A man cleaning on Thanksgiving(Jupiterimages\Getty Images)

Before Your Guests Arrive: Hit the hot spots

Focus on spiffing up the rooms your guests will use most--kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and entertainment area. You can knock out about 80 percent of your cleaning with just a cotton rag and some Windex. Dust the highest surfaces and work your way down, and then break out the vacuum to pick up any fallen dirt. Limit yourself to 15 minutes per room--for sanity's sake.

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Before Your Guests Arrive: Quarantine clutter

Your mother can't judge what she can't see. Round up the random junk (stacks of DVDs, magazines, sports gear), pile it into one room, and lock the door. While you're at it, stash any expensive equipment you don't want your curious nieces and nephews to dismantle.

Your house may be more polluted than the outdoors! Find out the 5 Indoor Air Dangers that could be looming in your home.

Before Your Guests Arrive: Prep for coats

If you toss your guests' outerwear on your bed, you'll just have to retrieve the items as folks depart. Instead, clear your own jackets and coats out of your entryway closet and pile them on the bed, leaving a spot for arriving guests to hang their stuff.

Don't forget to burn those calories before the party. Use the 15-Minute Hotel Room Workout to stay fit even when you're traveling during the holidays.