Tips to make your home presentable for the holidays
You’ve invited guests over for a holiday gettogether, but now you realize there isn’t time to clean your home to the spick-and-span presentation you’d like it to be. Now what? Who better to ask for quick cleanup hints than Heloise?
Heloise, the national domestic dilemma go-to expert via her monthly column in Good Housekeeping magazine, daily newspaper columns and guests spots on national television and radio shows, says don’t panic. Cut a few corners, and the important rooms — the ones in which your guests will gather — can be quite presentable.
“My motto is quick-clean only what your guests can see,” Heloise says during a telephone interview from her home in San Antonio, Texas.
First, focus on spaces guests initially will see, beginning with the entrance, whether it’s the front, side or kitchen door.
“Go outside the entrance, close your eyes for five to 10 seconds, and then open them,” Heloise says. “What do you see? Is the door handle grubby-looking? Is the wreath ratty? Are there doggy-paw or nose smudges on the glass?” Cobwebs on the ceiling? If so, clean accordingly. If the entrance hallway is junky with boots, toys or whatever, gather it up, stash it in a large basket or sturdy shopping bag with handles and put it in a closet or the basement. Don’t worry about putting everything away in its proper place. You can do that later. Or not.
The same principle applies to other rooms where stuff is strewn about.
The bathroom is one room that merits paranoia about how clean it is. If you have water spots on the fixtures, shine the chrome with a used fabric-softener sheet for shine. While you’re at it, Heloise advises, keep a few in the bathroom at all times. When cleaning a bathroom sink, use a cotton swab to clean the small area behind the tap.
Wiping down the counters (not marble) and the mirror with a half vinegar/ water solution leaves a nice, clean scent. The same holds for kitchen counters.
If you’d like more of a pleasant scent, shake a few drops of an essential oil of your choosing on a tissue, and drop it in the bathroom waste basket. The scent will linger for hours.
Top-dust furniture — wooden dining set, the buffet, the coffee table and end tables — in rooms where guests will gather.
“My best friend is the upholstery attachment of a vacuum cleaner, because it quickly sucks up all visible dust,” Heloise writes in her latest book, “Handy Household Hints From Heloise” (Rodale, $17.99).
Dusty blinds? Use an old sock, or one that has lost its mate, as your wiping tool. Slide the sock over your hand, and wipe the slats with ease. Footlets or golf socks work best.
Pet hair easily comes off of couches and other upholstered furniture with a microfiber cloth. Anything rubberized such as kitchen gloves works well, too.
When there isn’t time to clean your home to the spickand-span presentation, focus on spaces guests initially will see. Begin with the entrance to your home.