20 Painless Things You Can Do To Prep Your Home for Houseguests

For our family, holiday season is also houseguest season. I love inviting family and friends to join us at our home and always try to add little touches to make them feel comfortable and make the experience memorable. As fun as it is though, having extra people in the house means extra meals, extra mess, extra everything!


Here are 20 things you can do to freshen and prep your space before holiday guests arrive. A little advance planning goes a long way and helps you avoid unnecessary cleanup headache afterwards.

  1. Spritz & Spray Beds. Keep bedding and mattresses fresh by spritzing them with a deodorizing fabric spray or freshener prior to putting on sheets.
  2. Air Your Dirty Laundry. Encourage overnight guests to remove used bedding before they leave by placing a wicker basket with a small tag or sign reading ”Soiled Linens.”
  3. Cans, Cans, and More Cans. Think about where you and your guests will be hanging out most and provide small trash cans everywhere… bathrooms, desk areas, play rooms, and outdoor entertaining areas. Make it easy for wrappers, tissues and other garbage to get canned!
  4. Triple-Line Trash Bags. This is a great trick, especially for smaller trash cans that fill up quickly. Place several layers of trash bags inside the can and when it’s time to change, simply pull out the top bag – no rebagging necessary.
  5. De-Clutter the Closets. Give guests a place to hang. If there’s a closet in your guest room be sure it isn’t so packed with junk that nothing more can squeeze in. If there’s no guest closet, clear a corner in one of the family bedrooms or a hallway closet so suits, jackets, and dresses can find a wrinkle-free home.
  6. Add A Hint of Hotel Hip. The swankiest hotels usually give you an easy place to unload your luggage – and for as little as $30, you can provide your guests with a hotel-style suitcase stand. They’ll feel like they’re at a four-start resort, plus it will encourage them to keep their packables neat and organized.
  7. Stock Up on Coasters and Cocktail Napkins. It’s holiday time, which means eating and drinking are a main attraction. Whether you’re sipping hot chocolate or enjoying evening cocktails, provide easy access to coasters and cocktail napkins to avoid unsightly water rings and stains on wood furniture and countertops.
  8. Put Out the Pumps. When it comes to hand soap, forget those cute little bars shaped like leaves or snowflakes. Instead, opt for pump-style soap in a jar. Less mess, more convenience – a win-win!
  9. Squeegee the Shower. We have three showers in our house – two for family, one for guests. All have glass doors and all are equipped with squeegees so bathers can wipe things down after a steamy shower.
  10. Encourage a Little Cleaning Love. Sometimes presentation is everything. Put out an attractive bottle of all-purpose cleaning spray (with a lovely scent) to encourage quick cleanups. You can even place a fun note next to it saying: “For little messes and mishaps.”
  11. Write Down Household How-To’s. From WiFi passwords and remote controls to garbage pickup days and yardwork schedules, provide long-term guests with a sense of what happens when – that way they’re informed, invested, and more likely to pitch in.
  12. Treat Them to Toiletries. Avoid clutter and mess in guest bathrooms by providing toiletries within easy reach. I’m a big fan of shower dispensers like this one that dole out shampoo, conditioner, body soap and more without muss or fuss.
  13. Label Towels. It’s nice to stock the bathroom with a plush set of towels, but if guests can’t figure out whose is whose, it quickly becomes a mess … which means more laundry for you. Invest in individual embroidered towels, or hang numbered wall hooks so guests can keep their linens separated.
  14. Breakfast Tray. I’m a serious brunch addict, but the idea of cleaning up after serving waffles or omelets for ten people is enough to make me lose my appetite! Take a cue from resorts and offer guests an easy self-serve bar or continental breakfast complete with granola, fresh fruit, juice and muffins.
  15. Snack Attack. Everyone has a different schedule when it comes to snacking so be sure to provide houseguests with small mess-free nibbles in their room. Good choices include bottled water, fruit sodas, fruit strips, nuts, and rice crackers. If you want to go all-out, do a guest room cart like this one from A Beautiful Mess – brilliant!!
  16. Microwavables. If you have a microwave oven, one of the best ways to reduce food fuss is by having an array of quick-and-easy edibles on hand – microwavable oatmeal, soups, burritos, and more.
  17. Bottled Water. Having individual bottled waters around when houseguests are in town is essential. It saves on glasses, enables on-the-go travelers to grab a water as they’re headed out to see the sites, and provides an easy way for overnighters to keep water at their bedside.
  18. Label Glasses. My humble little family of five can produce more dirty glasses in a single day than I care to count – so when we add even more people to the mix, the idea of labels seems suddenly quite brilliant. Whether you use drink tags or washi tape, give each person an easy way to identify their drinking vessel.
  19. Sweep Savvy. Stay one step ahead of dust bunnies and hair balls (ewww) by keeping hand brooms visible and at-the-ready. Guests are more inclined to grab a sweeper and pitch in if it’s in sight and easy.
  20. The Awesomeness of Air. Air mattresses ROCK. If you haven’t yet discovered the magic of these self-inflating, easily-disassembled guest beds, you will soon be a convert. Easy to set up, easy to deflate, no cleaning, no work.

Having special people join you for family time and festivities should be one of the highlights of your year, not one of the hassles. With a bit of creativity and clever planning, ’tis the season of happy hosting and happy holidays!

This post was sponsored by Clorox