Between the airport pickups, family gatherings and sky high expectations it’s no surprise that the holidays can be a stressful time! But this year we’d like to change that. Before the friends and relatives fill your house with festive cheer, check out our tips to simplify and streamline your prep for a successful holiday season.

Deep clean the appliances

From November to January appliances get run through their paces. Make sure to start fresh and clear out those crumbs! Wipe down and degrease the oven and trays, but avoid the “self-clean” setting which can damage delicate heating elements. Remove the microwave’s rotating tray and degrease grimy burners and grating. Clean the fridge vents, dust the stove hood and vacuum refrigerator coils. Keep your kitchen sparkling and performing at its best.

Clear the clutter

Now that your space is tidy, clear up that clutter. Eliminate excess landing zones for mail, shoes or clothes and move them to their designated spaces. Clear countertops, pick up laundry and go through the house front to back. Spread it over a weekend and tackle one room a day. If you don’t know where to begin, start small. Set a 10-minute timer and challenge yourself to clean out a junk drawer or pantry shelf. You may be surprised at how much you can accomplish.

Prevent Party Mishaps

Keep your furniture and floors protected and stain-free by taking a few precautions. Use stain repellent spray on appropriate furniture and rugs and lay down doormats at every entrance to catch dirt. Encourage guests to use coasters and provide mini-plates for appetizers and other snacks. Place rugs in high traffic areas to protect flooring use specialized products like Real Clean Floors to keep your wood floors looking like new.

Decorate mindfully

Save your sanity and stop feeling obligated to deck every inch of your home in holiday cheer. Instead, focus on the main areas in which you and your guests will spend the most time. Think front porch, foyer, entryway, living and dining rooms and the kitchen. Make an impact with a large statement piece and have fun. Use candles or lighting to set the tone and rotate in just a few sentimental pieces each year rather than your whole collection.

Prepare for guests

Make your guest feel welcome with a few simple touches. Consider what you would want as a visitor in your home. Do they need the wifi password, how about an extra throw blanket? From freshly washed linens to extra towels and toiletries, your friends and family will appreciate any extra care you take to make their stay comfortable.

Stock up on supplies

With so many people coming and going, it’s important to stock up on basic supplies for your home. Make sure you have plenty of trash bags, paper goods, like tissues and toilet paper, dish soap and cleaning supplies. With all the tidying and party prepping, it’s a good idea to be prepared.

Child Proof your home

If you plan on little ones coming to visit, don’t forget to put away the breakables. Make sure heavy objects, like Christmas trees, are secured and delicate pieces are put away. Keep candles up high and out of reach and hang greenery and other plant life high. If kids are in the kitchen, be extra cautious when cooking, entertaining or carrying hot dishes through the space.

Finally, stay safe!

Now that your home looks its best, make sure it’s safe as well. Check the batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure to have working fire extinguishers in all cooking areas. Lastly, peek at your first aid kit and see that it is stocked with the basic necessities for simple cuts and burns.

With these quick and easy preparations, you’ll be on your way to a simple, streamlined holiday season.