Spring cleaning is an annual American home ritual, the time when winter mud is scrubbed away and windows are polished to maximize the welcome sunlight of warmer seasons.

But spring was months ago. And the arrival of December holidays means you and your home are about to host friends, families, and neighbors for holiday parties and overnight stays. You want your home to be warm, welcoming – and sparkling clean, before guests arrive to help hang ornaments or toast a new year.

In this busiest time of year, how do you manage a thorough cleaning while you work, do your holiday shopping, and plan entertainment? Start with an inventory tour: walk through your home, writing down the biggest cleaning needs. Think about areas that should get top priority – like spare bedrooms and bathrooms that will be used by holiday guests.

When you’ve made your priority list, make sure you have all the cleaning products you need. Enlist other family members to help. And take a look at our checklist here, for some ideas you might have missed on your inspection tour. Enjoy your holidays – and know that your guests will enjoy your hospitable home.

Wash the good dinnerware – If you’re like many of us, your festive holiday dishes, glassware and flatware haven’t been used much in the past year. They get dusty, no matter where they’re stored. Wash everything before you use it – and don’t forget to polish the silverware.

Wash the linens – If you’re expecting out-of-town guests, you’ll want them to slide into fresh, sweet-smelling linens when they retire. Give all your guest linens a pre-holiday wash, including blankets and bedspreads, and iron them for a smooth, welcoming look.

Clean the carpet – We may not pay much attention to the carpeting we walk over every single day. But guests will. A deep cleaning shampoo will brighten your carpeting and leave a fresh impression on guests.

Wipe down surfaces everywhere – including light switches and doorknobs – Once the carpet’s clean, you want all the rest of your household surfaces to shine, too. Wipe down walls and ceilings and use a vacuum to remove dust. Scrub away surface grime, especially in the kitchen, with a solvent-free degreaser (test it first in an inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t harm the surface). And give every doorknob and light switch a swipe – and an extra polish, if they’re metal.

Clean window treatments – Wipe down blinds and clean drapes and curtains – in the washer, if possible, or take them in for a thorough dry cleaning.

Straighten up your bedroom – You probably won’t be doing any entertaining there, but the master bedroom is often the place where the overflow of coats will end up when the entry hall closet is full.

Clean the oven and refrigerator – Okay, guests won’t be looking inside them, but you and your family will. You should give the fridge a thorough cleaning and remove all outdated food to make room for your holiday leftovers. The oven will most likely get a lot of use during the holidays, so you want to make sure it’s in optimal working order.

Living in a dirty or cluttered home can send your stress level through the roof. You have a busy life. At the end of the day, you do not need to add to cleaning to your lists of tasks that never get completed. Having a clean home shouldn’t require yet another item on your to-do list. That’s where Spouses Cleaning Houses comes in the picture! In order to deliver the best possible service to meet your expectations, the cleaning professionals at Spouses Cleaning Houses listens, understands and acts to meet nearly all of your cleaning requests, even windows. Recognizing the importance of thorough and consistent cleaning at every visit, we schedule the same team for each service. They get to know your requirements and your site and provide reliable, professional work.