6 Brilliant Holiday Cleaning Hacks
You’ll find it all right here: solutions for preventing wasted time in the kitchen, ideas for speeding up the dining room set up, and answers for how to tackle the mess left in the holiday season’s wake (so daunting!). Give yourself a break and incorporate these pro-approved cleaning hacks before the holiday rush.
RELATED: Here's Everything You'll Need for Holiday Cleaning
Assembly an Emergency Cleaning Kit
Put together a cleaning kit of all of the supplies you might need before and during the get-together. Once the holiday party is in full swing, spills and stains are likely to happen, so having your tool kit assembled in advance will help you deal with the situation gracefully so you can quickly get back to the merriment.
In a caddy with a handle (like this stylish one from World Market, $10), collect some quick cleaning supplies. Stock up on Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, which make cleaning up messes and spills a snap. If you need to swiftly wipe up a gravy overflow on your stovetop during the party, just reach for one of these wipes. Add cleaning cloths, a multi-purpose spray, and some stain-removing sticks to round out your cleaning caddy.
Do a Quick Clean-up Before Guests Arrive
Before your holiday guests knock on the front door, take a few steps to save your sanity later. First, line the kitchen trashcan with multiple bags so when you take out a full load, another fresh bag is already in place.
If you plan to use your bedroom for coat and bag storage, spread a sheet over the duvet and pillows to keep them protected. If there are still stray items littering the living room, but no time to put them in their proper places, take a lap with a collapsible bin in which you can stash the clutter temporarily. But, the key is to stick a note on the side with a deadline for when you’ll clear it out and put things back in their right place.
Set Up in Advance
Start by setting the table a day or so early. Use a bar cart to transport all of your dishes into the dining room and leave it there for quick removal of dirty dishes post-meal (just one trip each way!).
While the utensils are out of the drawer, take that time to clean inside where crumbs have collected. Put the utensil caddy in the top rack of the dishwasher (or wipe it down with a rag dipped in warm, soapy water), then use a lint roller to pick up crumbs. To access those pesky crumbs in the corner of the drawer? Tear off a piece of the sticky paper and wrap it around a butter knife.
Keep the Right Kitchen Tools at Hand
One of the biggest changes you can make to create a spotless looking kitchen is to replace the sponge—plus, your old one may gross out any potential dish helpers. (And you can take all the help you can get!)
Also, invest in cookware that cuts down on cleanup. HEX’s dish set ($340 for 3 pieces) does triple duty: bake, serve, and freeze. Made of ceramic-coated aluminum, they’re durable and long lasting.
Or consider food storage containers (like these OXO ones, $30 for 16 pieces) with the same capability to make reheating leftovers a one-dish mess.
Prep Before You Decorate the Tree
As you set up the tree, don’t forget the oldie, but goodie trick of placing a tree bag beneath your Frasier Fir (or evergreen of your choice) to make future cleanup easier. Keep it covered with the tree skirt and no one will be the wiser (until disposal day comes around!). Keep the tree well-watered (it needs about a gallon a day) to keep it healthy and to prevent more needles from falling.
Make Picking Up Pine Needles a Snap
Once the holiday hubbub winds down, it is time to deal with all of the evergreen needles littering the floor. Rather than reaching for the vacuum (which can get clogged by needles), corral the debris on rugs and floors with a rubber broom (like the Pet Buddies FurStatic Pet Hair Broom, $28, amazon.com). Pine needles are less likely to stick in the bristles, says Marie Stegner, a consumer health advocate for Maid Brigade, a national housecleaning service. Bonus: If you’ve got a pet that sheds, this tool will come in handy year round when removing fur from upholstery and rugs.