can use all season long.
We love cleaning solutions that do the work for us, and this affordable find works to keep your toilet bowl free of stains as it cleans and deodorizes with every flush. It's super easy to use: Simply drop a tablet into the tank, flush then sit back as it works its magic for up to four weeks.
There's nothing more embarrassing than heading to a friend's house for a party and having an upset stomach in the middle of the festivities. For those times when you want to hide the evidence and leave the air feeling nice and fresh, this "before you go" toilet spray comes in ultra handy. The festive name is also pretty adorable!
We don't know about you, but we always feel better after giving our bathroom a thorough cleaning. Sure, it's not our favorite activity, but there's something rewarding about seeing the sink, toilet and door handles really sparkle. It also helps make guests feel more at home, so it's worth carving out a half-hour and disinfecting the whole room while you're making other party preparations!
Your living room
Clean floors always make a good first impression when guests arrive to a party, so it's worth taking 10 minutes to run this easy-to-use mop over your floors to freshen them up. The set comes with one Swiffer WetJet, one cleaner and five cleaning pads that trap dirt and grime. It's also safe to use on almost every type of floor, including hardwood!
Messes happen, but you can easily hide the evidence with a handheld vacuum that sucks up stray crumbs on the couch or dropped snacks under your end table, like this affordable model from Bissell. The $42 find is ideal for anyone with kids or pets and comes with a convenient USB charger that can power up devices in the car or at home.
To cut down on post-party cleaning, we always like to stash a boot tray at the door and encourage guests to ditch their wet boots while they're enjoying the night. You can even encourage folks to bring holiday socks or slippers and hand out a prize for the most creative pair!
If it's been a few months since you dusted (no judgment here!), it's time to clear the air before your soiree starts. This extendable duster makes the boring chore a bit more bearable and ranges in length from 24" (for easy storage) to 54" (to get in those hard-to-reach spots). The two-sided pad is machine-washable and also features a flexible head that rotates 270 degrees.
Your kitchen/dining room
If you're expecting guests in the next week, it's always a good idea to set your dishwasher to the cleaning cycle and pop in one of these pods to help banish any lingering gunk. The cleaner removes grease and limescale buildup and nixes odors so your dishwasher is prepared for the onslaught of dishes that comes with any holiday party.
Most guests spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen during a party, so if you really want to go all out to help your house look spiffy, make your appliances shine with a bit of stainless steel cleaner. This set comes with one spray bottle, one microfiber cloth and one package of cleaning wipes that can be used on anything from refrigerators and microwaves to ovens, sinks and trash cans.
Want to really impress your guests? Spruce up your dinner table so it sparkles and shines with a cleaner like this reviving oil spray from Pledge. It's formulated with mineral oils and conditioners and moisturizes a variety of surfaces including tables, chairs and wood cabinets, making them look brand new.
Countertops can take a beating during the hustle and bustle of everyday life, so it's always a good idea to wipe them down and freshen them up a bit every once in a while, especially before company arrives. These disinfecting wipes are safe to use on granite, marble, quartz and other surfaces and work triple duty cleaning, disinfecting and adding shine.
If you have one day to clean...
Heading out to pick up some odds and ends before your holiday fête? Grab a box of these disposable hand towels so guests don't have to use a communal hand towel when they stop by your bathroom. These single-use towels are thick and absorbent and each pack comes with 60 so guests won't feel guilty using more than one.
When time is of the essence, quick cleaning solutions like this set from Clorox can help you freshen up your bathroom in a jiffy. The cleaning system includes one toilet wand, a storage caddy and 16 disposable refills that banish bacteria and viruses. The wand fits in every crevice, helping you clean quickly without wasting any time, and the sponges are easy to click off and toss in the trash when you're done.
Every second counts when you're running behind on your holiday party cleaning routine, and this spray disinfectant can save you a bit of time since it air dries on its own and doesn't need to be rubbed in. The cleaner is made without harsh chemicals like bleach, ammonia or dyes and infused with plant-derived ingredients that work overtime to clean up all sorts of messes.
It's the little touches that make the biggest impression and whenever we have guests on the way, we always love to light a candle in the bathroom to create a spa-like ambiance and add a delightful scent to the air. This soothing fragrance from Bath & Body Works smells just like fresh laundry and comes with a decorative lid.
Your living room
Don't have time to waste dusting? Make it easier to breathe with the help of an air purifier that gets to work quickly clearing the air. Levoit's bestselling model has 38,000+ five-star ratings on Amazon and starts improving the air quality in just 12 minutes, according to the brand. It also refreshes the air five times per hour, so it'll keep working as you're partying the night away.
Don't have time to clean your floors? Let a robotic vacuum do the work for you! Roborock's bestselling E4 vacuum cleaner tackles both floors and carpets with ease and has a sizable dustbin that stores plenty of debris so you don't have to keep emptying it. The best part? You can control it using your voice with Alexa and Google Home.
Instead of running around like a madwoman disinfecting odds and ends like remotes, toss them in a UV sanitizer that you'll use long after your party ends. This model from HomeSoap can be filled with remotes, phones, tablets, keys, watches, pacifiers and more and banishes 99.9% of bacteria and viruses in 10 minutes with the help of UV-C light.
Your kitchen/dining room
The perfectionist in us would love to get rid of all those dings and scratches on our table, but they'll have wait 'til the new year! With such little time to prepare, we tend to toss a festive tablecloth over the table to hide any imperfections. As an added bonus, it's an instant conversation starter!
Worried that guests will get a whiff of something less than fresh when they open your fridge? Toss a Chilly Mama inside and sit back as it locks odors in and helps circulate the air. Or perhaps you have a few friends that love to help in the kitchen and you're embarrassed by the state of the microwave. Pop an Angry Mama in there and wait as the steam helps loosen up stains, making cleaning quick and painless.
When it's crunch time and you really don't have time to organize all the snacks that are strewn across the kitchen counter and table, a storage basket can help you work miracles in minutes. These multitasking baskets can be used on their own or with a fabric liner to dress things up a bit.
For more stories like this, check out:
- Giada De Laurentiis shares her best tips for holiday hosting — including her kitchen must-have
- 31 holiday sanity savers to make hosting, decorating and more easier
- Mark your calendars! The 2021 holiday shipping deadlines you should know