Get Ready for the Holidays: Getting Your Home Ready for Guests

When the holidays are upon us, we’re often entertaining for a day or even longer. If you’re scrambling to get your house ready, either for a few hours or a few days, you can get overwhelmed with all there is to do. How about some tips to get the house overnight-guest-ready?



overnight guests


If you have guests coming into town to stay for one or many nights, spend time preparing thoughtfully for their stay. This includes where they are sleeping, the bathroom they will use, and any living/common space they’ll be spending time in during their visit.



Think about the things you might want to have on hand for your guests to feel comfortable and NOT have to ask you for them:

  • Pull together a welcome basket in the guest room: Shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, floss, extra toothbrush, travel deodorant, aspirin, razor, contact lens solution and case, feminine products, pain relievers, throat lozenges, Q-tips  (Maybe hit your favorite dollar store for a few comforts!)

  • A basket or dish for them to give their wallet and keys a home

  • Extra blanket

  • Tissues

  • Magazines

  • Nightlight

  • Alarm clock

  • A bottle of water

  • Is the room hot and dry at night? How about adding a small humidifier?

  • Space in the closet to hang a few things, and some hangers

  • An obvious place to put a suitcase, out-of-the-way if unpacking into a dresser, or easily accessible if living out of the suitcase for the stay

  • Turn off the ringer on a phone in the guest room, so they’re not bothered by your calls.

  • If there’s a TV in the bedroom, leave out a channel listing, and a set of directions on how to use the remote.

  • Extra points: Spend one night in it and give it a test run to see what you’ve missed!



  • Lay out fresh towels, including wash cloths.

  • Make space for their toiletry kit to have a home for their stay.

  • Provide a cup to store toothbrush and toothpaste.

  • Have a hairdryer accessible.

  • My biggest quick-cheat when I have overnight guests coming: I replace the shower curtain liner!  Mine always seems to be dingy and needing cleaning, and for about $2 I can buy a new one and throw it on and my shower will look WAY cleaner when company uses it!



  • Make sure there are plenty of blankets for wrapping up on the couch in the evenings or the mornings.

  • Have a variety of beverages, cold and hot, available.  Put out a small “coffee station” so that they can feel comfortable to make some coffee or tea without asking. Coffee mugs, coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, splenda, and milk or cream in the fridge.

  • Place tissues in each room.

  • Provide charging area, where they can charge their devices during their stay.

  • Space in the fridge for people to use, for medication and what-not, is very considerate.

  • Have a decent selection of breakfast options available.

  • Put out some easily accessible snacks and fruit.

  • If you have a no-shoes-in-the-house rule, provide a place for the shoes to go, a seat to make it easier to put on and remove shoes, and, extra points for providing guest slippers!



Even if you’re just having a few people over one night, you’ll probably want to get the house clean… and in a jiffy if you need to.  If you only have an hour or less to clean, throw on a holiday radio station, grab a few supplies (dust cloth, swiffers, multipurpose spray or wipes) and hit the top areas that your guests will see:

  • Gather kids toys and things that don’t belong in rooms quickly with a laundry basket and take them out of common spaces.

  • Dust the obvious things: TV and electronics are the worst offenders.

  • Wipe down window sills, baseboards if you have the time (I use a Swiffer sheet or a dryer sheet for those).

  • Straighten out the pillows on the couches.

  • Vacuum the floors.

  • Empty the sink of dishes, and put away the dry ones.

  • Take out (or shove down) the trash.

  • Clear off the kitchen counter to the best of your ability.

  • Clean the toilet, the sink and faucet, and put out fresh towels (and make sure there’s plenty of toilet paper).

  • Buy or cut a bouquet of fresh flowers… ALWAYS makes us seem like we put more effort into everything!



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