Organizing

Cleaning up during the holidays


Holiday Cleaning

Thanks to Bissell for partnering on this post.

The holiday season is in full swing, and I’m ping ponging between parties hosted by friends, and hosting a few small gatherings myself, including having both sets of parents stay with us before the month is over. Whether it’s cocktails on the weekend, a festive brunch, or having guests stay over, I’m constantly in a cycle of holiday cleaning. Of course, with two kids, a dog, and a husband with a penchant for setting his stuff down on every surface, it’s nearly impossible for things to look guest-ready all the time, but I try. 

Bissell and I are partnering to share some of my favorite hacks for holiday cleaning— I start chipping away at all this at the top of November so it doesn’t seem like so much work. You can get one or two of these done in a weekend, and have a house ready to entertain in no time. and having the right tools can help you get to the finish line faster.

Enter to win a Bissell CrossWave Vacuum cleaner by following the instructions at the bottom of this post! One winner will be announced at the bottom of this post in the Rafflecopter widget tomorrow afternoon. Good luck!

Holiday Cleaning

Freshen your floors

When you’re cleaning up before a party, seconds count: If you can get a mop and a vacuum to happen at the same time, you’re winning. The Bissell CrossWave All-In-One Multi-Surface Cleaner makes it happen, with its simultaneous rotating brush and it’s cleaning solution— it’s basically like a super-powered spinning mop, with vacuum power too.

I’ve been playing with the CrossWave for a few weeks now and I can tell you that the best part is there’s no dirty mop water to contend with— it actually has separate tanks for the cleaning solution and dirty water, so you’re never washing your floor with the soggy dirt you just picked up. It’s lightweight and swivels with ease, making easy work of getting under dinner tables and coffee tables to pick up what’s been dropped, and it picks up wet and dry messes simultaneously, so the spilled Chardonnay and the smashed Marcona almonds can be addressed in one pass.

I was a bit hesitant to try out the rug cleaner setting, but it impressed me too— it’s more of a “freshener” than a deep cleaner, but it sprayed my rug with just the right amount of water, then sucked up all kinds of dirt, without leaving it especially wet afterwards. Spilling that dirty water out was eye opening— I felt better knowing all that gunk was down the drain.

Holiday Cleaning

Coat closet clear-out

When guests arrive, they’ll be looking for a place to stow their puffer jackets and shearling coats… and you don’t want your front hall closet looking like a scene from Hoarders. The holidays are a good time to whittle your coat collection down, giving away anything you’re not wearing, or might be too small for one of your kids. Not only will you be clearing space, but you’ll be donating coats to people to folks in need when they need them most— while the temperatures are dropping.

Coat closets also have a tendency to be the place where you stash things until you have a chance to “deal with them”… in other words, it’s where piles of organizational projects and go to die. I love pulling absolutely everything out, giving the floor and walls a good wipe down, and then only putting back what belongs. 

Un-clutter Countertops

Nothing makes a kitchen look cleaner than un-cluttering your countertops. You cookie jars, knife block and bins of baking supplies are cute, but add a bunch of party food and supplies and it all just looks like a mess. Keep things streamlined by storing things in your pantry, consider storing knives away with drawer inserts, and clearing out all those paper piles while you’re entertaining. Your kitchen will instantly feel more grown-up, and ready for the demands of your holiday gathering.

Deep-clean Drawers

If guests are coming, they’ll want somewhere to unpack. If you’re like me, however, you use every last inch of your guest bedroom storage to keep your own clothes tucked away. The motivation to clear out a few drawers might be just what you need to get some things out of your life and into the donation pile.  Give those drawers a wipe down, and maybe add some cedar balls to make things smell fresh and tidy (they’ll be useful when you jam all your sweaters back into the drawers after your guests leave too). 

Gift Swap

If you got a new pair of boots as a gift (YUSS!), it’s a good idea to evaluate what you have before you throw them in with the rest of the boot crew. I like to remove one thing before I add one thing, no matter if it’s a gift or a purchase, so I can continue to keep an edited, organized closet. If you’re looking to make some money on your unwanted pile, ThredUp or The RealReal are the quickest, hassle-free ways I know to get rid of clothing in good condition and make some cash back. 

Holiday Card Hold-Up

Make a designated place for holiday cards, so they can bring joy but not take over every surface in the house. I like to punch holes in mine and then thread them onto a garland that I use to decorate the staircase. I also love this method of hanging them from kitchen cabinets. Both make a focal point of the holiday cheer without monopolizing counters or making it hard to dust without knocking them all down. When the holidays are over, I like to scan or photograph them all and save the memories digitally, so I can look back and relive the year without having to dig up a dusty box in the basement.

Next-Level Guest Room

There’s no reason why you can’t make your home feel a bit like a hotel to overnight guests. The holidays are a good time to buy fresh towels and sheets on sale, and you can shift them over to your bedroom stash once your guests are gone. While you’re at it, add some pretty, small soaps and shampoos, and make sure there’s a fresh supply of cotton swabs. A scented candle takes things over the top, but the true pièce de résistance is good Wifi— use a Wifi extender if your guest room is in a remote part of the house, and put Wifi instructions on the bedside table so your guests can get connected as soon as they arrive.  

Of course there’s always the danger that, with all these amenities, they might never want to leave… but with a home as clean as yours, at least you’ll get a good rating on Yelp.

And now, how to enter…

  1. Log in to that Rafflecopter box below, using either your e-mail address or with your Facebook Account.
  2. Below the photo of what we are giving away you will find a prompt {or two} on how to enter (example: “Visit and Like Brand on Facebook” or “Sign up with brands newsletter”)
  3. Click on the prompt and once you click the entry requirement your entry will be logged.
  4. Our giveaway ends at 11:59p PT on December 15th and the winner will be announced in the Rafflecopter widget below.
  5. All winners will be contacted via email.
  6. All official giveaway rules can be found on our Policies Page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again to Bissell for partnering on this post— and thank you for supporting our Carley K. sponsors.



9 comments on “Cleaning up during the holidays”

  1. My favorite holiday cleaning hack is to clean as you go! It saves you peace of mind as well as time ? Then you can get back to your family and finish the celebrating!

  2. My cleaning hack for the holidays is to have Christmas at someone else’s house! I help them clean after dinner; meanwhile, my house remains in one piece.

  3. I clean as I go, makes for less work in the long run.
    It’s less intimidating that way, and it takes less time.
    Having the Bissel Cross Wave would make it all so much easier =)

  4. My favorite cleaning hack for every holiday and big dinner gatherings is to split up the cleaning task with family members. Each person does one thing which helps a lot.

  5. My favorite cleaning hack is to grab a large box and grab items that don’t need to be out for awhile so that I can make room for Christmas decorations. Then when the decorations come down, they come back out! This way there is less clutter and fewer items to dust!

  6. My cleaning hack is to remove our own items to make room for our guests. For example, all of our shoes and coats get put away so the hooks and racks are empty for all the guests’ apparel.

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