As November gives way to December, it’s time to prepare for holiday guests. You’ll be ready in no time by systematically going through each room/area of your house or apartment. Here’s a simple plan for organizing the house in time to welcome holiday guests.
The front door
Let’s begin right at the front door. This is where guests will want to remove coats, hats, boots, and so on. When I was a kid, visiting grandma meant piling coats on her bed until we were ready to leave. That’s fine for a quick visit, but not when a guests stay for several days. Get the front entrance closet ready by finding a new, temporary home for the many coats, jackets, vacuum bags, flashlights, etc. that live in there so that guests may comfortably store their own items inside.
Some guests will have their hands full with luggage or housewarming gifts so make sure there is plenty of designated room for all of these things. Ideally you would have:
- A coat rack or some decent hangers if you have a closet.
- A designated surface to receive items like housewarming gifts, potluck dishes, or anything that needs a temporary landing spot.
- A spot for boots, hats, gloves, and other wet items that won’t make it into your house proper. I have one of these boot trays and I love it, as it’s an obvious place to put wet, muddy footwear and quite durable.
- A space to receive bulky luggage, or a clear path from the door to each bag’s home for the duration of your guest’s visit.
A big part of accommodating your visitor’s stuff is getting your own things out of the way. Prior to receiving company, clear away any family members’ shoes that are not being worn regularly by storing extras in their owners’ bedroom closets while guests are visiting.
First, clear out anything that’s yours, like spare change, jewelry, bathrobes, and so on. Next, I like to make a small guest basket of little things they might need but forget, or items that can’t be carried easily on an airplane. For example, travel-sized toothbrushes, soap, shampoo and shower gel, pain reliever, toothpaste, lotion, makeup-removing wipes, mouthwash, disposable razors, and dental floss. You can tuck these into a basket or caddy that can easily be carried in and out of the bathroom.
Keep bathroom essentials in plain sight. You don’t want anyone to get “stuck” when they can’t find a roll of toilet paper! While you might ordinarily keep these items tucked away, move them into an obvious, accessible location during your guests’ stay. Also, make sure there are plenty of towels and wash cloths available and accessible.
A few years ago my wife and I started writing out exactly how to use our electronics, like the TV. While we’ve got the routine memorized — use the grey remote to turn the TV on, then hit the red button before picking up the black remote — it’s a mystery to visitors. A set of clear, concise instructions for the television, stereo, etc. makes guests very happy. You might want to share your Wi-Fi password as well, or even create a temporary one for guests.
We also have a collection of take-out menus that we also set out for guests, as well as descriptions of local points of interest, directions to nearby bank machines and gas stations.
Unfortunately the holidays can be stressful. However, with a little planning, you can make this time of year more enjoyable for you and your guests.