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12 Days of Christmas: How to Clean Your Home Before the Big Day

The holiday season can get hectic. There are gifts to buy, parties to attend and if you're hosting this year, getting the house ready can be a real stressor. This 12-day checklist will help you get your home in order just in time for Christmas. Start on Dec. 13 for a house that will shine, and revisit any spots that may need a touch up before the big day.

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Day 1: Get the Guest Bedroom Ready

If guests are staying overnight, get the guest bedroom ready first so you don’t have to worry about it later. Dust surfaces and baseboards, vacuum, wash linens and make the bed and put out any extras to make their stay more comfortable, such as towels and wash cloths, and any welcoming gifts. Prepare your home for overnight guests with this handy checklist.

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Day 2: The Laundry Room

You’ll be doing a lot of laundry over the holidays so now is the time to get the laundry room prepped and ready for battle. Wipe down shelves and appliances, organize the cabinets and make sure you’re stocked up on supplies. Get your laundry room organized with these simple, helpful ideas.

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Day 3: Kids’ Bedrooms

Next, tackle the kids’ bedrooms. Get your kids to help with putting toys and books away and throwing out any trash. Vacuum and dust, put laundry away and make the bed. To get them to keep their room clean throughout the season and help relieve some cleaning stress, offer an incentive such as a family movie night or a trip to their favorite sledding hill. Take a cue from professional cleaners and try these 16 cleaning hacks.

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Day 4: The Front Closet/Mudroom

How organized is your front closet or mudroom? Make sure all items have a place to hang and boots and shoes are in their proper bin. Mop the floors. Follow these 15 tips for an organized mudroom.

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Day 5: The Master Bedroom

When the holidays get stressful, you’ll want a place where you can retreat and relax, so make sure your bedroom is clean and tidy. Vacuum and dust all surfaces, change the bed linens and make sure all laundry is picked up and put away. Declutter horizontal surfaces. These are the germiest spots in your bedroom.

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Day 6: The Hallways

Make sure the hallways are vacuumed or swept and wipe down the walls if needed. Touch up any paint and make sure artwork is dusted and hung properly. Learn how a nail polish bottle can help with the paint touch-ups.

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Day 7: The Master Bathroom

Get out the cleaning supplies and spend some time cleaning the master bathroom. Wipe down the walls, mop the floors and wash rugs and towels. Sanitize the counter and sink and scrub the shower and toilet. It may be your bathroom, but with a house full of guests, it’s quite likely others will be using it! Clean your bathroom faster with these 13 tips and tricks.

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Day 8: The Kitchen

Since people like to congregate in the kitchen during Christmas, make sure your kitchen is ready. Take the time to wash down the walls and cabinets and clean appliances, including inside the refrigerator and oven. Make sure your dishwasher is working properly so it’s ready for all those dirty dishes. Sanitize countertops and organize the pantry. Wash any special bowls or platters you may want to use throughout the season. Follow these 11 steps for a clean kitchen.

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Day 9: The Living Room

Declutter the living room and make sure all trash is picked up. Recycle newspapers and magazines. Water plants if needed. Dust all surfaces and wash curtains or wipe down blinds. Vacuum or mop. Treat any stains on fabric or carpet. Make carpet stains disappear with these tricks.

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Day 10: The Dining Room

Make sure you’ll have enough seats at the table for Christmas dinner. Dust surfaces and mop floors. Wash tablecloths and placemats. Make sure you have enough wine glasses, plates and flatware for the big meal. Get ready for holiday meals with these 14 must-dos.

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Day 11: The Main Bathroom

Now is the time to make sure all other bathrooms are ready. Sanitize the sink and countertop and scrub the toilet and shower. Mop the floor and wipe down walls. Make sure the bathroom is stocked with toilet paper, towels and any other toiletries guests may need. These are the seven ways you’re probably cleaning your bathroom wrong.

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Day 12: Christmas Clutter

Have a plan for all that Christmas clutter that seems to multiply before your eyes. Put recycle bins in an easy-to-access spot, have trash bags ready and have a designated spot to keep all those gifts before they’re placed under the tree. These 11 hilarious Christmas decoration fails will have you laughing.