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Front Page - Friday, December 6, 2019

Checklist for getting your house guest-ready

It feels great to have a clean, organized, well-functioning home when you’ve got guests coming, especially around the holidays. It’s like your gift to you.

Use this checklist from the National Association of Realtors to get that satisfying feeling, no matter how much time you have.

Three (or more) weeks to go

Think big picture. Get anything that requires a pro or installation out of the way now. No one wants calamity to strike when guests are pulling into the driveway.

• Get your HVAC maintained if it’s overdue.

• If you have a self-cleaning oven, clean it now. An oven is most likely to break down during the cleaning cycle, so don’t save this task for last.

• Replace any appliance on its last legs. You don’t want your hot water to go out or fridge on the fritz with a houseful of guests.

• Steam-clean upholstery. (Or hire a pro. It’s a big job)

• Hire a handyman for those repairs you’ve been putting off.

• Check outdoor lighting. Replace old bulbs and call an electrician to address any bigger issues.

Two weeks to go

It’s not panic time yet. Focus on decluttering and a few deep-cleaning tasks now, and you’ll have a more manageable to-do list when the clock really starts ticking down.

• Do a deep declutter. It’ll make things easier to keep clean.

• Dust ceiling fans, light fixtures and high shelves.

• Wipe down baseboards.

• Clean out and organize the fridge.

• Wash windows to make the entire house feel brighter and cleaner.

• Toss washable shower curtains and drapes in the washing machine and re-hang. Easy.

One week to go

It’s strategic cleaning time. Here’s what to tackle now — things your family won’t easily undo before your guests arrive.

• Declutter again.

• Vacuum and dust guest rooms. If they’re low-traffic, the cleanliness should hold with just a quick wipe-down right before they arrive.

• Wipe down walls.

• Wipe down kitchen and dining room chairs and tables, including the legs. You’d be surprised how grimy they get.

• Deep clean the entryway — and make room for your guests’ stuff.

72 hours to go

The final cleaning stretch is on the horizon.

• Do another declutter.

• In the kitchen, toss stove burners, drip pans, and knobs into the dishwasher for an easy deep clean.

• Wash kitchen cabinet fronts.

• Scrub the kitchen floor.

• Clean and shine appliances.

48 hours to go

Now it’s time to get serious.

• Clean and sanitize garbage cans to banish mystery smells.

• Wipe down doorknobs, faceplates and light switches. They’re germ magnets.

• Clean the front door.

• Deep clean the bathroom your guests will use, and close it off if possible.

• Wash guest towels and linens.

24 hours to go

Your guests’ bags are packed. Time for final touches.

• Do a final declutter - by now it shouldn’t take more than five minutes.

• Give one final wipe-down to toilets, tubs and bathroom sinks.

• And another final wipe-down in the kitchen.

• Do all the floors: Mop, vacuum, sweep, etc.

• Make guest beds and set out clean towels.

• Plug in nightlights in guest baths.

• Put out guest toiletries so they’re easy to find.

• Add a coffee or tea station in the guest room or kitchen.

• Get your favorite smell going, whether it’s a scented candle, spices in water on the stove, or essential oils.

• Use rubber gloves to wipe off pet hair and dust from furniture. It works.

• Do the full red carpet: Sweep or shovel porch, steps and outdoor walkways.

With this countdown roadmap, you’ll have a perfectly clean guest-ready home, no matter how much (or little) time you have. We work with our clients and communities all throughout the year. That’s Who We R®. Greater Chattanooga Realtors® is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.