Holiday Cleaning Tips for Parties and Gatherings

Holiday Cleaning Tips- be prepared for Christmas, Hanukkah, and all the guests the holidays will throw at you.

The countdown is on. With less than a week until Christmas and Hanukkah, you may find there is more mess than there is time. And plus, baking cookies is far more fun than scrubbing the floors. The holiday season is about fun and family. You definitely don’t want to be a Scrooge and spend all your time perfecting the house. But there are a few keys to having a cleaner home that will be welcoming and inviting to your guests.

Holiday Cleaning Tips

Make a Great First Impression.

Spend a little of your time showing some love to your entryway. So many people use the garage or other entrances for their homes, they completely forget about the first impression “curb appeal” their guests will see. Sweep the front entry, wipe down the door, clean or buy a welcome mat, and don’t have anything cluttering up the foyer.

The Way to the Heart… It’s in the kitchen.

People tend to congregate in the kitchen or around the food, so tidy up and make sure it smells nice. Clean your drains and disposals. Boil a glass of vinegar in the microwave to get rid of the popcorn smell. And take out the trash.

Clean the Guest Bathroom.

Don’t just wipe the counters, grab some gloves and a scrub brush and get serious. And, clean the bathtub too, because you know people are nosy. Most importantly, make sure your bathroom is stocked with hand towels, soap, toilet paper, and feminine products .

What Smells?

If you’ve cleaned everything, and there is still a funky smell you just can’t place, light a few candles or brew a cup of coffee to cover the smell. But, do make sure to put a more permanent solution on your post-holiday cleaning schedule.

Time may be short, but it’s never too short to make sure your guests are comfortable being in your home. Can you think of any more essentials for holiday cleaning prep? Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook. If Pit to Palace has helped you this holiday season, give us the gift of a 5 star review on google+.

Christmas Tree Safety Tips

‘Tis the season for Christmas Tree safety.

Don’t let the cost of the holidays go up too much- with unexpected property damage costs. Christmas trees alone, not even counting all the other decorations, result in 13 million dollars a year in property damage. Over 200 tree related fires occur in homes each year, causing expense, damage, injury, and even death.

Tree related damage is uncommon. However, it there is a tree related fire, the damage is often serious and costly.

Whether you choose a live or artificial tree to deck the halls, keep in mind a few safety tips.

Christmas Tree Safety Tips

Real Tree Safety

 

  1. If you choose a real tree, get a good one. This is not the time to pick the cheapest thing on the lot. A fresh tree means a wetter tree, which is less of a fire hazard. Needles should be flexible, not breaking when you bend them.
  2. Don’t forget to water! Your tree stand should always have water in it. You want to make sure the stand is study and durable and won’t topple if faced with kids or pets.
  3. Practice good cord safety. Only three strands of lights should be used per extension cord. Also, cords should run along walls and not covered with rugs or carpets.
  4. Keep cool. Your tree needs to stay away from any heat sources that would cause it to overheat, dry out, or become flammable. That means, candles, fireplaces, and even entertainment systems.
  5. Dispose of trees properly. Don’t put your old natural tree in the garage or prop it up by the side of the house waiting for trash day. The dryer it gets, the more of a fire hazard it becomes. Dispose of it quickly and properly.

 

For Both  Real and Artificial

  1. Check the lights. Choose low energy lights that are certified safe for real trees. For real and artificial trees both, check for cord damage prior to decorating the tree. Do not use frayed cords!
  2. Turn off the lights. Christmas lights, tree lights, outside lights, appliances… really, any accessory plugged in should be unplugged each night and when you leave the house.
  3. Keep a fire extinguisher near. This is a good piece of advice year round in any situation. Get a fire extinguisher and make sure everyone in the home knows where it’s located and how to use it.

 

 

Guide to Holiday Organization

Your one stop guide to holiday organization. The holiday season is in full swing. Thanksgiving is over, and the Christmas and Holiday parties have begun. You many be looking at office parties, family parties, and friends events in the next few weeks. The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s definitely can feel like a whole season instead of just three or four holidays. If you haven’t taken some time to get organized, do it now! A few hours of planning and holiday organization will actually save you so much time and energy this month.

