Holiday Hustle: Quick Tips to Prep Your Home for Guests

Hosting guests this holiday season and wondering how you’re going to clean your house on top of the millions of other things on your to do list?  No sweat!  With our quick tips checklist, you can create your own holiday magic and turn your messy house into a clean, inviting home for family and friends.  

So turn on a holiday tunes playlist and let’s get started!

Start with the Heart of the Home

The kitchen is often the main room where everyone naturally gathers and mingles.  So start here and spend the most time cleaning this room:

  • Clean out the refrigerator, making room for party foods
  • Scrub and disinfect the kitchen sink (a little white vinegar and baking soda work great!)
  • Wipe down all appliances
  • Wipe down kitchen cabinets
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Clean the oven and stove top
  • Wipe down all countertops
  • Hand wash serving trays/platters so they’re ready to use
  • Set out coffee and snacks in a basket for guests to self-serve
  • Fill a box with kitchen items you won’t be using and move it elsewhere

Now you have room for the holiday serving dishes, punch bowl, grandma’s silver and other items you’ll be using while hosting.

Onto the Living and Dining Rooms

It’s about creating cozy, comfortable spaces in these two rooms for you and your guests to relax and enjoy each other’s company.  If you are running short on time, don’t spend time cleaning every nook and cranny.  Instead, focus on the main areas you will use and the big dust balls.

  • Declutter both rooms – grab a basket or box and fill it with anything that doesn’t belong and then stash it away in a bedroom or a closet until after the holidays
  • Dust the furniture
  • Vacuum or sweep the floors
  • Set out clean throw blankets and extra pillows
  • Make drink coasters easily accessible
  • Pull out and clean china and silverware
  • Set the dining table ahead of time

Prepare Guest Bathrooms

Let’s get that bathroom squeaky clean in a jiffy!  Do inventory of your linen closet and make sure that you have enough hand towels, bath towels and washcloths for all your guests.  

  • Wipe down the sink, faucet and tub
  • Clean the mirrors
  • Sweep the floor
  • Scrub the toilet
  • Store extra toilet paper so it is easily accessible by guests
  • Place a basket with little amenities your guests may have forgotten to pack, such as toothpaste, a toothbrush, q-tips, feminine products and more
  • Stock shower with shampoo, conditioner, and soap
  • Stock bath towels, washcloths and hand towels – the half-bath too!
  • If space allows, provide guests with a basket or bin for tossing used towels and linens

Bedrooms for Overnight Guests

If you have company staying overnight, you’ll want to spend a little time sprucing up the room they will be sleeping in.  

  • Declutter the room
  • Put clean sheets on the bed and fluff the pillows
  • Set out extra blankets
  • Vacuum or sweep the floors
  • Put tissues and a nightlight in the room
  • Make room in some drawers or the closet for them to keep their things
  • Write down the password for your WiFi

Extra Touches to Impress

If you have the time, consider tackling these tasks too and improve your chances of reducing stress later when guests are in your home.

  • Stock up on paper products and leftover containers. Make sure you have plenty of paper products, parchment paper, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, zip top bags and reusable leftover containers on hand.
  • Take inventory of your spice cabinet and staples.  This goes hand in hand with your menu planning. It is no fun to find an open grocery store at the last minute when you realize that you are out of that key ingredient.
  • Brighten up the bathroom with fresh flowers, scented soaps and holiday decor.
  • Fill a tub side basket with an assortment of sponges, bath salts, scented soaps, bath bombs and lotions to treat your guests to a spa-like experience.
  • Leave some sweet treats and magazines by the bedside. 
  • Light a candle about an hour before your guests arrive.  You want to allow enough time to let the fragrance fill the room/house.
  • Turn on some classic holiday music and Christmas lights, and cut the harsh overhead lighting. Creating a warm, festive ambiance isn’t just welcoming – it makes your guests feel like you’ve been enjoying your own time at home.

Keep the Memories, Not the Mess

This might seem like a daunting list but most of these tasks are quick.  And with this checklist, you can easily enlist the help of other family members to knock it out.  Here’s the full checklist to carry with you and mark off as you go:

As the countdown to guests’ arrival draws near, remember a warm and lived-in house is better than a perfect house.  Give yourself some grace and be flexible in your plans as life happens and unforeseen holiday challenges may arise. Reward yourself for all you accomplished over the past few weeks and get ready to enjoy some downtime with your family and friends!  Keep the memories not the mess.

After all, this should be a sweet time not a stressful one! What do you do to avoid the holiday hustle and prep your home? Tell us in the comments!

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