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Entertaining

The Ultimate Pre-Holiday Organization Checklist

October 29, 2018
Di Ter AvestDi Ter Avest

It’s almost November, which means one thing — the holiday season is right around the corner! While your to-do list might seem overwhelming, one thing is for sure, the more organized your home is, the less stressful this month will be.

My ultimate pre-holiday organization checklist breaks out everything you need to do between now and Thanksgiving to get your home ready for hosting visitors.

Take some time to prep this weekend by purchasing or gathering everything you will need and then set aside 30 minutes every day starting November 5 to get organized. You can complete this checklist by November 19 and you’ll be well on your way to an organized home for the holidays!

Get Ready!

Before you tackle the checklist, read through everything in full and make note of any items you don’t already have on hand to help you get organized. Here’s a list of everything you will need:

  • Entryway decorations
  • Wooden hangers
  • Decorative baskets
  • Command hooks
  • Binder
  • Snacks and water bottles
  • City map, sightseeing brochures (available for free at your local tourism office)
  • Travel-sized toiletries
  • Tablecloth and table runner
  • Decorative candles, gourds and mini pumpkins

Expert tip: The Dollar Store has many of these items at a fraction of the cost of Target or Home Goods!

Porch / Entryway

  • Put away any Summer / Halloween decoration that you still have up. Discard any broken ones and the ones that didn’t even leave your seasonal decoration bins. If you didn't use it this year, chances you will use them next year are minimal.
  • Decorate the entryway with fall flowers, pumpkins and baskets with cozy blankets. Check out our list of easy fall DIYs for inspiration!
  • Declutter your drop off zone. Don’t just dump everything in a 20-gallon bin. Find a home for the items that are hanging around your entryway. Check out How to Organize Your Entryway if you need some ideas on how to get organized.
  • Make sure your hall closet has room for all your guests’ things. Get some extra wooden hangers for coats and use decorative baskets to store purses, gloves and hats.

Guest Bedroom / Bathroom

  • Declutter the closet. Many people use the guest bedroom closet to store extra supplies, out of season clothes, and heavy coats. Use this time to purge, donate and make space.
  • Now that you created some space it’s time to organize the guest closet. Add hangers, baskets, an alarm clock, a hamper, hooks on the door for robes, towels, extra blankets and a space heater. Think about things that will help your guest enjoy their stay.
  • Assemble a guest welcome basket. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but it is good to spoil our loved ones. You could include some local magazines, snacks, water bottles and mints. Add some locally sourced treats if you have guests arriving from out of state or out of country.
  • Put together an informational kit. Gather some city maps, museum flyers, must sightseeing places in your area, and create a binder with them. If your house has any rules that you want your guests to know about, this is a great place to put them. Don’t forget to include the WiFi password in your info kit.
  • Under the bathroom sink is a great place to store a “guest pharmacy”. Include travel-sized shampoo and conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, makeup remover wipes, soap, deodorant, Q-tips, first aid supplies, and some pain medicine.
  • Make up the bed with fresh sheets and leave clean towels on the bed. Your guest room is ready!

Kitchen / Dining Room

  • Work on the menu for Thanksgiving. What dishes do you want to make? What will your guests bring? Start to a shared document to organize your menu and shopping list now while there is plenty of time to prepare. Share it with guests ahead of time so you don’t end up with too many desserts (if there is such a thing!).
  • Before you hit the grocery store, check your pantry and items you might already have. Check all the expiration dates. Remove expired foods, and clean the space. Put things back in the pantry in an orderly way. Sort the items by category, for example baking, dinner, breakfast, hot drinks.
  • Organize your fridge. Check for and discard expired food, wipe everything down, and don’t forget to adjust the shelves to fit the turkey!
  • In the dining room, check if you have enough place settings to accommodate your needs. Set aside the tablecloth, napkins, and table runner. Check Pinterest for some creative tablescapes ideas — fresh flowers, gourds and candles can go a long way! Finally, make sure your serving ware and glassware are cleaned and ready to go.
  • Relax and enjoy the holiday season with your family and friends!