Whether you’re spending Thanksgiving with just the people in your household, or you’re inviting a few quarantine pod friends and family members over for a (safe) celebration, there are some steps you should take to clean and prepare your home for the holiday.
Start tidying and cleaning your home a few days before Thanksgiving so that you’re not stressing and rushing during the holiday. Then, when the big day comes, you can focus on getting delicious food on the table and enjoying it with your loved ones!
A few days before Thanksgiving
Declutter the common spaces
Pinpoint those areas where your guests will be hanging out most often: the kitchen, living room, or family room, for example. Tidy up those spaces by putting things away and fluffing up throw pillows or setting out cozy throw blankets. Have kids coming over? Safely store away anything breakable or valuable.
Dust, mop, and vacuum
After decluttering, dust those same areas from top to bottom. Don’t forget spaces like fan blades and bookshelves. Then, mop or vacuum your floors. If you have time, you can vacuum your sofa and/or chairs, too.
Clean the bathroom
If you only have time to clean one room in your home, make it the bathroom. Guests can overlook (or not even notice) dust on your shelves or crumbs on the floor, but having to use a dirty bathroom isn’t very pleasant.
Clean and sanitize the toilet and sink. You can clean your shower or tub if you have time, but focus on the toilet and sink, since your guests will be using those. Clean the mirror. Make sure toilet paper, hand soap, and other supplies are stocked. Empty the trash can and hang a fresh hand towel in the bathroom.
The day before Thanksgiving
Clean out your fridge and freezer
Make room for your leftovers, as well as any extra goodies your guests may bring on Thanksgiving Day! You might’ve already cleaned your fridge during a fall cleaning spree, but if not, start by throwing out any old or expired items. Wipe your shelves from top to bottom. And make sure you have plenty of ice for holiday drinks.
Prep dishes and cookware
If you need to, run your dishwasher the day before or the morning of Thanksgiving so you’ll have a full set of plates and glasses ready. Make sure any appliances, tools, pots, and pans are clean so you can begin cooking immediately. You don’t want to spend Thanksgiving Day trying to find your cheese grater or scrubbing out your slow cooker.
Take out the garbage and recycling
Your garbage can will probably be full after all your cooking and eating. Empty the garbage can and recycling bin now so there’s lots of room on the big day. If you have time and your bins need it, you can clean them with soap and water so that they smell fresh.
Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and objects
It’s Thanksgiving Day! Touch up surfaces in your common areas and rooms once more before guests arrive. Remember to clean and disinfect doorknobs, light switches, countertops and tabletops, and bathroom surfaces. Thoroughly clean and wipe these surfaces and objects with an eco-friendly cleaning spray, followed by a disinfectant to prevent the spread of germs. Encourage guests to disinfect high-touch surface areas such as the toilet handle, or bathroom faucet after use.
Clear a place for coats and bags
Check that your coat rack or coat closet in your entryway has room for your guests’ outerwear and purses. You can also pick a guest bedroom or other room for everyone to leave their belongings. (Just tidy the room before people start arriving.)
Remind your guests of COVID safety rules
The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on everyone, and naturally, people want to gather with loved ones for the holidays. If you do decide to invite people to your home, make sure they know your COVID safety rules before they attend, based on CDC recommendations:
- Host an outdoor gathering over an indoor one if you can.
- Open windows and doors if the weather allows it, or place fans to circulate air inside.
- Avoid hugs and handshakes when arriving or leaving.
- Require face masks that cover both the mouth and nose, except when eating or drinking.
- Set up markers to encourage guests to stay six feet away from other people at all times.
- Remind guests to wash their hands properly for at least 20 seconds.
The best way to be thankful? Be safe!
The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with the people in your household. By following these rules, however, and by thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting your home, you can make a small Thanksgiving gathering safer.