Prepping Your Home for Guests

Get every room in the house organized before family and friends stop by for the holidays.

By: Ellen Neuborne

There’s a chill in the air, and that can only mean one thing — the holidays are coming! And with them often comes a wave of houseguests.

How can you make guests feel welcome without transforming into a 24/7 maid? The key is planning. Use this room-by-room prep checklist to help you get the house in order for guests and save time.

If your guest room hasn’t been used for a while, be sure to do a full inspection: Is everything in working order? Do windows, closets and dresser drawers all open and shut?

When it comes to bedding, more is better. Put out one firm pillow and one soft for each guest — no one ever has the same preferences. Extra blankets, too, allow your guests to be as cosy as they want.

Make sure there’s room in closets and drawers for guests’ clothing and clean tabletops so they have somewhere to put their glasses or phone while it charges.

Tip: Invest in a suitcase stand. It will help your guests stay organized and neat.

You can never have too much bath tissue on hand when guests are staying. Be sure some rolls are within easy reach and visible so guests can replace a roll when necessary.

A stock of fresh soap and clean towels, and a basket of necessities (shaving items, feminine products and basic first-aid items) is a simple way to go above and beyond.

Tip: Shampoos and shower gels in travel-size containers make a nice, upscale touch.

You may be planning a number of family meals, but don’t forget to prepare for breakfast! Stock up on an array of morning drinks — coffee and tea (caffeinated and not), milk and juice. A selection of cereal, breakfast bars and easily toasted carbs like bagels and different kinds of breads will serve as a breakfast buffet if you’re not planning to cook.

Tip: Yogurt and fresh fruit makes an easy and popular breakfast offering.

Dining Room
If your formal table doesn’t get a lot of regular use, be sure to inspect everything in advance: Do you have enough chairs? Does the table expand? Do you remember how to expand it? Do you have all the items needed for table service (plates, glasses, serving items)?

You don’t want to spend the morning of a holiday frantically searching for your aunt’s silver punch bowl, so do your hunting (and cleaning, if necessary) in advance of the guests’ arrival.

Family Room
If your home hasn’t been inhabited by small children in a while, you’ll want to do a sweep of the family room — for everyone’s sake. Pick up and put away any items that are breakable. It’s best to leave surfaces like coffee tables and end tables as clear as possible.

Look for areas you can childproof such as electrical sockets and power cords. Consider temporarily relocating moving furniture like rocking or office chairs. Be sure to remove them in advance.

But even then, remind visiting parents to mind their children since you’re home is not fully childproof. There’s only so much you can do!

Bonus tip: Make a “toy box” of items your young guests can enjoy. That will help everyone enjoy a little family time conversation.

Hostess Prep
Holidays are always special when guests come to stay — but they can also add additional stress for the hostess.

As part of the preparation, take some time to pamper yourself, too. Schedule any of your own shopping and holiday prep to finish before your guests arrive — and practice taking deep, calming breaths.

With a little pre-programmed calm, you’ll be a warm, welcoming hostess no matter how boisterous your visiting crowd.

Take some time to prepare and you and your guests will have a comfortable and joyous holiday season.


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