Preparing Your Home for Thanksgiving

preparing your home for thanksgivingAs you anticipate the kickoff of the holiday season, preparing your home for Thanksgiving may seem daunting. From colder temperatures to awaiting the arrival of new guests or old friends, your mental checklist is likely extensive. But don’t worry. We’ll lay out everything you need to know to set your home up for Thanksgiving success. 

What You Need to Get Done Outside

Though you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, this doesn’t mean that all of your in-laws won’t judge your home by its exterior. To make your home look warm and inviting from the outside as well as inside, there are a few things to consider when preparing your home for Thanksgiving. A few of our best fall home maintenance tips include cleaning the gutters as well as raking leaves, pruning any shrubs, and planting winter-ready grass. If you’re worried about planting flowers that will last, consider planting flowers in pots near your front door, and put them on wheeled saucers. You can easily move them to a warmer spot. You should also ensure that your home is draining properly — the last thing you want is for a cold snap to damage your home while you have visitors.

If you’re a fan of Halloween, you’re not alone. However, leaving plastic skeletons lying around doesn’t really scream “Thanksgiving” — though, it may make some guests scream. Not only is leaving Halloween décor up late into fall a bit tacky, but it may also hurt the value of your home. Feel free to leave any general fall-themed decor up, such as gourds and pumpkins. However, your guests will likely appreciate something as simple as a welcome mat and well-swept walkways and steps. 

What You Need to Get Done Inside

If you don’t have a good house cleaning routine, planning for visitors and the holidays is a good reason to start.

  • Make sure you give your whole home a good dusting, followed by a thorough vacuum
  • Clean mirrors and bathrooms, and give shower curtains a refresh if you need to
  • Check light bulbs and other small appliances
  • Get rid of unnecessary clutter (decorative baskets are a good way to hide it in plain sight) 

One of the best parts about cooler temperatures is cranking up the fireplace. That being said, be sure to check your chimney for blockages and that the flue is clear. If you’re uncertain if your fireplace is working properly, consult a professional. The last thing you want to do is fire it up as soon as you have guests and create harmful fumes or wayward flames. 

How to Prepare Your Kitchen

Thanksgiving is more than what happens in the kitchen. However, you should spend a good amount of time making sure that all of your appliances are in working order. It’s not recommended to run a self-clean cycle on your oven prior to the big day. This action takes a huge toll on your oven and can even release unwanted fumes that linger for days if not weeks if done incorrectly. Instead, spot-treat problem areas with non-toxic spray and scrape out any crumbs.

Work on clearing out the fridge a few weeks prior and allocating space for bulky ingredients — like a turkey — as well as for leftovers in the following days. Once you plan your menu, try to grocery shop for shelf-stable or frozen items sooner than later. You’ll only have to worry about grabbing a few fresh ingredients once the stores get busier. You should also consider looking through cabinets to make sure you have all the necessary tools and that they’re at least somewhat organized. That way, you’re not scrambling while trying to make small talk the morning of. 

Bonus Tips: Hosting Thanksgiving

How else can you make your guests feel warm and welcome? Beyond filling your home with plenty of food and drinks, there a few other ways to make yourself the host/hostess. You can also print or write out a schedule for your guests and plan activities, such as a nature walk or coffee outing. 

If you’re having long-term or overnight guests, consider the following:

  • Try to keep sleeping areas as private as possible
  • Dedicate a separate guest bath, if you can
  • Leave out extra linens, towels, and blankets
  • Make sure the area/room is freshly dusted, cleaned, swept, and laundered
  • Leave out books or magazines, as well as snacks and a few bottles of water
  • Have a few extra essentials on hand just in case, like toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.

If you’re just having guests for the day, consider the following:

  • Buy disposable (even eco-friendly) to-go containers so guests can bring leftovers home with them
  • Set the table(s) and put out place cards, if applicable, prior to their arrival
  • Make sure your driveway and walkways are well-lit
  • Have a couch or sleeping area ready just in case a guest needs to sleep off the big meal

We hope you have a happy, healthy, and stress-free Thanksgiving! For more home-owner and lifestyle tips, check out our blog. And, if you’re interested in buying or selling a home in the Knoxville area, we’re here for that, too!

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