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7 Things To Do Before Throwing a Holiday Dinner Party

One of our favorite things to do over the holidays is get together with friends, family, and co-workers for a little festive cheer, and while a small, intimate gathering is nice, sometimes you just want to get dressed up and attend a nice dinner party full of good food and fun conversation.

Of course, if you’re the one throwing this seasonal shindig, there’s a lot of work to be done that can leave you feeling a little stressed, and that’s the last thing you need to be around the holidays.

Where do you start? What do you clean? What if someone notices a spot on one of their glasses. Oh the horror!

Calm down. We got you covered. Here are some great tips on what to clean and prepare for if you’re throwing a holiday dinner party!

1. TABLE LINENS

If you’re like us, you love a festive table, and chances are you already have tablecloths, napkins, and table runners all packed away that you reserve for the right time of year. Well, that time of year is now, so the first step is to inspect them to make sure no mice or moths got to them while they’ve been packed away. Once you’re sure they’re good to go, wash and iron everything before setting up your table.

2. SILVERWARE

Now that you’ve got the linens taken care of, it’s time to move on to what goes on top of them, and the first place to start is with your silverware. You might have the good stuff packed away, so once you’ve got it out of its hiding spot, take care to polish it up real nice so it sparkles and shines for your dinner guests. For a quick way to polish your silverware with some simple household items, have a look at how it’s done below.

3. CHINA/CRYSTAL

You don’t have to wait until the last minute to take care of this task. The bulk of today’s china and crystal is dishwasher safe, so in order to save some time before your party gets started, pop your plates and glasses in the dishwasher to make sure they’re ready for the big day.

If you’ve got some heirloom china and crystal pieces that you’re unsure of, it’s best to clean those ones by hand. Avoid using citrus scented or bleach-infused cleaners, since the acid will harm the finish. Just use some warm water, a mild, unscented detergent, and a wash cloth. No scrubbers! When you’re done, either let them air dry, or use a microfiber cloth to dry them by hand.

4. FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS

If you’re throwing a fancy dinner party, then you’ve got to have flowers, right? Be it a beautiful centerpiece, or some vases scattered around the living and dining rooms, flowers do a lot to spruce up the place when company arrives. You can either purchases a decorative centerpiece, or do-it-yourself in a variety of ways that range from the simple, to the extravagant. Either way, your guests will ooh and ahh over how gorgeous everything looks.

5. MAKE ROOM FOR COATS

Most of us have a closet right when we walk in the front door, and most of us have it filled with seasonal items we wear. Go through this before your guests arrive, and clear out any items you’re not using, or won’t be using in the immediate future. This will give you plenty of room to store the coats and boots of your company, rather than throwing them all on a bed somewhere.

6. FIRE!

If you have a fireplace, now is the time to clean it. The hearth, the screen, the door, the tools, old ash…everything. When you’ve got that all out of the way, get your fire started before your guests arrive in order to set the mood, and keep a small supply of wood on hand to keep it warm long through the night.

7. TRAFFIC

While the way you have your home set up now might be ideal for you and your family, it might not be ideal for a houseful of guests. You’re going to want to take a good look at your floor plan and make sure everyone has enough room to move around and mingle in comfort. This is probably going to require you to shift some furniture around, so don’t be afraid to push that couch up against the wall, or move the ottoman to a place where it’s not in everyone’s way.

All done! Aside from the menu you still have to plan, you’ve got the basics down, and are ready to throw a successful dinner party this holiday season. If you’d like to go a little more in depth with your cleaning, feel free to check out our guide to getting your complete home ready for guests this year.

7 Uses for Coffee Other than Drinking

We’ve talked before about taking one of our favorite drinks and using it around the house in a lot of different ways, and we thought it would be cool to do it again with another one of our favorite morning beverages: coffee.

Hot, iced, cold brewed, french pressed, store bought, freshly ground…there seems to be a gazillion different ways to prepare coffee, and whether you take it black, or with a little cream and sugar, there’s no denying that coffee tastes great any way you serve it. There’s just something so intoxicating about the aroma, the freshness, and the way that first drop hits your tongue in the morning and perks you right up.

But while it’s the perfect pick-me-up, coffee has many other uses you might not be familiar with, so read on to find out some unique and interesting ways to use coffee around the house!

1. HAND DEODORIZER

When you’re having a blast cooking it up in the kitchen, a lot of different odors can cling to your hands. Fish, garlic, onions, spices, and fresh herbs are just many of the ingredients that can leave a smell that lingers long after you’ve finished you meal and done the dishes. Want a quick way to neutralize them? Simply rub a handful of coffee ground on your hands and rinse them with warm water, and presto! No more funky odors.

2. WOOD SCRATCHES

While wood furniture is nice, it scratches easily, so if you’re looking for a quick way to get rid of those before having company, just take a little instant coffee and make a paste with some hot water, then rub it into any place on your wood furniture that may have a scratch. You’ll notice those scratches disappear almost instantly, and you can repeat as necessary until the area matches the surrounding wood.

3. SHINIER HAIR

You wouldn’t think bathing your head in a pot of coffee would do anything other than make you look like a crazy person, but the truth is coffee is recommended as a natural treatment that will give your hair a healthy sheen unlike any other product out there. Brew a strong pot of coffee, let it cool, and then apply it to your clean, dry hair and let it soak for about 20 minutes before rinsing. Do this roughly once a week for best results, and you’ll be getting compliments in no time on how glossy your hair looks.

