6 Brilliant Holiday Cleaning Hacks
Baking dozens of cookies and buying everyone gifts is the fun part—but with every Christmas season (especially if you're hosting), there are a bunch of cleaning tasks to tackle too. And everything from handling crumbs in the kitchen to picking up pine needles in the living room lands on the long to-do list. Searching for quick and easy solutions for de-griming all those parts of the house? Look no further than these six genius suggestions from Real Simple editors and experts to make those holiday chores more manageable (and keep you from acting like the Grinch).
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.
Assembly an Emergency Cleaning Kit
Put together a cleaning kit of all of the supplies you might need for the holiday season. Be sure to include common stain-fighters, like white vinegar and clear dish soap, so you can tackle inevitable spills and stains (ugh, red wine on your wool carpet!) as soon as they happen.
In a caddy with a handle, collect some quick cleaning supplies. Stock up on disinfecting wipes, cleaning cloths, a multi-purpose spray, and some stain-removing sticks.
Do a Quick Clean-up Before Guests Arrive
Ahead of the holiday, 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 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 storage 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
If you're eating indoors, start by setting the table a day or so early. Use a bar cart to transport all of your dishes into the dining room. Leave it there for quick removal of dirty dishes post-meal (just one trip each way!). If you're dining outdoors this year, use serving trays to help you carry dishes and glassware out to the patio.
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.
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. 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, a rubber broom will come in handy year-round when removing fur from upholstery and rugs.