As if the Holiday season were not stressful enough, hosting a get together or overnight guests or both can put your anxiety levels in overdrive! It doesn’t have to be that way! There is plenty you can do well ahead, to insure you and you guests will be comfortable and able to enjoy the time you get to spend together. The key, as pretty much always, is planning ahead. Now, I consider myself the queen of last minute, but this year I decided to create a solid strategy for making entertaining easier. There is nothing like being ill prepared to throw you off your hosting game. This will be the year you will have all your ducks in a row without last minute meltdowns provided you do a little legwork up front.
Honestly, getting together with far away loved ones is my favorite time of the holiday season or any time of year. Getting started early enough is key to insuring that all of your guests feel comfortable and cozy in your home. No matter if you are just hosting an informal dinner or are expecting overnight guests for several nights, preparing well ahead will make your home a comfortable place for all. Avoid last minute run arounds by making a plan now and do a little a day at a time. Make this the year you get to relax along with your companies and create those lovely lasting memories!
Don’t worry about having to remember it all, though. Find a handy checklist and the printable pictures in this post along with many others in my free resource library. Sign up is at the bottom of this post!
PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR GUESTS
You want your guests to be as comfortable as possible, right? 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. By making sure your home is prepared for guests ahead of time you make life easier and more enjoyable for everyone. Who wants to be all stressed during the happiest time of the year?
The sooner you get started the better.
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 extra stuff. If you plan on decorating for the holidays, this gives you a head start by clearing off surfaces. Go from room to room and remove anything overly decorative and unneccessary. If you are expecting small children, this is the time to stow away those breakable heirlooms and collectables to keep them safe from curious little hands. Keep the guest room as neutral as possible and avoid heavy scents.
#2. 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. You may want to consider spending a night in the room your guests will be sleeping in to discover any shortcomings before they do. You’d be surprised!
Check that the path into your home is well lit and safe, too!
#3. SET UP A CLEANING SYSTEM
This can be anything from designating a specific day each week for certain tasks like cleaning the bathroom, vaccuming, 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 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 side tracked.
#4. 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 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 the hangers!
#5. CHECK LINENS, TOWELS AND SUPPLIES
Don’t get caught the day before guests arrive with torn sheets, mis-matched pillow cases, 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 fresheness. 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 wash cloth. 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?
#6. 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. Maybe they would like to share a favorite recipe, or bring a dish to pass. 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.
#7. GREET THEM WITH A WELCOME BASKET
Make your guests feel welcome by greeting them with a welcome basket. Nothing shows your thoughfulness 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:
Also include your WIFI password and have a universal charger on hand.
#8. KEEP PETS AWAY FROM GUEST AREAS
Sure, you may be comfortable with Fido and Fluffy on the bed, but chances are your guests won’t 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!
Get the handy checklist and other useful printables in the FREE Resource Library! Sign up here:
Hosting guests, no matter the time of year can be stressful. We all want our guests to feel comfortable and welcome. Your guests deserve a hostess who is not totally frazzled! I know that 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 – just as you should!
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!
Hope you are having a wonderful day! And as always,
Keep it simple!