4. IN THE FIREPLACE

Cleaning your fireplace is a messy job, what with all the dust that spews everywhere when you’re getting rid of those ashes. For a brilliant way to reduce the amount of residue that poofs into the air, look no further than the magic of coffee. Just wait until those embers have cooled, then sprinkle some damp coffee grounds all over the ashes. Wait for twenty minutes, then scoop out the mess. The coffee works by clinging to the ashes, thus reducing the amount of dust they cough up when dropped into the ash can. Pretty cool, right?

5. FUNKY FRIDGE

When you open your refrigerator does it smell like something died in there? Sure, you can take everything out and give your appliance a good scrub, but do you want an easier way to neutralize those nasty odors? Place a bowl of fresh coffee grounds that haven’t been used inside your fridge and leave it for a day or two. Just like on your hands, those scents will cling to the coffee and be gone in no time, leaving you with a respectable smelling fridge once again.

6. COFFEE CANDLES

It’s no secret that coffee works to improve your focus, but did you know that simply smelling coffee can have the same effect? It’s true! Of course, you don’t want to be brewing a pot of coffee every couple of hours to achieve this, so get crafty and make yourself some coffee candles. Just purchase some long wicks from your local craft store, and melt 8-10 small tea lights. Pour the wax in a small mason jar, pausing every so often to add some coffee grounds as you go. When you’re done, you’ll have a wonderful smelling coffee candle that will not only help you focus, but make your home smell delicious.

7. EXFOLIATE

Want a simply and effective method to exfoliate your skin without spending tons of cash on expensive beauty products? Of course you do! Combine a tablespoon of coffee grounds with half a tablespoon of olive oil and voilà, you’ve got yourself an all natural exfoliating scrub that will work to smooth and tighten your skin, as well as get rid of those dead skin cells.

Bonus Tip: Add a drop of your favorite essential oil to improve the smell if the scent of coffee isn’t really your thing.

See, coffee just isn’t for drinking. It has many other uses around the home that can come in handy. From an odor neutralizer to a focus booster, coffee truly is the miracle bean that can work wonders for everything.

So go on, give it a try, and while you’re at it, you may as well brew a fresh pot for us, because we can’t get enough of the stuff!

Preparing for Company: Cleaning Tips to Get Your Home Ready for the Holidays

With November in full swing, that can only mean one thing: the holidays are right around the corner. Soon the kids will be off school, you might be taking some time off from work, and it’s almost a guarantee that you can expect to have lots and lots of visitors coming by with fruit cakes, presents, and good cheer to help you celebrate this special time of year.

Of course, if you’re expecting guests it’s natural that you’re going to want to clean, because nobody likes their home in shambles when people come over, right? Where do you even start, though? The bathroom? The kitchen? The spare bedroom?

Don’t panic. While Mop Up Your Mess is available to help you get a good deep clean this holiday season, there’s a few areas you can take care of yourself in between your scheduled cleaning appointments. So here’s some helpful tips on where to clean when you have guests coming over for the holidays!

1. ENTRYWAY

It’s the first thing people see when they approach your home, so you’re going to want to pay close attention here. Wipe down the front door, give the handle a polish, and bang out that doormat before giving it a vacuum. Also, if you have any furniture inside your front foyer, make sure there isn’t any dirt or dust that’s collected around the legs. Keeping this area clean is essential to making a great first impression!

2. BATHROOM

Chances are if your guests have traveled a long way to see you, the first thing they’re going to want to do when they arrive is use the bathroom. Make sure you’ve tidied up by keeping the wastebaskets emptied, the soaps fresh, and the toilet, tub, and sink clean. Don’t forget to wipe the mirror down, too.

Bonus Tip: There’s a good chance nosy visitors will look inside your medicine cabinet, so take out anything you don’t want prying eyes to see, and give the shelves in there a quick wipe down.

3. KITCHEN

With all that food that’s going to be served this holiday season, there’s a high probability that most of your guests are going to congregate in the kitchen, or thereabouts. It’s natural, because the kitchen is a warm, inviting room that people tend to gravitate toward, especially if they smell what’s cooking. Before everyone arrives, be sure to wipe down the counters, give the floors a quick sweep, and dust those light fixtures.

If your oven needs some TLC, use a solution of baking soda and water to spread over caked on gunk, and after letting it sit, scour away that mess before anyone sees it.

Don’t forget the garbage disposal, either. Freshen it up by slicing up and entire lemon and dropping it down there, followed by a few ice cubed to sharpen the blades.

4. WINDOWS

We’re moving into basic territory here, but it’s important. You want to impress your guests? Clean your windows. Give every window in your house a good wipe down so that people can see that streak-free view of outside, which will come in especially handy if it starts to snow, and everyone wants to gather around and see how beautiful it looks out there. No fancy tricks here, just use your favorite glass cleaner, or a multi-purpose cleaner that’s good for everything.

5. LINGERING ODORS

Once you’ve given everything the once over, pay close attention to how everything smells. If you have pets, something could be amiss either on their beds, or in their litter boxes, but either way, do your best to sniff out that scent and take care of it. If it still eludes you after an exhaustive search and you have just minutes to spare before everyone arrives, it’s time to light some scented candles, or if you really want to mask that odor for the time being, brew a fresh pot of coffee to replace the bad with the good, because who doesn’t love the smell of coffee? Crazy people, that’s who.

The difference between a good deep clean and a quick tidying up is massive, which is why you should give us a call before the hustle and bustle of the holidays begin, but for the time being you don’t have to drive yourself nuts making sure everything is completely spotless. Just follow the guide above to take care of the essentials, and let us handle the rest. When your guests arrive for some holiday cheer, they’ll be amazed at how clean everything looks, and from there you can enjoy the season dirt…and worry free!

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