You always want your home to be a clean and inviting space, but this is particularly true during the holiday season. Whether you have houseguests coming to stay with you or a dinner party in the works, you want family and friends to see your home at its best.
This time of year can be especially busy, but not to worry: we’ve made a simple checklist of what you need to do now to ensure your house is shipshape for the holidays. Follow these tips, and your home will be clean, organized and houseguest-ready all season long!
Declutter and get rid of the junk.
Go through each room in your home and clean out any unwanted clutter. Clothing, books, furniture and many other gently used household items can be donated to local organizations.
If you have bulky pieces of furniture or a large amount of items to haul, you may want to consider hiring a junk removal service. The cost will vary largely based on your location and the volume of what you’re having removed, but according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, most homeowners pay between $135 and $360 for junk removal.
If you don’t have the time to vacuum, scrub and dust your home yourself, consider hiring a housekeeping service. Having a professional clean your house on a regular basis not only keeps things tidy, but it also helps preserve wood floors, furniture, upholstery and countertops.
You may want to schedule a one-time deep cleaning to get your house sparkling just before your guests arrive. This service goes beyond a basic cleaning and typically includes the cleaning of fixtures, switches, outlets, baseboards, air ducts, tiles, grout and upholstery. Naturally, a whole house cleaning will cost more than a routine monthly or weekly service.
According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, most homeowners spend between $115 and $235 for professional housekeeping services. The size of the home and extent of housekeeping services provided account for most variations in cost.
Tackle your to-do list.
Assemble the dresser, mount the TV, hang the hall mirror and fix that broken cabinet before the holiday madness begins. While you could DIY many of these tasks, hiring a handyman will save you time and ensure the job is done right.
Handyman services can charge an hourly or flat rate, depending on the project. For some jobs, like hanging a ceiling fan or installing a garbage disposal, the handyman will likely charge a flat rate because he or she knows about how long it’s going to take and what tools will be needed. For something like drywall repair, which has more unknowns that affect how long the job takes, a handyman will likely charge an hourly rate.
A minimum charge (usually a half hour to one hour) is typically applied for smaller jobs that can be completed in under an hour. To make the maximum use of this time, consider bundling several small jobs together for the handyman to complete in one trip.
The cost of hiring a professional handyman will depend largely on the project. According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, most homeowners spend between $180 and $650.
Make sure your HVAC system is properly maintained.
Even if the temperature hasn’t dropped yet, go ahead and test to see if your heating system is working properly. It’s better to discover now that something needs to be fixed than to find yourself stuck in the cold with a house full of overnight guests!
It’s also a good idea to have an annual inspection of your HVAC system’s furnace early in the season. Not only will this optimize your system’s efficiency for the colder months, but it can also help identify problems before they begin. According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, most homeowners pay between $80 and $150 for an annual furnace inspection.
Check the chimney.
Lighting a fire is a great way to add warmth and charm to your home, but you shouldn’t use your fireplace unless the chimney has been cleaned and inspected early in the season. If you own a fireplace, this is not an optional task — it’s a matter of safety. Improper chimney maintenance can result in deadly chimney fires or carbon monoxide poisoning.
According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, the average chimney sweep cost is $240, and most homeowners spend between $130 and $360. Your location, the time of year and the soot level of your chimney accounts for most of the variations in cost.
Don’t forget about your yard.
Not everyone will see the inside of your house this holiday season, but they will get a glimpse of the exterior. Make sure the outside of your home looks as lovely as its interior by removing any leaves or debris on the ground. Not only are these fallen leaves an eyesore, but they’ll eventually turn into a big, rotting mess.
According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, the national average cost for professional leaf removal is $340. Most homeowners spend between $190 and $540, with property size, tree density, location and removal method accounting for most variations in cost.