Turkey Day Scramble: How to Clean Up Fast Before the Big Day

This is it: your last weekend to clean up before boatloads of relatives begin squeezing themselves into your kitchen, setting platters on every available inch of countertop and using enough toilet paper to cover a small army.

In essence, you’re going to need to clean house before the horde descends. After all, you have enough to worry about without Aunt Edna’s cracks about your housekeeping techniques. Here’s what you need to do to get your home in hosting shape—pronto.

Thanksgiving place setting

Speed Clean the Spare Bedroom

Is your spare bedroom more of a spare junk room? Then it’s going to need a cleanup, stat. Unfortunately, there’s no better way to do this than to put on your sweats and get down to it. But a little music will help you get into the groove—and of course, the looming pressure of Thanksgiving, which is drawing nearer every minute! To get yourself going, start with the stuff you know you’re going to toss and get rid of it. Be ruthless. It’s the only way you’ll make it through Thanksgiving with a few minutes to yourself.

Toss Anything You Don’t Need in the Fridge

It’s time for your refrigerator to go on a serious diet—otherwise, you’ll never be able to find a spot for all those leftovers! This is any everything-must-go situation, so seriously, unless it’s going in your belly next week, it needs to get gone pronto. Afterwards, give the shelves a quick wipe with a rag dunked in a mixture of vinegar and water. Make sure to swipe the bottoms of any condiment bottles and jars before replacing them as well.

Scrub the Guest Bathroom

We get that you’re on a tight schedule here—but if there’s anywhere you can afford to take your time, it’s in the restrooms. Besides the normal sweeping and scrubbing, try wiping counters and tiles with a microfiber cloth to pick up extra germs and dirt. For an extra-clean toilet, use damp pumice stone or scouring stick to remove scale and soap scum from the sides. And use cleaners to your advantage: spray them and let them sit for a few minutes before you start sponging off surfaces. It will save time scrubbing.

Wrangle the Coat Closet

Unless you’re a “lay coats on the bed” kind of household, you’re going to need some room in your shared closet space. This probably means tossing some junk you’ve been keeping in there for too long. But if you’re anything like we are, the process of deciding what stays and what goes can take a while—too long when you’re pressed for time. Instead, get rid of whatever you can now: outerwear the kids have outgrown, that broken vacuum cleaner. Cart everything else up to the attic or garage so you can deal with it later.

Quick Clean the Living Room

In short order, a lot of people are going to be hanging out in your living room, which means it’s got to be spic and span. Take all the clutter and throw it into a laundry basket for sorting at a later point (probably the next time you need to do the laundry). Use a microfiber cloth and dry broom to dust and sweep the floors with minimal effort, and then vacuum the couch and fluff the pillows. Make sure you have enough coasters to keep your furniture protected, too! Now, if only you could find a way to speed-roast a turkey!

Project Thanksgiving: 6 Tips to Get Yourself Ready for Turkey Day Guests

Can you believe Thanksgiving is already just around the corner? Pretty soon your home will be infiltrated with guests, relatives and that one aunt who always has something to say about how you keep house!

And there’s plenty to do before then. Besides food shopping and turning out dinner for 15, you’ll have to make sure the house is in great shape—and maybe even clean enough to give Aunt Ruth a reason to bite her tongue! Here’s what you can do now for a peaceful Thanksgiving day.

Thanksgiving feast

Turn Down the Guestroom Bed

If you have guests staying in the spare bedroom, you’ll want to make sure they’ll have everything they need for a comfortable visit. Wash bedding, towels and washcloths, remaking the bed when you’re finished. Spritz the sheets with linen spray and stock the guest bathroom with soap, toilet paper, toothpaste and any other necessities you think your visitors might want.

Sharpen Kitchen Knives

Your cutlery is going to be seeing a lot of use soon, and dull blades can be dangerous—especially when cutting through tough vegetables like sweet potatoes. Sharpen your knives using a whetstone, diamond stone or honing rod for a smooth, safer cut.

Clean Silverware and Plates

If you’re using a special set of dishes for the evening, make sure to wash them thoroughly before the big day. If you have silver cutlery, give them a good shine beforehand with baking soda and aluminum foil. It sounds weird, but it really works!

Childproof the House

There’s nothing like the sound of children’s laughter for the holidays, which is why, if you have little ones coming over, you’ll want to do everything to make your home safe and comfortable for guests of all ages. Buy gates to keep kids off stairs and plug covers to keep little hands from wandering where they shouldn’t.

Clean out the Coat Closet

The hallway coat closet can get jammed with day-to-day storage like vacuum cleaners, extra coats and the like. But you’re going to need that space when guests come, so move it to the garage or a bedroom temporarily. Or purchase a freestanding coat rack if you need a little extra room.

Get Your Drains in Check

Animal fat, potato peels and more can easily clog your garbage disposal and make for an unhappy cleanup after the evening meal. So if your sink is already draining a little slow, it may not be a bad idea to schedule a plumber to come snake it out. Same thing for your bathroom sinks and toilets too. After all, the holidays are stressful enough! No need to leave anything up to chance!