The holidays are just around the corner and that means your leads, clients, and prospects will be getting their homes ready to host family and friends. Now is your chance to win some brownie points by helping them prepare. Here are six steps to creating a warm, inviting space to host their next event in. Recommend them to your contacts, and if you’re planning to host, you can use the list too.
- Tidy up the Front Porch.
First impressions are formed before a guest even sets foot in a home, so having a tidy front porch can go a long way toward setting the right mood. Make sure your front porch is clean and ready by sweeping away any leaves (or snow) on the path to your door, wiping away dust and dirt, and cleaning the windows by the door.
Depending on how much time you have, wiping the door down to remove accumulated grime or giving the front door a fresh coat of paint can also do wonders. Adding a festive wreath or bow to the door will brighten up the space as well.
An often overlooked part of the porch is the light. Make sure any debris that may have gotten inside the light are removed and that the bulb is in good working order so guests won’t have to stumble back to their cars in the dark.
- Declutter the Kitchen and Dining Area.
Food is a big part of the holiday season, so it’s important for the kitchen and dining room to be ready to accommodate hordes of hungry guests. Decluttering is the first step to this. Start decluttering by removing excess “stuff” from kitchen counters so there will be plenty of room to work and prepare food.
Next, evaluate the space to determine where the best place to set up finished refreshments will be. If a whole feast is in the plans, consider clearing off a table or sideboard or even setting up a dedicated folding table for food. Then decorate the area with a festive tablecloth or add a few decorative items to make the table even more inviting.
- Test & Clean Oven.
Making room to serve food won’t do much good if the oven doesn’t work. Make sure the oven is clean and in good working order before planning to host.
If the oven works, make sure it’s accurate by testing the preheat settings. Place an oven thermometer on the oven’s middle rack and preheat it to 350˚ Fahrenheit. Wait twenty minutes and check the temperature on the oven thermometer. Continue taking readings every twenty minutes for the next hour and a half. Add your recorded temperatures together and divide by the number of readings that were taken. This number should be close to 350˚. If not, call in a repair technician to take a look.
Finally, make sure the oven is spic and span to avoid potential issues involving grease and smoke. A can of oven cleaner is easy to use for this, but if you’d prefer, you can also opt for a more natural alternative like baking soda and vinegar. Whichever option is used, be sure to wipe the oven thoroughly after cleaning to remove any residual chemicals.
- Check Your Circuits.
Circuit breaker problems are more common during the winter holidays, and since nothing kills a good party like an unexpected power outage, you should probably go ahead and check the home’s circuits now. Start by making sure there aren’t too many appliances or devices plugged into the same circuit. One sign that a single circuit may be carrying too heavy a load is when a wall has multiple 3-way plugs or power strips being utilized.
If one room is going to be drawing an inordinate amount of power, such as running multiple additional appliances or electronics, consider running power via an extension cord from another room, as well. This will lessen the strain on the circuit.
If a breaker does get overloaded, no big deal! The circuit can be reset from the electrical panel. Just unplug the extra devices, make sure your hands and the ground where you’re standing are dry, and flip the affected switch back into the “on” position.
- Prepare a Grocery List
Decide what food will be served. If guests will be spending the night or staying multiple days, plan for other meals as well. Once the menu is complete, write out a list of ingredients. Before heading to the store, check your fridge and pantry for ingredients and seasonings you already have.
- Clean Out the Pantry
Cleaning out the pantry is a great way to make sure there is plenty of room for holiday must-haves and to check which common ingredients need to be refilled. Start by removing all items from the pantry, checking expiration dates as you go. Then, dispose of outdated food and make a list of staples such as salt, sugar, or flour that are low.
Finally, wipe down the shelves to remove any dust or residue that has accumulated and replace non-expired food items.