Cleaning up for Christmas


We sorry for using the “C” word in November, but there’s only six weeks until Christmas! There’s a host of DIY and maintenance jobs to tackle before the festive season begins.

Paint the guest room

Give the guest room a lick of paint, but remember that preparation is everything and may take longer than the finishing touches.

Remove as much furniture from the room as you can before you start, or put items in the centre to give you plenty of room to work around. Cover everything – carpet, wardrobe and any remaining furniture – with dust sheets or plastic sheeting before you start.

Fill small holes and cracks in the walls. You can buy all sorts of fillers, from multipurpose to quick drying, for different surfaces. Wipe clean walls using a sponge and warm water. Sand wood, including skirting boards and windowsills, to roughen off old paint so that new paint will adhere to it. Use a piece of card tucked under the skirting to further protect the carpet once you start painting, along with masking tape where needed.

Replace a toilet seat

Splash out on a new one – this is one of those jobs we are always putting off

Measure the exact size of your seat before buying a new one, as there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ standard Remove the old seat, loosening the bolts that go through the hinges which connect the seat to the base and unscrewing the nuts underneath it to free the old seat.

Clean the toilet base thoroughly, concentrating on the bolt holes where the old seat was fixed, which may have a build-up of grime. Line up your new seat, pushing the bolts through the hinges and tightening the nuts to keep the seat in place. Good for years.

Declutter your home

With a few extra people in your home, you are going to need some additional room. It’s time to declutter and create some much needed space. Your living room, family room, and other common rooms used for entertaining should be free of any furniture that you won’t use. Old magazines, newspapers, mail, and other items should be sorted and recycled or discarded. Get several storage bins or extra shelving if necessary to declutter your home.

Put up some new shelving

Christmas ornaments, candles and trinkets can look great on a shelf – so put up some new ones.

Use an electronic detector to check for pipes and cables before drilling into a wall. Avoid drilling directly above or below a light fitting or power socket as cables are likely to be there.

Make sure the shelf you’re putting up will take the weight of whatever you’re going to put on it. Stud partition walls won’t take as much weight as masonry ones, so aim to fix wall plugs and screws into the strongest part of the stud wall, such as the joists.

Setup an imaginative outdoor shower

Embrace nature and create a tranquil space in your back yard with an outdoor shower. For those who don’t have the space for a pool, an outdoor shower is a great alternative to cooling off during those scorching  summers. It is important to consider the plumbing points, screening for privacy and a sustainable water management system. Opt for pavers that are specially designed to allow water to permeate through the surface into the layers below, where water can be harvested or redirected. Surface water runoff is minimised and the need for additional surface drainage is reduced. Get inspired by images on Pinterest

Clean your driveway and paving

Your front driveway is the first thing Christmas guests will notice… so it’s worth spending half an hour giving it a thorough clean. Specialist products available at most DIY stores will remove mould, algae and general grime from driveways, patios and pathways. You could also use a quick-drying sealant, which will weatherproof and protect your patios and block paving against fuel and oil stains.

Cook ahead

Who wants to spend all your time in the kitchen when you have houseguests? Cook ahead and freeze some meals for dinner. Also, make sure your pantry and kitchen are stocked with staple items. Keep breakfast simple (cereal, granola and yogurt, or fresh fruit). Lunch can be sandwiches and salads. Keep in mind that your guests will probably want to go out to local restaurants for some meals as well.

Other ideas

Cleaning wise, focus on the outside of your home. Fix any flapping fly screens, wash windows, and treat yourself to some new doormats. Adding some greenery to your indoors provides a nice splash of colour and a real connection to nature. Add greenery and plants with hanging baskets and pot plants and, if you’re going to be hosting a party, think about whether you’ll need to borrow or hire any extra outdoor furniture.

One thing you might consider doing at this point is to have a look at any old toys that can be recycled or given to a charity shop to make room for all the new ones to come.

Defrost your freezer at least one week before Christmas – you are so going to thank yourself for remembering this one when your fridge is overflowing with goodies that need to go in the freezer and the doors are stuck fast with ice!

Clean out that oven – it’s looking reproachfully at you and it does deserve a little TLC just once a year.

Do clean out at least one food cupboard to allow for the extra buying that happens at this time of year.


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