Preparing Your Home For Thanksgiving: The First Stage

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to get together with friends and family and celebrate the blessings you received throughout the year. It’s a time to catch up with those you haven’t seen in awhile, reminisce about the good ol’ days and create new memories.
For a day like this, it shouldn’t have to be so stressful!
This year, I have the honor of hosting Thanksgiving at my house. As soon as my husband and I decided we wanted to host it, I raced to call everyone and invite them before anyone else decided to host. We were both so excited when the last call was made and we found out that Thanksgiving would be ours this year!
Hosting is a big responsibility and a lot of work, but it can also be a lot of fun and a great motivator to get things done!
Before I even think about planning the menu or decorating the house, I want to make sure that the house is ready to host guests. It’s important to make sure everything is clean, organized and working properly well before your guests are to arrive.

I have a little checklist for anyone feeling overwhelmed or just unsure of what they should do to prepare:

1. Check your bathrooms
•fix leaky faucets if possible
•unclog/clean sink and shower drains
•tighten loose towel racks
•clean the tub/shower
-if it’s not too bad you can get one of those no scrub cleaners to just take the water spots and shampoo drippings off
-shine up the faucets, knobs, shower head, and drain. A stainless steel or silver polish will keep them from getting spotty until your guests arrive.
-if you have a shower curtain and the liner is faded or just not so clean, replace it. The Dollar Tree sells liners for $1 and stores like Walmart also have a similar price. I always keep an extra one on hand because it seems to make more sense than cleaning it.
•make sure the shower curtain, bath mat, and any window curtains are clean
•scrub your toilet bowl, toilet seat, and all the way down the base where the dust loves to collect
•wipe down moldings
•scrub sink and any countertops
-you can use polish on these faucets also
•clean windows, mirrors and glass
•dust like crazy
•wipe down the walls and ceiling (I use a stick mop to reach the high places)
•vacuum and mop (I use a brush to get any gunk in the corners)
•make sure you have enough towels for all your guests and there’s a hamper for dirty towels
•put shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, razors, or whatever you’d like to offer your guests (someone’s going to forget something) in the shower/cabinet
•leave a spray air freshener in an obvious spot for your guests to use

2. Check your guest room(s)
•make sure it’s accessible (many people use a guest room for extra storage)
-this is a great time to move things into the attic/basement/garage if you don’t need them in the house
-if your guest is staying for several nights, you’ll want to make sure there’s a place for them to put their clothes and personal items. Clear out a drawer or two in a dresser for them and insure there is a spot to set things such as hairbrushes, perfume/cologne etc.
•make sure there’s an available outlet to charge a phone
•if you don’t already have one, put an alarm clock in the room
•wash the curtains if needed
•wipe down mirrors and windows
•dust, dust, dust!

3. Check hallways and entryways
•if you have an elderly or disabled guest, you’ll want to be sure they can get from room to room
-move shoes, boot trays, etc. (anyone could trip over something while walking to the bathroom in the dark)

4. Check the kitchen/dining room
•make sure your counters are clear so you have enough room to cook the big feast
•make sure you have room in your fridge for leftovers and anything your guests might bring for the meal (most of your cooking will probably be done the day of, and not need storage, but your guests’ dishes will probably need to be put away for awhile)
•use wood polish to freshen up the table
•dig out the extra chairs if you’ll be needing them
•if you have special dishes or glasses you use only for such occasions, wash them a few days before (they’ve been collecting dust all year)
•a few days before, clean your oven, and then be prepared to clean it again after your guests have left (it’s going to get a lot of use for one day)
•clean the hood over your stove (you’ll probably have the stove on for a very, very long time, and the longer it’s on, the hotter it gets, and the more the grease splatter on the hood will melt and drip into whatever your cooking)
•scrub the cabinet doors (even if you do this regularly, somehow they always get dirty)
•refill salt and pepper shakers the day before

5. Check your living room
•clean any area rugs
•vacuum chairs and the sofa, especially if you have pets
•if you do not have enough seating for everyone, pull out some blankets or pillows so the children or younger guests can sit comfortably on the floor
•if anyone will be bringing a baby, make sure you have room for the play pen
•clean the ceiling fan if you have one
•organize your entertainment center
•clean the curtains
•wipe the windows

6. Check your yard
•rake up the leaves/sticks
•pull out any dead annuals left in your flower beds
•replace any walkway lighting that is no longer working
•plan the parking for your guests
-one of the worst things would be finding out your guest has arrived but has nowhere to park
-figure out the maximum number of cars you can fit and you could even use chalk to mark out parking spots to optimize the space
-if you have a small driveway, try to organize a carpool, pick up a guest who lives nearby, or perhaps if you are friendly with a neighbor, you could ask to use their driveway if they are going away (that might get complicated though if they plan to come home before your guests leave)

I wanted to write up this list as early as possible so that everyone has time to get everything done. I know it’s a crazy long list, and of course not everyone will need or want to do everything on the list but hopefully it will take some of the stress away by being reminded of something we may have forgotten to do. Not everything needs to be done in just one day or saved until the day before. Areas that only the guests will really use can be dealt with today, tomorrow or as soon as possible without needing to be re cleaned (as no one else will regularly use them) and then you’ll have the next few weeks to focus on the areas you use everyday. Like many of you, I don’t want to have to do everything the day before the guests arrive, so if we start now, and pace ourselves, we won’t have to race around last minute.

I’ll be doing a series of Thanksgiving prep blog entries so please check back if you are interested in any more ideas or would like to share some yourself. If I’ve forgotten anything, please let me know so I can add it to the list (and I can link it to your blog if you’d like).
Happy Autumn!


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