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Hosting is back! Ready your home in 1-2-3

Unlike the better known cousin "spring cleaning" who commands all the attention (we all have one of those, don't we?!?), fall cleaning is equally if not more important!  After all, you're more likely to be entertaining in the coming months, and don't you want your home to sparkle?  

You're also likely to be spending more time indoors over the fall and winter months, and while cozy with cobwebs might work for Halloween, I think we all can agree that cozy and clean is generally preferred.  

Last but not least, during the season of giving we all tend to acquire new things - whether that's as the recipient of gifts or by deftly navigating black Friday doorbuster deals and post-holiday sales.  A pre-holiday purge helps to make room - both for new things and your guests!  

So where to start?  I do tend to leave the deep cleaning that won't be visible to anyone but me until the spring, like pulling everything out of the kitchen cabinets and pantry to purge expired food or gadgets that haven't been used in years, and damp dust the shelves.  In the fall, I focus on these 3 high impact spaces/jobs:

1. A routine for the kitchen:Your kitchen is the heart of your home, and its probably the space you'll spend the most time in over the next few months, whether you're baking, cooking or gathering.  A cleaning routine can help tremendously during the holiday season; I find its just the "stitch in time" that's needed as the season of celebrations gets underway.  I'm much happier and more productive in a space that's in order (and I do everything possible to avoid the eleventh hour mad dashes which stress to hosting). 

For me, the daily routine is simple - I clear and clean the counters each evening, and empty and wipe down the sink.  Voila - serenity now!  This takes ~10-15 minutes and sets the tone for the entire house.  I've certainly found that clutter on the counters is like a magnet: it attracts more. and more.  And there is nothing worse than waking up the crumbs and drips of yesterday's dinner or a sink full of crusty dishes.  

2. Create inviting spaces for your guests: Throughout the year, a guest room might double as an office, a playroom, or a place to craft. G uest rooms and coat closets also tend to accumulate our most treasured "I'm not quite sure what to do with this" possessions.   

October or early November is the perfect time to plan for how these rooms and other spaces will be used over the holidays.  Do you move furniture to make space for a tree?  Add seating for football and family?  Or clear out a closet so Aunt Sally can actually hang up a coat?  Thinking about creating fresh and welcoming spaces will turn a chore into a fun, creative challenge.  

3. Prepare for holiday decorating:  There's nothing quite like putting candles in the windows only to see... fingerprints all over on the glass.!  Before you hang up the stockings and haul out the holly, start by dusting the mantle, wiping off cabinet door fronts and cleaning windows from the inside.  All of these jobs can be done in small amounts of time, and with stylish, sustainable, Swedish dishcloths of course!

That's it!  Your bigger projects can wait until March weekend while you enjoy the glorious foliage, fall and holiday decorating and gathering with friends and family. 

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