Follow these tips for being guest-ready without the rush.


Last minute-itis, the tendency to rush around like a madman decluttering and cleaning the house before guests arrive, is an all-too-common affliction among home owners during the holiday season.

Deal Seeking Mom, the popular blogger, mother, and home owner (a.k.a. Tara Kuczykowski), vowed not to have a last-minute Christmas this year. So she asked her ultra-organized friend and fellow blogger Mandi Ehman of Life...Your Way for tricks to minimize daily clutter and keep your home clean.

The ladies have tracked their tips in the feature “Preparing Your Home for the Holidays.” And we’ve collected our favorites, room by room, for you:

Family room

  • For a quick everyday clutter fix, pick up some big, inexpensive baskets and fill them with the toys and knickknacks that seem never to have a home.
  • If you have time for a bigger job, pick up IKEA’s Expedit Bookcase and tip it on its side to use as a container for eight Knipsa baskets.
  • Don’t fret about scratches and stains on your couch. Use a slipcover to easily hide unsightly damage.
  • Make cleaning surfaces simple. Rely on a microfiber cloth to be a do-it-all duster and baseboard wiper.

Kids’ rooms

  • Stick toys that aren’t regularly used in crawl spaces.
  • If you have time, give the hundreds of Lego pieces a home by building a Lego table. Simply screw flat-based Lego pieces onto an unused tabletop.
  • Add cleaning time to your nightly bedtime rituals. (Good luck with that!)


  • Wipe down surfaces at least once a week to avoid any one big cleaning job.
  • Next time you have to take out the hand vacuum, give the silk flowers and other dust collectors a once-over.
  • Stick that ugly plunger in a closet.


  • Stop buying spices and baking ingredients in bulk. You end up wasting money when they go bad before you use them.
  • Store canned items on shelving in the garage to alleviate pantry crowding.
  • Stick under-the-sink odds and ends in a storage caddy.
  • Create a separate kitchen “zone” where all your coffee (or tea) stuff can live together.

What are your tips for corralling clutter and keeping a clean home? Share your cleanup traditions with us by leaving a comment on our Facebook page!