Our Tips for Holiday Organization

Start with a To-Do List

Obviously, a list is the first thing you need. Whether you use an app, a notebook, or a white board, get the big things on the list and on the calendar. Write down the major parties, gatherings, and other important tasks and dates so you can begin scheduling around those.

Set Deadlines

Once you have the major things on the calendar, it’s easier to backwards engineer your schedule. Pick a day to mail holiday cards, and from there, you’ll know when you need to have family portraits made and when to place the printing order.

Don’t Start Big Projects

Unless you have a lot of down time because of vacation hours, this is not the time to start any major projects. Any home renovations or extra work projects should be postponed if not necessary. Unless you are extremely scheduled, adding to the routine will only make things unnecessarily stressful.

Take Stock Before You Shop

Remember the 7 rolls of wrapping paper you bought on clearance last year after Christmas? Before you go shopping, take stock of what you have and what you need. Check the lights and the decor to see if everything works. If you’ve been buying presents throughout the year, take inventory before you shop for more.

Purge the Kids’ Rooms

If you have children, this is a MUST before you go anywhere where they’ll get more gifts. Go through toys and clothes. If they’ve outgrown it, never play with/ wear it, or don’t want it any more, then donate the usable stuff and trash the rest. Make room now, or the new gifts will get lost in the mess.

This Goes for You Too

After you purge the kids’ rooms, do some general de-cluttering yourself. If you’re buying replacement decor, planning on getting new clothes, or getting new kitchen gadgets, don’t leave the old stuff in a box collecting dust. Donate the things you don’t need and trash the stuff that’s broken.

Hire a Housekeeper

 We’re still booking! But, seriously, with all the running around, sometimes the basics get overlooked. Have someone come in to do a basic clean so you can run your errands. Or do a one time deep clean, and make sure those baseboards are dust free!

Schedule an “Un-decorating” Day

There are two types of people: the “get it all put away as soon as Christmas is over” people, and then “I’ll do it tomorrow and suddenly it’s February and my tree is still up” kind of people. If you’re in the second group, we won’t tell. But, it is a good idea to set aside a day, put it on the calendar, and have the whole family pitch in to get things put away neatly so you’re prepared for next year.

 

Fire Prevention in the Home

It won’t be long until we’re hanging Christmas lights and lighting our fire places. Some may have fire pits in the back yard. There is a lot more cooking and a lot more activity. Winter really is the most wonderful time of the year!

But all the activity also brings with it an additional need for fire safety and precaution in the home. Make sure you and your family take extra time this season to discuss fire prevention in your home.

Tips for Fire Safety

  • Make sure you have fire alarms on each level of your home, especially near sleeping areas.
  • During the holiday season, check all light strands for frayed or damaged wire. Do not use any appliances or hang any lights with damaged cords.
  • Test your alarms and change batteries at least twice a year. A good reminder is to switch the batteries when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time.
  • Talk with your family about safety and escape plans. Teach children how to find the main exits and what to do if those exits are blocked.
  • If there is a fire, remember to get out, stay out, and never return back into a burning building.

Cooking Fire Information

  • Cooking fires are the number one cause of residential fires.
  • Never leave food unattended, especially food that is frying or boiling.
  • If you are simmering or baking food, set a timer so that you do not forget to regularly check on it.
  • Clean surfaces regularly to avoid buildup of grease.
  • Consider purchasing a kitchen friendly fire extinguisher. If there is an accident, the last thing you want to do is to panic about forgetting what is safe to put on electrical fires.
  • Check the kitchen (stove, appliances, oven) each night before bed to ensure everything is turned off or unplugged.

Tips for Children in the Home

  • Keep matches, lighters, and other flammables away from children. (Take an extra moment especially during the holiday season when fireplace matches and candles are more prevalent.)
  • Teach your children to recognize the sound of the smoke alarm and how to immediately respond.
  • Take your children to visit the fire station and to meet firefighters. In case of an emergency, you don’t want them to be scared of those trying to help.

It only takes a few moments to plan and be prepared in case of an emergency. Please take those extra few moments each day to significantly reduce the chances of residential fires.

These tips and more can be found on the Red Cross website.