If you need to get your home ship-shape for New Year's Eve, try these
Everyone wants a super-fast way to declutter and spruce up their home – especially before having guests over for New Year’s Eve, or indeed after they’ve left your house looking like a tornado tore through it.
According to a survey conducted by Sheila’s Wheels, the number one gripe about having guests to stay in your home is that they don’t pick up after themselves. Leaving mess lying around was the top complaint, with 38 per cent of people surveyed saying that this was an issue, and another 33 per cent citing the fact that guests never did the tidying as another source of irritation.
However, we’ve put together tips, products and cheats that shout create enough space for everyone to relax in if you’re having people to stay, and will help you restore your home to its former glory if you’ve had some of the famously irksome workshy guests that don’t clean up after themselves to stay.
We’ve put together advice on the things you need to do but might not think about immediately. For example, what can you do about the fridge to prepare for extra mouths to feed, especially with all that leftover meat and half-eaten brandy butter? And at what stage should you do the hoovering in your cleaning?
Other short-cuts to having a wonderful welcoming home include things as effortless as getting two mini Christmas trees and putting one on each side of your front door to greet your guests. And speaking of guests, don’t bother doing a deep clean on any rooms that yoru guests aren’t likely to see. That means the messy attic gets to stay just that, phew! That means you get to focus on making the bits they will see look especially cosy and clean, rather than spreading yourself too thin.
Click through the gallery for more ideas on how to have a clean and festive home this Christmas and New Year.
Food storage is definitely something to consider...
- Clear out the fridge-freezer, use up food before you restock and throw away anything that's out of date.
- Wash the fridge thoroughly. Dettol Power & Fresh Anti-bacterial Multi-Action Spray kills 99.9% of bacteria, £2.20, Sainsburys.co.uk.
- Adjust shelves to give your turkey space. It needs room to avoid bacteria growth.
- Stick to a list so you don't end up buying too much.
- Create space by storing drinks outside in a cool box.
- Set aside time to make dishes that can be frozen. Visit womanandhome.com/freezer
With decorations going up for Christmas and New Year and guests needing somewhere to put their bags and coats, you need to make space. Take a box around your living areas and remove at least half of your ornaments, books and photos. Store in a box in a spare room, garage or shed until the new year.
- Give the whole family a mission to repatriate shoes, clothes, toys and books to their "home". If you have younger children, get them to sort their existing toys before Christmas - and give some to charity.
- Recycle any build-up of newspapers or junk mail.
- Set up an area for wrapping - or put it all in one box that can be taken to any room: paper, ribbons, tape and scissors all together makes it less daunting.
If a job's doing, it's worth doing well. But it's also good to be able to do it efficiently. So here are some tips for tools that will help you do it properly and speedily.
- Dr Beckmann Power Cleaner is a paste that's suitable for use inside and outside. Use it to remove kitchen grease and grime, limescale in the bathroom and window frames, £4.09, dr-beckmann.co.uk.
- At 40cm, these cloths are bigger than your average, and with no need for chemicals you'll be "green" whichever colour you use. The range includes a microfibre duster, kitchen, bathroom and polishing cloth, £2.58 each. We love these 2-in-1 sponges - an absorbent micro-terry side and a textured surface for tougher tasks, £2.99 for four, all from lakeland.co.uk.
- The AeroBed Comfort Classic guest bed transforms in just three minutes with a screw-on pump; it can also deflate in seconds. From £74.99 at aerobed.co.uk.
- The DuActiva broom has dual action bristles and a foam "scraper", which is perfect for picking up pine needles as well as dust in one clean sweep. £7.99 from vileda.co.uk.
To get the best results, focus your efforts. There's no point trying to get your whole home "spring cleaned" if any rooms won't be seen by guests. Concentrate on areas that will make a difference.
- Start with the outside: Clean the windows, the front door and sweep the path. Mini Christmas or bay trees on either side of the door give and instant welcome.
- For easy cleaning, QHotels resident housekeeping expert, Nan McDowell, shares her tricks:
- Start by emptying rubbish, tidying and stripping linen. Then open the windows to let fresh air in.
- Don't use more than four products. A multi-surface antibacterial cleaner, toilet gel, glass cleaner and polish will cover everything.
- Always spray product onto the cloth first, never the surface. Spraying directly onto the surface will result in one area being saturated while others are missed.
- Colour-coded microfibre cloths make it easy to remember which to use on surfaces, floors, the bathroom and so on. For dust, you can't beat a feather duster. Using a damp cloth will lift the dust from the upholstery. Once you've cleaned the bathroom, use a dry microfibre cloth to polish fittings and chrome. The best way to get a mirror streak-free is with water and a cloth.
- Simplify the products you use and put essentials into a bucket you carry around.
- The very last thing you should do is vacuum the floors - picking up everything that's been dropped while cleaning.