Autumn Cleaning: Dining Room
Dinner is served! Those words are important everyday but they have even greater significance during the holidays. So many of our celebrations center on meals, with dinner taking center stage most often and you want to make sure your dining room is ready for each performance. This is not just a matter of cleaning the room, you must also make sure all the items you use for big family dinners or events, like Thanksgiving, are ready to go as well. For many women,
Thanksgiving is the only time of the year they host very , VERY large events. Often, they don’t think to check things out until they are setting the table and then it is too late. Save yourself the stress and check everything out now. To begin, follow the cleaning steps used in the bedroom. Vacuum under and behind all the furniture. Food is being served in this room and you want it to be clean. If you must use strong smelling cleaning products, do it now. When it is time for your event, you want to be sure the harsh odor of cleaners is out of the room. Thoroughly clean the light fixture over your table. Even if you plan to light the room with candlelight only, you want the candle glow to bounce attractively off the overhead light.
Next, check the furniture. Are there any wobbly legs on the table? Does one of the table leaves need a shim to level it off? Now study your chairs. If you are hosting a large event in your dining room during the holidays, you might be using chairs that you never use the rest of the year. Are they all in good shape? Do any of the joints need a dab of wood glue to hold them together? Sometimes the dryness of a room can dry out the glue and cause joints to come apart. This isn’t always apparent until someone sits in the chair and the chair collapses. A funny incident in movies but not amusing during your formal holiday dinner. If your chairs are fabric covered, check to see if there is any damage. You might need to recover a few chairs. This does not involve doing all the chairs. Find a nice fabric that compliments your current fabric. Buy enough to eventually do all the chairs; however, you only want to recover the damaged chairs for now. You will have plenty of time during the winter nights ahead. Do you use chair pads on your chairs? What kind of shape are they in? You might want to replace the chair pads before you entertain. Otherwise, try to clean them up by hand and see if that helps.
Next, you want to go through your table linens. Take everything out and open each table cloth on the table one at a time. Check for stains. You might have a whopping big wine stain in the middle of your ivory cloth, a stain you put out of your mind once the event was over. Before you toss a stained tablecloth, try to remove the stain. You have nothing to lose and you might save yourself the price of a new tablecloth. Check out all your napkins. Are they badly stained? Are the edges frayed? Can they be salvaged? Once you have determined what can be saved and what need to be replaced, you can decide what you need for your table this holiday season. My philosophy is to stay with neutral and basic colors: ivory, white even black if you like. You can add seasonal colors with your runner, centerpiece and napkins. Your tablecloth should only be the canvas on which you design your table.
Time to go through your dishes. You might have a gorgeous set of china that has been passed down through your family. If so, you might not use them often so you should check to see if any are cracked or otherwise damaged. If the pattern is still available, you might want to replace a couple of pieces. Make sure there are no stains on your dishes.
Sometimes we think we have thoroughly cleaned a piece only to take it out to use and finding a stain in the bottom of one of the cups. Speaking of cups, check the rims for lipstick stains. They can blend right in with the pattern. How are your glasses holding up? Is it time to replace your stemware? Face it, if you love and use your things regularly, they are going to get worn out. You are going to need to replace them over time.
This is not a reason to mourn. Lovely things should be used, shared and enjoyed. They have served their purpose so give them a fond adieu and find something new and beautiful you can enjoy.
If you use sterling flatware, now is the time to polish it. I like to polish my silver when a football game is on. It makes the chore much easier to bear and the time goes quickly. If you use your regular flatware for special events, that’s fine. Just make sure you have enough pieces for everyone. Spoons and forks have a way of getting lost over the year. You may need to replace a few pieces before company arrives.
Don’t forget serving pieces! You might not know what your entire menu is going to be for any of your events but you should have a general idea what you want to serve. Are you missing any items that complete your table? It isn’t necessary to own every cool gadget Crate and Barrel makes but you should have tools and serving pieces that make the job simpler. Simple is always the key word.
Finally, candles. I can’t tell you the number of times I have been setting my table, gone to reach for the candles only to find I was out of them. I always seem to have plenty of candles when I am going through the drawer where they are stored. However, come time to use them and they all run and hide! Stores put candles on sale this time of the year.
Stock up on basic colors and throw in a few colors to accent your table
for the holidays.