I like to plan ahead, and that means getting my house into shape before the holidays.  I don’t like to scramble last minute!  Here are some tips for things that you can get started on well in advance of Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Give yourself 3-4 weeks or more to get your home in shape and stock up on necessities.

Clean out the fridge, freezer, and pantry.

For one, we never seem to have enough space for all the holiday food that we prepare.  Now is a great time to reduce all that stuff you have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry.  Check those expiration dates and use up old stuff that isn’t getting used!  If you think you won’t use anything, this is the perfect time to donate unused goods to a food pantry.

This is also a good time to actually clean the fridge.  Those dirty shelves?  Guests don’t want to see a dirty fridge when they come to visit.

Bonus – all this using up food is saving you money!  See my tips here.

Prepare guest areas.

Bathrooms and guest bedrooms can use a deep clean and stocking up before visitors arrive.  We always make sure there is enough toilet paper, and a nice stack of clean hand towels ready to be hung up.  Instead of waiting for the busy holiday rush, now is the perfect time to stock up on toilet paper and make sure the guest room is prepared.

Shop early.

If you know that your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal is going to include things like broth, stuffing, canned goods (pumpkin, cranberry, etc) – those are all items you can pick up now, instead of waiting until those last trips to the store.

Another thing to consider is drinks – now is the time to buy your wine and other bottled beverages.

And while you’re out shopping, stock up on a couple months of toilet paper, soap, laundry detergent, cat litter, etc – just think, you won’t have to shop for this stuff during the holiday rush!

Declutter.

If you are putting up decorations for the holidays, declutter first.  Holiday decorations alone feel like clutter to me after they have been up for a couple of weeks, so I like to minimize the amount of stuff that I have everywhere.  Think about minimizing the amount of stuff that you have on tables, mantles, windowsills, etc.

Come up with some ideas for entertaining.

The holidays can often mean keeping everyone entertained, especially the little ones.  Perhaps it is a good time to grab some coloring books, crafts, or other things to keep everyone busy, and plan a children’s table.