If you're expecting guests for the upcoming holidays (or are anticipating any 'drop-ins' or unexpected company), here's how to get a head start on home (and room) preparation:
Now it's not necessary to clean everything from top to bottom, or get every nook and cranny (especially if your company's long-familar friends or relatives; most likely, they've been in your house-or apartment-many times before. They know what it looks like when it's a little messy!).
So just focus on the rooms where they're be spending a length of time in. Make sure that these rooms are free of clutter.
If you don't have time for a thorough cleaning, just put any misplaced small things in boxes or baskets and store them out of sight until you can get back to it. Quickly vacuum the main entertaining areas and wipe down any dusty surfaces.
Pay special attention to the bathroom-or bathrooms (there will be a lot of visitors here!). You definitely want this room as clean as possible!
And along the same lines, you'll also want the guest or master bedroom (or bedrooms) to be looking their best: Put on your best bedsheets and comforter, the “good” blanket and make sure the bed's made very well.
Do you have enough seating to accommodate the majority of your guests? You should expect at least 75 to 80 percent of guests to be seated at any given time.
You don't have to buy new sofas and chairs (do you?); your regular furniture should be enough, but if it isn't, get extra seating that won't cost a fortune; consider rental folding chairs or borrowing them.
Planning a sit-down meal? Don't forget to consider the number of table seats for each of your guests. If table space is limited, a buffet would be a great choice.
Check for any potential safety hazards within your home (or apartment). Are the railings nice and sturdy? Is there enough indoor (or porch/patio) lighting if you're having an evening festivity? Will any of your guests have special mobility needs? Make sure that any pathways are clear and free.
Have a pet? If someone's allergic or not comfortable with furry beloved, it may be best to temporarily put your pet in another room-something that's quiet and out-of-the-way.
In case of any emergencies, keep all exits and windows totally and easily accessible; make sure the fire extinguishers are up-to-date and working.
Is someone allergic to cigarette smoke? Or will there be a room full of smokers? Have a few seats available outdoors for them (or for the smokers).
Creaking and Popping
Did you know that the materials in your house (the wood frames, plumbing pipes, metal ducts, even the nails, etc. all contract and expand?
That's the creaking and popping you hear; as the temperature drops at night (the sounds are more noticeable in the fall), the house becomes cooler, causing these materials and others to move slightly, rubbing against each other and making noises. Sometimes the contracting causes a “pop”-or two.
There's not much to remedy this, but don't fret. For the most part, these sounds are just a house (particularly an older one) with normal 'growing pains.'
Sources: “Preparing a home for entertaining” by MetroServices- Valley Homes, The (Sunday) Vindicator-July 21, 2013 and “Halloween home maintenance: Spooky sounds and strange smells” by John Riha-Valley Homes, The (Sunday) Vindicator, Oct. 6, 2013