How to Clean Before a Big Thanksgiving Gathering

  • Cleaning before Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the start of the winter holiday season, and it’s a great chance to gather friends and family together – to celebrate good times, to say what you’re thankful for, and to share a truly wonderful meal together.

Now, that’s the rosy side of the picture. If you’re the one hosting Thanksgiving this year? Well, then, instead of all the good times, your mind may be filled with all of the stuff that you’ve got to get done before guests arrive.

After all, with cooking, cleaning, and playing host all taking up your time and attention, it’s easy for a Thanksgiving “to-do” list to quickly start to seem overwhelming.

First thing’s first – take a deep breath and relax. While it may seem intimidating, getting your house in order before Thanksgiving doesn’t need to be a monster of a job!

Remember that the people coming over are your friends and family; they’re coming to enjoy themselves and to share some time with you, not to judge your home. Next, remember that you don’t have to go it alone! If you have kids or a partner, don’t be afraid to put them to work, however you can. You’d be surprised how much of a major help young kids can be, especially when you turn cleaning from a chore into a game!

Finally, keep in mind that the most important areas are the spaces where your guests will actually be spending time! While you can’t be sure of everything, you probably have a good idea of what that means for your home. For example, kids’ rooms may not see any traffic during the holidays; the same goes with your laundry room, or maybe your garage. Don’t spend more focus on these rooms than you have to – and, in a pinch, you may even want to use them to store all the clutter you get out of other spots around the house! “Out of sight, out of mind,” after all – at least until after the holidays.

So, with this in mind, let’s focus on the rooms that you likely will want to tackle before Turkey Day. Here’s a quick checklist to keep in mind as you turn your attention to your home’s…


The kitchen is your work area. On Thanksgiving, it’s a little like a surgical center in a hospital – it’s where all the action is, and where all the big decisions get made. But, more often than not, the kitchen is also going to be a gathering spot for guests, as they try to help with dinner, grab drinks or snacks, or just stand around and chat with one another.

Before the big day, it’s important to get your kitchen ready for both sides of the coin at once – making sure it’s ready for you to tackle the meal, and also accommodate chatty friends and family. A few tasks that can help:

  • Wash all dishes, serving plates, silverware, etc.
  • Launder napkins, placemats, tablecloths, etc.
  • Wipe down and sanitize counters and other surfaces
  • Mop or vacuum the floor
  • Set up an organizational system that works for you
  • Get rid of clutter – move extra chairs, or hide away those cooking appliances you don’t need (not today, Magic Bullet!).
  • Clean out the fridge and freezer – get rid of old leftovers and anything stinky, and make as much room as you can
  • Before Thanksgiving, take out your garbage and recycling, and have your trash receptacles ready to go with new liners, odor-eaters, or so on

Dining Room

If the kitchen is like a surgery room on Thanksgiving, then the dining room is sort of like a theater – it’s the spot on Thanksgiving day where the big show happens. Before you set the table and prepare to have that decadent, delicious holiday meal, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Wipe down the dining room table and chairs (don’t forget the legs!)
  • Mop or vacuum the floors, including any rugs
  • Don’t forget the hard to reach areas – be sure to dust baseboards, get the cobwebs out of corners, clean the ceiling fan or light fixtures, and tackle the less-obvious spots you normally let slide
  • Clean any windows, mirrors, or other glass surfaces

Living Room

Whether it’s the hub for Thanksgiving conversation, the spot where everyone plops down to watch football (or nap), or the designated space for the kids’ table, your living room is an important place to clean up before Thanksgiving day! As you get ready for guests to flock in, you may want to think about:

  • Mop or vacuum the floors
  • Dust visible surfaces – including fans, end tables, coffee tables, shelves, TV stands, electronic equipment, baseboards, crown molding, vents, light fixtures and lamps
  • Clean windows, mirrors, and other glass surfaces
  • Declutter the space – pick up trash, move kids’ toys, get rid of laundry or exercise equipment, stash away bulky pillows or blankets that would take up room on the sofa
  • Put out extra seating, if possible
  • Don’t forget to look out for those spots that your guests will notice – cobwebs in the corners, the tops of bookshelves, potted plants, and so on. To impress your guests, the little details really matter!


In addition to your guest bathroom, don’t forget that your guests may need to take advantage of any half-baths or powder rooms you may have. You can’t assume that everyone will stick to the script and use only the designated bathroom, so, a few days before Thanksgiving, turn your attention to all of your bathrooms by taking these steps:

  • Clean the floors
  • Clean the mirrors
  • Dust surfaces (countertops, the tops of cabinets, medicine cabinets, etc.)
  • Hang out fresh towels
  • Make sure bath mats or rugs are clean
  • Make sure bathrooms are stocked with toilet paper, hand soap, and other essentials
  • Declutter the space – get rid of or hide anything that you wouldn’t want your guests to see, like medications, toothbrushes, personal hygiene products, etc.
  • Wipe down the shower or bathtub to make sure it looks fresh, and totally free of mold or mildew

Outdoor Areas

Now, barring any truly remarkable weather, your guests probably aren’t going to want to spend a ton of time outside on Thanksgiving – especially here in Chicago, where we live. It gets cold, after all! But you will want to make sure that your outdoor areas are clean and inviting for when guests arrive, and that there’s enough room for family sports like football or soccer.

So, in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, you may want to:

Guest Bedrooms

If you have guests staying over, you’ll want to make sure that their sleeping accommodations are comfortable, inviting, clean, and welcoming. Nobody wants to spend a night in a dingy bedroom – and a clean and thoughtfully prepared place to rest can be a great capper on your guests’ lovely Thanksgiving day.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you get the guest bedroom ready:

  • Wash or replace the linens and bedding
  • Set out fresh towels
  • Have essentials stocked and ready to go – tissues, bath products, etc.
  • Clean the floors
  • Dust surfaces and clean windows
  • Get rid of anything you may be storing in the guest room – kids’ toys, exercise equipment, etc.
  • Make sure the closet has room for coats and bags

Holiday Help to Be Truly Thankful For

Looking for assistance getting your Chicago home in order before or after a big Thanksgiving get-together? Sweeping Dimensions can help!

With a professionally trained and uniformed staff, all of our cleanings are fully customizable to meet your unique needs. We bring all of the cleaning supplies and equipment needed to clean your home, with a focus on green, environmentally sound cleaning products.

We’re so confident that you’ll love our service that we offer the Sweeping Dimensions guarantee! If our cleaning services should ever fail to meet your expectations, you can call us within 24 hours of your cleaning and we will send out a supervised crew to correct anything that needs attention.

Ready to take one big chore of off your Thanksgiving plate? Get in touch today for your free service estimate!

2018-11-05T18:18:10+00:00 November 15th, 2018|Residential Cleaning|