12 Days of Christmas Cleaning Tips from The Maids

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You want your home to look perfect during the holidays, especially when you expect more visits from friends and relatives. You decorate with twinkling lights and greenery and spend more time cooking – and cleaning. And your schedule is busier than ever. The Maids, the only franchised residential cleaning service to clean for health using environmentally preferable products, offers these 12 days of holiday cleaning tips to make your home sparkle without adding extra stress to your life. Sing it to the tune of the famous song to make your chores more enjoyable.

>>First Day of Christmas: Clean the inside of the oven and the top of the stove. You don't want the smell of roast turkey, ham or chicken mixed with the smell of last Thursday's "meatloaf surprise."

>>Second Day of Christmas: Clean out your refrigerator to make room for leftovers. Make sure you have adequate storage containers and space for the extra food before the meals begin. Leave an open box of baking soda inside to absorb any odors your holiday goodies might leave behind.

>>Third Day of Christmas: Empty coat closets of extra outerwear like spring jackets and sweatshirts to make room for your guests' outerwear. Consider donating any outgrown apparel to a local charity organization.

>>Fourth Day of Christmas: Empty all trash containers. Clean and disinfect inside and out with warm, soapy water and a neutral disinfectant. Drop several extra trash liners inside each container before relining for a quick and easy way to remove future trash when it really starts to pile up.

>>Fifth Day of Christmas: Clean the tops of ceiling fan blades and inside ceiling lamp globes. This ensures no surprising plummeting dust bunnies!

>>Sixth Day of Christmas: Remove clutter from tops of kitchen counters as this gives a more open feel, plus family and friends tend to congregate in the kitchen during holiday gatherings. Find a home for mail, magazines, books and other items that tend to pile up on tables and in the home office.

>>Seventh Day of Christmas: Launder and press bed dressings for any overnight guests. Leave clean towels in each guest bedroom and top with a holiday candy piece or two to make your guests feel pampered.

>>Eighth Day of Christmas: Move furniture, like small end tables and large potted plants, to a spare room to allow for extra chairs and sitting space around the tree for opening gifts.

>>Ninth Day of Christmas: Dust all surfaces, including areas such as baseboards and windowsills. Pay attention to collectibles and picture frames — items you'll want to "show off" to your holiday guests.

>>Tenth Day of Christmas: Be sure your bathrooms meet the white-glove test. Remove personal items from countertops and clean the toilet, sink and mirror to a sparkling shine. Use window cleaner on fixtures for extra gleam!

>>Eleventh Day of Christmas: Vacuum home from top to bottom, paying attention to areas such as the dining room, living room and kitchen, where people will gather the most. Don't forget about your upholstery and hard-surface floors. They collect dust and dirt too!

>>Twelfth Day of Christmas: As your last task, set and style the table. You will be glad this is complete before the holiday becomes hectic with cooking and preparing final details for your guests' arrivals.