The season is upon us, dear ones. That hectic lovely time of year when friends and family descend on our homes like a flock of birds. They pop in spontaneously, they stay overnight, and sometimes it feels like they never leave. Even if you enjoy playing host, it can be a bit nerve-wracking.
Being a good hostess concerns many of us – and with good reason! There’s nothing quite like that feeling of learning – years later – that a guest really hated your couch, or couldn’t find the clean towels. Mortifying! Not to mention the feelings of hurt pride, guilt, or inadequacy… happy holidays, indeed!
So what’s a girl to do? Stop hosting – forever? Hire a hotel concierge?
I got you, babe. I’m here to put your heart and mind at peace – I’ve dug up what guests really notice about your home – and guess what? Giving them a pleasant and fun experience is a lot easier than we make it!
What’s that Smell?
You already knew this one, based on your own personal experiences. The problem is, we hardly ever think about it in our own comfortable environments!
Bring a (really) good friend or an honest teenager. Do the pets need a bath? Perhaps it’s time to get rid of that chair, despite your best efforts to clean it. Are the trash cans emptied? Is the closet musty? These things are pretty easy to eliminate or mask – and while your guests might not notice an absence of odor, they’ll definitely notice the presence of one.
You may prefer to layer three sweaters during the day, or perhaps you sleep with only the sheets. No matter – but your guests won’t be able to help noticing if they’re uncomfortable with the temperature! If setting the dial to a middle-ground 70F isn’t an option, give your guests plenty of hints to make themselves comfortable. Extra blankets or quilts, fans, props for the windows, mini heaters – all of these go a long way towards communicating freedom and welcome.
Avoid Stubbed Toes
Adequate lighting is very important in an unfamiliar environment – especially in the evenings and overnights! Candles can set a mood, but they do you no good in middle of the night when your guest is searching for the bathroom. Nightlights for the bathroom path are a must. Bonus points for including reading lights by the bed and laying in an emergency stock of batteries and lightbulbs.
I’m going to be real here, girls. Nobody wants to be that guest who sheepishly pulls you aside to ask where the toilet plunger is. Your guests (hopefully) are trying to be a good to you as much as you’re trying to be good to them – the easier it is for them to take care of themselves, the less you’ll have to do!
This can look different depending on the household, but here’s some ideas to get you started:
- Go through your bathroom cabinet with a stranger’s eyes: are the basic medications and bandages front and center? How about extra toilet paper, tissues, dental floss, a candle & matches, plunger, and basic cleaning supplies? Are all prescriptions or potentially embarrassing items put out of sight?
- Lay out towels, a spare toothbrush & paste, and a bar of soap near the guest bed. This is an extra-special touch with very little effort. It says: I prepared for you and am happy you’re here!
- Label “guest friendly” food on a shelf in the fridge and pantry. Nothing says “welcome” like a late-night snack!
- In many households, the Wi-Fi password is a growing necessity. Print yours out on an index card to make it easy to quickly communicate.
Floors & Flats
Guests notice the horizontal surfaces in your home the most, and I bet they’re all over your house: coffee tables, night stands, shelves, and rugs.
Pick things up off the floor (this doesn’t mean cleaning, necessarily!). The more of the floor you can see, the bigger and cleaner the whole room looks.
Vacuum or sweep – If you’re short on time or energy, just get the middles.
Contain loose items. Very few of us have a clutter-free home and let’s be honest – the holiday season is busy enough without adding another chore. Make good use of trays, baskets, bins, and bags – items look intentional when they’re gathered together in a container. One of my favorite little tricks is to walk through the room with a laundry basket, picking up everything that doesn’t belong in that room. This is a great last-minute save because then you can store the laundry basket under the master bed until later. 😉
Dust electronics and main rooms. This is the LAST tip for a reason – don’t stress about it. But if you’ve made it through this list with time to spare, then by all means run a clean cloth over the major electronics in the main rooms, and take a swipe at the coffee table, end tables, and dining tables.
Have a mug of whatever makes you cheery, and put your feet up. The biggest thing your guests will notice about your home is how refreshed and relaxing you are!
What do you do to get ready for guests? Share your hosting wisdom in the comments below!
Sometimes the house is a reflection of what’s going on inside – If you’re struggling to look & feel your best year-round, I think you could use some girl talk with an expert. I’d love to spend some one-on-one time with you, discovering your own personal “Fountain of Youth.” Click here to reach out.