Already knee deep in your holiday plans? Trying to fit party after party into your schedule? We say things like “the holidays crept up on us this year,” and from experience, it seems to occur faster every year. Planning a party can be fun. The cleaning up afterward? Not so much. But in truth, the getting ready part can be equally as stressful. If you’re not prepared. Whether you’re planning a cookie exchange with your girlfriends or are hosting a dinner party with relatives, a super clean home makes everything sparkle just a little bit more. And with a little deep cleaning beforehand, it can take the stress off of getting ready for the big day, giving you more time to kick back and relax. Here are a few time saving housekeeping tips to help you get ahead with all of your holiday preparations. Here are a few time saving housekeeping tips to help you get ahead with all of your holiday preparations.

1. Clean your dinnerware ahead of time

The holidays are the time to bring out the dinnerware hidden in your china closet and put them to good use. The larger the crowd you’re expecting, the more serving pieces you’ll need. And chances are when you pull them from the back of the cupboard or drawers, they’ll look a little lackluster and dusty. Pull them out ahead of time and pop them into the sink for a good scrubbing. Wipe down the cabinet before you put them back for safekeeping, and you’ll know you have one less chore to do when the big day arrives.

2. Get your linens ready

Even though you washed your tablecloths and napkins last year before you tucked them back into your linen closet, sitting there for months on end can leave them wrinkled and dull. Take them out a little early and send them through the wash to freshen them up. It will brighten the fabric and make it smell great too.

3. Clean up your appliances

Occasionally, you probably wipe down the front of your dishwasher, oven, and washing machine. But how about the inside? When was the last time you gave each of your appliances a thorough cleaning, inside and out? Even though you use your appliances on a regular basis, they can still accumulate food, grease, and soap scum near the bottom. They may take on a funny smell, and leave your dishes and clothes less than clean. Take a few minutes to wipe away the extra gunk and dive deep into the tiny crevices where small particles can reside.

4. Stay organized**

Especially during the holiday season, it is critical to stay ahead of the curve.  Toss junk mail as it comes in before it piles up on the counter.  Take an inventory of things you need to purchase before a party or the arrival of company.  Give your home look over every day.  Are things getting out of place again?  Keep your to do/to buy list handy and stick to it.  Make sure you add things to the lists before you get to the store and then have to go back once again.  Ease your work load by assigning tasks and errands to other family members that can pitch in.  This will lessen the stress as the holiday approaches.  Most important, relax and enjoy the moment and spirit of the season!