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Get Your Home Guest-Ready


Focus your efforts on these four locations using the GO approach so you can lighten your workload and increase your time spent enjoying the holidays.

Start at the front door

The front door is where you can set the first impression for how you manage the “look and feel” of your organized home.

Just tackle a few key tasks:

  1. Shake out the outdoor mat and sweep.
  2. Place a flowering plant outside on a table at the front door (even if you have a small apartment or bungalow).
  3. Write a little note saying, “I’m/We’re seriously thankful you’re here. Welcome!” The note transforms your guests’ frustration from traffic or family upsets while in the car to feeling appreciated. It also sets the tone of care and kindness before they even enter your home.

The kitchen

Typically, guests come to the kitchen first to drop off a pie, salad, or bottle of wine. Now, the turkey in the oven usually provides the yummy aroma, but how do you handle those first visual impressions, including having the proper tools and space for cleaning up after the meal?

These high-impact tasks will help:

  • Clear the clutter from the counters. Remove small appliances, bottles of vitamins, piles of paper, phone chargers, and put it all in a box labeled “stuff from kitchen counter.” Place it in the garage or even the trunk of your car, if you’re short on storage space.
  • No time to clean the oven? Line it with tin foil to give it a clean and shiny look inside.
  • Break out a fresh sponge for doing dishes. Place a notecard above the sink that says “I’m thankful for your help with my dishes. I appreciate you.” Guaranteed your guests will smile and pitch in. If you wind up stuck doing the dishes on your own, that little note you wrote will surely remind you of your self-worth, and those dishes won’t seem like such a chore.

The bedroom

Next, your guests will need to put their coats and bags somewhere; the usual spot is in a bedroom.

How do you hide the mess and clutter? Try my “dim some” lighting method. That means dim most of the lighting in the room with some lighting on an accent piece. If you don’t have a dimmer switch, change out your light bulb to a lower wattage, or change the bulb to a colored bulb of your choice.

You can also change the lamp shade to one that is orange or yellow to give the room a warmer hue. If you have a pretty picture or photo, put an accent light on that piece to divert attention away from messy areas.

The bathroom

The key here is to keep your guests’ embarrassment level to a minimum and their impression of you at a high. An overflowing toilet is something guests will remember (especially if it happens to them). If you minimize the possibility of mayhem before it starts, you’re golden.

  1. If the toilet is a little wonky, help out your guests with a cute sign that says “Hold handle down for 10 seconds” or “Jiggle handle to flush.”
  2. Have a plunger nearby.
  3. Put a spray deodorizer on top of the tank.
  4. Keep lots of extra toilet paper stored in an obvious location.
  5. Embroidered or white guest towels can be intimidating for folks to use for fear of ruining them. Use paper towels with a holiday design and place the trash can in a visible spot.
  6. Finally, a small bunch of beautiful flowers (such as an orchid or sweet-smelling roses) will serve you more here than a centerpiece on the table.