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We all want a holiday season that’s full of twinkling lights, excited children, and peace in our little corner of the earth. We want to spend time with family and friends, decorate cookies until red sprinkles are permanently embedded in the linoleum floor, and enjoy the sight of beautifully wrapped presents under the Christmas tree.
We also want to be welcoming and gracious hosts to out-of-town guests, a “yes mom” to the kiddos who are out of school, and a cheerful giver of our time to the countless demands of the season.
Can we all admit that it’s a lot?
There’s a lot to do and experience and create. There’s so much that we hope for as we enter the final days before Christmas and that magical week before the new year begins that it can be just a bit overwhelming. And the mess and mayhem that come with all the good stuff of the season might make us want to cry. Literally.
With all the stuff that fills up our lives at this time of year, it can be helpful to do a few things that will keep “normal life” from completely slipping into the abyss of continual messes, never-ending laundry piles, and an always-full dish sink.
Try these 9 Ways to Keep Your House Clean and Your Heart Happy
1. Do one load of laundry most days.
As much as possible, throw a load of laundry into the washer every morning and try to complete the cycle of wash, dry, fold, and put-away before bedtime. Of course, some days won’t allow for all of that, but if you make an effort, even when you have company, you won’t have to worry about catching up on all the things once the days calm down.
2. Do the dishes every evening (or first thing in the morning).
Try not to go to bed with dishes covering every flat surface in the kitchen, but even if you can’t wash every single dish in the evening, at least try to finish up first thing in the morning. It will help you be diligent about keeping up with the dishes throughout the day if you’re starting with an empty sink and counter.
3. Tidy up the house every morning.
To keep the house from becoming an overwhelming mess, start every day by straightening up the main living areas, freshening up the bathrooms, and putting random clutter where it belongs. This isn’t about scrubbing or dusting. It’s simply making your home clean enough to feel comfortable for your family and any guests.
4. Accept help.
If your husband offers to clean the bathrooms or your guest offers to make a last minute grocery run, don’t be afraid to let them help you. While it can be a little humbling to admit that you can’t do it all, your friends and family will actually feel better knowing that they pitched in and lightened your load.
5. Clean out the refrigerator.
A clean fridge might seem like an odd thing to worry about when you’re busy wrapping gifts and preparing for overnight guests, but trying to shove lunchmeat or leftovers into the refrigerator is frustrating. And you’ll end up having to hunt for food and stuff it back in again two or three times every single day.
6. Plan for every meal and some snacks if you’re having guests.
Life will be much easier if you make a menu plan so you know what food needs prepped for the evening meal and what self-serve items to set out at lunch time. It’s also a good idea to know what you’ll give the kids when they come in hungry from a day of fun and games.
7. Create a detailed plan for making the big meal.
Besides making a menu for the big meal you’ll be serving, also write out a detailed plan for how and when to make each food item so it will all come together without a lot of guessing and stress. If you’re not sure how to do that, you can read about how to plan out a big meal, or you can watch a video about it HERE.
8. Give yourself permission to relax.
Whether you’re entertaining a house full of people or your own little brood of needy children, it’s easy to do nothing but work, work, work. There’s just so much that needs done! Let yourself ignore the To Do List and simply sit and rest from time to time. Consider it a gift you’re giving yourself.
9. Begin each day with prayer and some time alone.
This is actually the most important time of the day, especially when there are dozens of tasks and activities that will need your attention. Fill up your tank by getting up a few minutes before the rest of the house so you can have some time alone. Drink something warm and just enjoy the quiet while you read and pray. This one thing can make all the difference in the world!
Sure, your calendar and your house may be full to overflowing, but that doesn’t mean real life has to fall apart. Taking steps to keep up with the basics will help you enjoy all those special moments and celebrations that make the season special.
How about you? What are your favorite tips for keeping away the crazy during the holidays?