You'll thank yourself later. 

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated November 13, 2018
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One of the most stressful parts of preparing to host during the holidays is that many chores have to wait until the last minute. But while you can't bake the biscuits or do the final dusting until the day-of, there's still plenty of prep you can cross of your to-do list ahead of time. For starters, consult our guide to a prep-ahead Thanksgiving to get the food prep underway. Then, let the list below kickstart your holiday cleaning routine. Take care of these six tasks this week, then follow one of these speed-cleaning routines the day before your guests arrive. With some of the work already done, you'll feel less stressed and more festive leading up the event.

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It's a fact: vegetables just taste better when cooked in cast iron. To get set for holiday food prep, start by cleaning and seasoning your cast iron pots and pans so they're ready for cooking brussels sprouts and apple-sausage monkey bread.


If you're hosting Thanksgiving, you'll want to think about food containers before your guests show up. This way, you can avoid an embarrassing avalanche when you open up the cluttered cabinet, along with the 15-minute hunt for a container and matching lid that's sure to follow. 

Start by cleaning your stained food containers using this one secret ingredient: denture-cleaning tablets. Then, invest in an organizer that will keep your cabinet tidy. If you find you don't have enough containers, stock up with one of our favorite sets


Because you don't use them too often, your big serving dishes are probably stashed on a high shelf where they've been collecting dust for months. Save yourself from having to wash these dishes as you try to finish up Thanksgiving dinner prep (or worse, accidentally getting dust in the mashed potatoes), by washing these platters in advance. While you're at it, plan out what you'll serve in each dish, platter, and tureen to make sure you have enough on hand.


Fitting all of the holiday fixings into the fridge can feel like a game of Tetris, but it gets much easier if you plan a pre-holiday cleaning. Follow our refrigerator cleaning guide, starting with taking out every last item. Once you've tossed out the expired food and scrubbed down the shelves, you'll not only find more space for the cranberry sauce and stuffing, but you'll feel more comfortable having guests help themselves.


On Thanksgiving, the oven is the hardest-working appliance in your kitchen. To get it ready for the big day, give it a proper cleaning, following this trick from a professional cleaner. Avoid using the self-cleaning feature right before the holidays, as it could cause damage to the oven, and skip the smelly chemical cleaners right before the big day.


Some tasks, like wiping down the kitchen counters and fluffing the pillows, will need to wait until the day-of, but others, like deep cleaning the floors, can be tackled in advance. This week, mop, scrub, or steam clean the floors according to our guide to deep clean and remove stubborn stains. The day before the party, spot-clean with a Swiffer Sweeper or a quick vacuuming session.