Preparing Your Home for the Holidays

The holiday season is here and with it comes festive dinners and hordes of guests in the form of friends and relatives. Preparing for this time of year means more than just purchasing gifts and putting up the old Christmas lights. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the holidays.

Depending upon your living situation, preparing for the holidays can be as simple as setting up the Christmas tree and deep cleaning the house or as complicated as undertaking a home remodeling project, such as kitchen renovation or adding a home addition. Before you can decide on your level of preparedness, however, your first step should be figuring out what your needs are going to be. If you are expecting guests that will be staying for more than a night, you will need to figure out sleeping areas and accommodations. If you are hosting a dinner party, your kitchen and dining room area will need to be the focus.

One very important area you need to look at when preparing your home for the holidays is your heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system. When your guests arrive, you want them to be comfortable, and nothing is worse than having your heat clunk out when it is freezing outside! Don’t risk leaving your guests in out in the cold — get your HVAC system serviced before guests arrive — and preferably before the start of winter.

As mentioned above, if you are having guests (be it for dinner or for an extended period), you will want to do more than simply deep clean your home. The start of winter is a great time to perform some “spring” cleaning and remove any excess clutter. If you can’t bring yourself to throw anything out, you can always rent a storage unit or box things up and put them in your garage to make space. Bringing in a professional cleaning service to clean up after is a good idea as well.

Next, you will want to assess the needs of your guests. Do they have any special needs? Are there any elderly people with mobility issues? If so, you will need to figure out how to make your home accessible. This could include installing a prefabricated wheelchair ramp or consulting with a universal design specialist for ideas. If there will be children in attendance, your home may require a little child proofing, such as cabinet locks and securing medicine and cleaning supplies.

Finally, be aware that the kitchen tends to be the central gathering point for guests during the holiday. Visitors like to come in and out of the kitchen for snacks, coffee and conversation, so decluttering this space is essential. If you have a bar area outside of the kitchen, consider putting your coffee maker there instead to reduce some of the traffic. If you do not have a bar area, you can always setup a small table for the same purpose.

If you have a rolling island in your kitchen, you can move this to another room to make more space as well. Setting bar stools around it will give you more seating space and will make another area for guests to gather around.