The holiday season is a great time to get together with family members you may not have seen since last year. But, that’s also what makes this time of year stressful. If you’re not prepared to impress your guests, things can feel unorganized and incomplete. If you focus on these five steps to prepare your home for the holidays now, you won’t have to run around on the big day when you should just be enjoying yourself and your company.

1. De-Clutter Your Home (In Advance!)

When it comes to de-cluttering, sometimes our ambitions outweigh the time we actually have to get it all done. While it would be great to have endless amounts of time we could spend on organizing our homes, the reality is that most people don’t. This means we have to learn to simplify our spaces as we go!

Instead of focusing on cleaning every nook and cranny of your home, start by de-cluttering the most important rooms and getting rid of things that take up space. A de-cluttered room often gives the illusion of being clean and more open, even if it isn’t. Here’s how you can begin de-cluttering today:

  • Come up with a plan and follow through. Decide how much time you want to dedicate to each project, then visualize the end result to help keep you motivated.

  • Begin with your least cluttered rooms. Why? By doing so, you will reward yourself with instant gratification that will help you continue on to the next rooms.

  • Get rid of things you haven’t used in a year. Simplify your space by donating items you haven’t used in a while. Chances are, you won’t ever use them.

2. Now It’s Time to Start Cleaning

Now is the time to start cleaning the parts of your home that tend to be forgotten throughout the year. Projects like these can take several weeks, so it’s best to start ahead of time before the big day.

A few things you can do ahead of time are:

  • Wash windows

  • Wash curtains

  • Clean baseboards

  • Clean carpets if applicable

  • Steam clean couches and chairs

3. Hurry, Get the Kitchen Ready

The kitchen is the place to be during the holidays. By starting your deep cleaning ahead of time, you should have extra time to focus on cleaning your kitchen as the day comes closer. Don’t wait until you’re running around, stressed out, to start preparing for family and guests.

4. Add a Holiday Touch

What’s the holiday season without a little holiday decor? Just remember, don’t wait until the last minute to decorate your home. If you do, you may never get around to it with all of the other things you’ll be juggling. Instead, try to put up holiday decor a couple of weeks before you have friends and family over. To make the decorating go by quickly, ask someone for an extra hand.

5. Stock Up On Home Essentials

If you have family from out of town coming over and spending the night, be sure you have all of the essentials for their use. Some items to have on hand include clean towels, shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, toothpaste and toilet paper. Even if they bring their own supplies, it doesn’t hurt to have extras on hand just in case.

To help stay organized, use a holiday planner to simplify everything you need to get done. This planner will become your best friend when it comes to keeping the holidays organized. You’ll stay ahead of the game thanks to your notes, records and reminders all recorded on paper.