It's less than three weeks until Thanksgiving, and if you're hosting this year, now would be a prudent time to start surveying the scene at home to make sure it's guest-ready, so when the big day comes, the only thing you really have to think about is the food. There's plenty you can do in advance, and if you start now and dedicate just a few minutes every day, or even every other day, to sprucing up your surroundings, you'll have things spic-and-span in no time.
The key here is to work systematically. Make a list of the rooms that need attention (i.e. dining room, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and a guest room if you'll have company staying with you), and note anything that needs to be replaced or repaired. Now is the time to tackle those chores you might have been lagging on: swap out your burned-out light bulbs, fix leaky faucets, spot-clean the stain that's been lingering on your sofa, and so on.
Prioritize the public, high-traffic areas of your home first. Your guests aren't going to be rummaging around your closets, so focus your energy on cleaning and de-cluttering surfaces-bookshelves, entertainment centers, tables, counters, etc-before moving on to the tucked away spots. Sweep and mop the floors in each room as you go, and as you dig in on each room, bring a cardboard box (for collecting items that don't belong) with you as you go, and a trash bag for harvesting the inevitable junk you'll come across along the way.
Pay a little extra attention to your kitchen-which is kind of like Mission Control on Turkey Day. Mop floors and give countertops and appliances a thorough wipe-down. Take time to clear out your fridge and freezer-you're going to want as much space in there as you can get. On the morning of the big day, make sure your dishwasher and garbage cans are empty, since they're sure to fill up fast. You may also want to test-drive some of the kitchen gadgets (food processor, electric carving knife, blender, etc) you might not use that often but plan to rely on to cook your T-Day meal to make sure they're working (to avoid having to scramble at the last minute for replacements).
Survey your entertaining arsenal. Check to make sure you've got all the platters and dishes you need, and if you're using your special-occasion china, double-check that it's free of dust.
Make sure your bathroom is not only spotless, but well-stocked. Place extra rolls of toilet paper somewhere so your guests will be able to find them easily, and make sure you've got plenty of soap and hand towels on hand too. If you've got a bunch of bath toys lurking around, you can always throw them in the tub and close the shower curtain to keep them out of sight.Sources: ehow.com; associatedcontent.com; showmomthemoney.com
Related: Thanksgiving tips from moms across the country to help you save money on the year's biggest meal