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6 Holiday Cleaning Hacks
Few things are as comforting as family togetherness during the holidays. But if you’re playing host to this year’s celebrations, you also know that few things can be as stressful. Here are a few household must-haves to help you prepare for the holiday hustle.
1. Cunning Kitchen Cleanup. Your kitchen will likely take the brunt of your holiday mess. That’s why it’s important to start with a clean slate. Here are a few clever tricks to prep your kitchen:
•  Organize your refrigerator. Labeling drawers will help you find items you need
   on the fly and ensure kitchen helpers put things back where they belong.
   Covering your shelves with plastic wrap will allow you to eliminate spills or other
   messy problems by simply removing the wrapping. Not sure what to do with
   leftover veggies? Mason jars will keep your salads and other vegetables fresh
   for up to a week.
•  Clean your oven glass. Use white vinegar to clean the outside and inside of
   your oven glass. An unraveled clothes hanger and damp scouring pad will help
   you reach under the oven door and clean between the glass. Placing
   aluminum foil on the bottom of your oven will catch spills and help keep your
   oven glass clean.
•  Wipe down your cabinets. Use a household cleaner and a rag to remove any
   stains or grease on your cabinets. Murphy’s Oil Soap is a great cleaner that
   works for any material or finish. Be sure your formula is safe for painted
   surfaces. A mixture of white vinegar and water will also help remove stuck-on
  grease and stains.
•  Clean your microwave. Fill a bowl with one to two cups of water, two
   tablespoons of white vinegar and several drops of your favorite essential oil.
   Place the bowl in the microwave for five minutes. Let it sit for several minutes
   and then wipe down your microwave with a wet rag.
•  Spruce up your pantry. Magazine holders are perfect for keeping canned
   goods organized and out of the way. You can also use Mason jars to store dry
   goods like beans and noodles. Keep dried food, spice packets and other boxed
   or pouched items in one place with a hanging shoe organizer.
2. Dapper Holiday Disposals. It’s a good idea to prepare your disposal for the holiday rush with a quick clean. Also, be sure your disposal is working properly. Fixing any major problem before the holidays will save you time cleaning up — and lots of trash bags. Grinding lemons, oranges and ice in your disposal will eliminate unpleasant odors and clean the blades. Gunk-free blades will boost your disposal’s efficiency and keep your home smelling great. Once your disposal is in tip-top shape, it’s important to avoid problem-causing foods and materials. Here’s a quick list of disposal-damaging items:

  •  Egg shells
  •  Banana peels
  •  Potato peels
  •  Any food with heavy grease
  •  Bones
3. Flawless Flooring. A quick, professional cleaning before family arrives will breathe life back into your home and create a welcoming environment for friends and family. It’s also important to have an emergency carpet cleaning solution on hand for the inevitable red wine spill. Place a small amount of baking soda on the stain, let it sit for ten minutes and vacuum it up. Next, add a mixture of hot water, vinegar and dish soap to the stain and wipe it up with a clean sponge.
4. Clutter-Free Closets. Space gets tight when you have family in town. Organized closets give visiting family extra room to hang clothes and store luggage. Installing hanging shelves is a quick way to group like items and free up additional shelving space. Baskets and drawers allow you to store smaller odds and ends without taking up space on shelves or in dressers. You can also slide soda can tabs over your clothes hangers to double — or triple — their hanging capacity.
5. Brilliant Blinds. Use a dry paintbrush to knock down small amounts of dirt or dust on your blinds. For a deeper clean, slip an old sock over your hand and dip it in a white vinegar-water mix. Run your hand over each slat to remove dirt, dust and other grime. A dust-free home will look great and help allergenic or asthmatic family members enjoy their visit. (And you’ll secretly impress any nosey guests.)
6. Dust-Busting Baseboards and Window Sills. You may not notice your dirty baseboards and window sills, but someone will. Use a wet rag to get rid of gunk on your sills and dryer sheets to wipe down your baseboards. Wetted Q-Tips are perfect for clearing out stubborn dust in the corners of your baseboards and window sills.
After entertaining family and friends, you deserve a break. That’s why it’s a good idea to schedule a professional cleaning service ahead of time to tackle your post-holiday mess. According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, most homeowners have their homes cleaned for between $116 and $226.

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