The holidays are a time that we look forward to all year, but it is also a time that can be somewhat pressurized and stressful. The visitors are arriving in a matter of days – and somehow all the maintenance and cleaning tasks that were meant to have happened in an orderly fashion during the year have somehow snuck through undone – and have now acquired an immediate urgency! The only way to get them done, of course, is to get stuck in and do it.

Here we run through some of the most important household chores and maintenance to get caught up on now, so you’re ready to usher 2020 in in style!

Check that your essential household maintenance is up to date

You do not want to have to deal with emergencies while your end-of-year guests are there, nor do you want to start off 2020 with a crisis. So here are some aspects of general maintenance you should check on now:

  • Make sure the gutters are clear of leaves and debris after fall.
  • Are the de-icing cables doing their job? You do not want icicles and ice dams to form.
  • Check that all the electrical and GFCI outlets work. If not, have them attended to straight away.
  • Check all locks, deadbolts and window catches.
  • Check caulking around sinks, showers and baths and repair if needed. It is also a good time to clean taps and showerheads of sediment.
  • Have you removed and carefully stored your aircon units?
  • Don’t forget to check that basement. Because basements are often just used as storage areas, it is often an out-of-sight, out of mind scenario. Particularly check for mold, as that could signal more serious underlying problems.
  • Make sure that you have a list of reliable local service providers to hand in case of emergencies. If you live in a very cold climate, for example, you would particularly want to have the names and numbers of furnace repair experts within easy reach. If you’re in a summer Christmas area such as South Africa, get together a contact list to ensure you have a cool Christmas – such as companies offering air con and pool maintenance in Johannesburg, or refrigerator repair in Cape Town.

Take care of those dusty windows

Possibly one of the least favorite jobs on anybody’s list is cleaning windows, and yet it has to be done – grimy windows definitely do not add to the festive mood. And here’s a good tip to get your windows really sparkly clean – add one part vinegar to your nice warm washing water. Vinegar is a wonderful germ killer and will not disperse harmful chemicals into the environment, a very important point to bear in mind especially with kids and pets around.

Get the house and the guest bedrooms spick and span

There is nothing more welcoming to people that a lovely fresh, clean and inviting bedroom that they can settle and relax into on arrival. Get the curtains washed and freshly hung. Turn the mattresses, move the bed and vacuum under those beds as well! Home Viable recommends getting a lightweight, portable vacuum if you’re moving from room to room. Wipe the skirting boards down and give all the furniture a once over with sweet-smelling furniture polish. Likewise make sure that all the bedding that your guests will sleep under is freshly washed and fragrant.

This might also be a good time to invest in new duvet sets, mats and towels if your old stuff is looking a bit dated and tired. And make sure that your guests have enough shelf space, hanging space and coat hangers in the closets so that they can unpack properly and settle in comfortably for their stay.

Focus in on the bathrooms and kitchen

The holiday season is the time of year that your house will really be heavily used and tested. So this is a good time to make sure that your house is clean and welcoming. It is very important to clean all the tile surfaces in the house with a bleach solution to ensure that they are spotless; you might have to attack the grouting with an old toothbrush and some ammonia cleaner.

Make sure your bathrooms are fully stocked with the essentials – plenty of pretty matching towels, bath soaps, shampoo, body lotions, toilet paper, and the like.  And this is really the time of year to stock up on all those treats and goodies in the kitchen and pantry that you normally avoid during the year. If you love baking you will enjoy making them, and it will do your heart good to see your guests enjoy them too!

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