Getting ready for guests doesn’t have to be a big chore. The Holiday season is stressful enough, without the added pressure of hosting family or friends for one or even several nights. As pretty much always, the key is planning ahead.
A little preparation goes a long way towards making your home a comfortable resting place for friends and family from out of town. Better yet, by preparing for and anticipating your guests’ needs ahead of time, you will be able to relax right alongside them and enjoy your time together.
There is plenty you can do well ahead, to ensure you and your guests will not only be comfortable but also appreciated your thoughtfulness. When I decided to create a solid strategy for making entertaining overnight guests easy, I tried to focus on as many different aspects of hosting as possible.
This is not the time to be ill-prepared and thankfully, you won’t be. This will be the year you will have all your ducks in a row without last-minute meltdowns provided you do a little legwork upfront.
Honestly, getting together with faraway loved ones is my favorite part of the holiday season or any time of year.
Avoid last-minute runarounds by making a plan early and doing a little a day at a time. Make this the year you get to relax along with your company and create those lovely lasting memories!
PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR GUESTS
As the hostess you want your guests to be as comfortable as possible. Because: Happy guests = happy hosts:)
The tips I am about to share with you can be used anywhere, from a small apartment to a large separate guest suite.
Seriously, no need to channel your inner Martha Stewart. You can shine with just a little work and you don’t have to spend a lot to make a good impression.
Find lots of useful tips and cleaning recipes along with my handy printable hosting checklist in the FREE Resource Library. Sign up here and your password is on its way to your inbox.
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This is at the very top of the list for a reason. By taking the time to remove all those extra items in your home, at least for now, cleaning becomes easier. Most guests tend to feel a little claustrophobic in a home filled with lots of extra stuff. If you plan on decorating for the holidays, this step gives you a head start by clearing off surfaces.
Go from room to room and remove anything overly decorative and unnecessary. If you are expecting small children, this is the time to stow away those breakable heirlooms and collectibles to keep them safe from curious little hands. Keep the guest room as neutral as possible and avoid heavy scents.
MAKE ANY REPAIRS NEEDED
That doorknob that comes off in your hand every time you try to open that door? Your guests don’t want to deal with that. Nor should they have to.
Imagine the horror of staying at someone’s home thinking you broke something! And nobody wants to look at cracks in the ceiling or holes in the wall, no matter how small.
Take a notebook and go from room to room to see what can stand a little TLC. Does a lamp need a new bulb? Have those window blinds seen better days? Try out that air mattress (if you’re using one) to make sure it hasn’t sprung a leak.
Does the mattress on your guest bed turn into a taco when you lie down on it? Consider spending a night in the room your guests will be sleeping in to discover any shortcomings before they do. You might be surprised by what you find!
Make sure your guest room has adequate window coverings that will block bright lights and give them privacy.
Check that the path into your home is well lit and safe, too!
SET UP A CLEANING SYSTEM
This can be anything from designating a specific day each week for certain tasks like cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, laundry to coming up with specific action plans. You want to give every area your guests will be using to get a deeper clean before their stay. You can find my handy bathroom cleaning system printable along with simple and effective cleaner recipes in the Free Resource Library.
Start giving your home a good cleaning by focusing on less busy areas like the guest room and save high traffic areas for last. Set a timer for each area while you clean to keep from getting sidetracked.
MAKE ROOM FOR COMPANY
While you are busy decluttering and cleaning, remember that your guests will need space to put their coats, shoes and if staying overnight, suitcases. Don’t forget to make room in the bathroom to hang towels and a spot for toiletries! This also means creating a landing zone in the bedroom like a chair or the top of a dresser and room in the closet for hanging clothes – don’t forget extra hangers!
CHECK LINENS, TOWELS, AND SUPPLIES
Don’t get caught the day before guests arrive with torn sheets, mismatched pillowcases, old towels. Now is the time to take stock of everything needed to make your guests comfortable. Go ahead and buy a set of new pillows if needed.
Wash blankets for maximum freshness. Inspect your table linen and re-wash and iron if necessary. Do you have enough napkins?
Allow a set of towels for each overnight guest. That should consist of a large bath towel, a smaller face towel, and at least one washcloth. You can find cheap sets at Costco and Walmart. Reuse your old towels as cleaning rags, not for your guests! Make sure bathrooms are stocked as well. Who wants to run out of toilet paper on Thanksgiving?
Provide extra blankets in Winter and offer a space heater if you keep your home on the cooler side at night. If you are hosting in Summer, make sure your guests have a fan in the room just in case.
PLAN MEALS AHEAD OF TIME
This will save you time and effort. By planning ahead, you will hopefully be able to avoid that last-minute run to the store. If you can, set aside an afternoon to batch cook and freeze meals ahead of time. And while we are on the subject of food, go ahead and ask your guests about any food allergies or intolerances they may have.
Most people who follow a special diet are used to bringing at least some of their own food, but having something available to eat ahead of time is a nice gesture. If your guests are arriving by plane, they may not be able to bring any special food items along.
Maybe your guests would like to share a favorite recipe. For out of town guests, it might be helpful to point them towards a health food store in the area where they can purchase foods that may not be readily available at a regular grocery store.
GREET THEM WITH A WELCOME BASKET
Make your guests feel welcome by greeting them with a welcome basket. Nothing displays your thoughtfulness better than having many of the necessities your guest might ask for at the ready.
There is no need to break the bank. Many items are available at the Dollar Store and your guests will love you for it. Personalize the basket any way you’d like. Here is what I have found useful to have on hand as a guest:
Tip: Collect the free toothbrushes your dentist gives you and trial size toothpaste and you always have extra on hand should the need arise. Keep an eye out for other inexpensive items on this list throughout the year. The $$$ spot at Target is a great place to find cute socks and other useful items your guests would really appreciate.
KEEP PETS AWAY FROM GUEST AREAS
Sure, you may be comfortable with Fido and Fluffy on the bed, but your guests may not be. If you have the luxury of a separate guest room, be sure to keep pets out after the room is cleaned and set up. Many people have pet allergies that can make a visit to a home full of pets downright miserable. Giving your guests a pet-free space shows that you are a kind and considerate host!
Getting ready for guests no matter the time of year can be stressful, but with a little prep work, you will be well ahead of the game. You want our guests to feel comfortable and welcome, but they also deserve a hostess who is not totally frazzled! Following these few simple steps will move you well ahead in the hosting game! Now, go ahead and have that awesome get together and enjoy your company you deserve it!
Have you had any wonderful experiences being a host or a guest? What tends to be most stressful for you? Please feel free to share some of your own best tips and experiences! What has worked well? Anything you wouldn’t do anymore! I would love to hear your take!
PS: You can find the beautiful watercolor illustrations in this post as free printables in the Resource Library!