For me, the first step in getting organized before receiving holiday guests is to create a holiday to-do list for myself. This helps me to set some timely goals so that I’m not leaving anything to the last minute before their arrival and feeling overwhelmed.
Here are the top ten items that go on my list:
1. Wash all linens for the guest bedroom and arrange extra blankets, throws and pillows (including holiday-themed) in their proper places in the room.
2. Stock extra towels, including holiday decorative hand towels, and toiletries such as soaps, toothpaste, and extra toothbrushes (someone is bound to have forgotten theirs) in designated baskets in the guest bathroom – placed neatly under the vanity cabinet or on the counter for easy accessibility.
3. Dust all furniture, vacuum, and clean glass and mirrors. This is usually the time when I rearrange furniture depending on how many guests are visiting. And, can’t forget the little ones! I will child-proof play areas as needed.
4. Straighten up and get rid of any clutter around the house. The pile of bills that’s been sitting on the kitchen table for a month goes straight into a file marked “Urgent – must go through” and placed in my home office. I set a due date on my calendar and in my smartphone.
5. Strategically place books and magazines for all ages on the night stand, end tables and coffee table for those early risers and avid readers who wait for the rest of the house to awake each morning.
6. Stock the kitchen refrigerator and pantry. This is a top priority. Before I do this I plan out the meals in advance so I know the exact ingredients I’ll need. And I always include healthy snacks and well-stocked shelves for the very basic PB&J sandwiches or a gourmet meal.
7. Collect an assortment of board games like Scrabble, Monopoly, Scattegories or Catch Phrase and a bucket full of Legos under the coffee table. Keeps the kids busy while the grownups are socializing.
8. Display a basket of holiday movies and music CDs readily available near the entertainment center.
9. Place a basket near the front door or in your foyer full of holiday stockings or house slippers (one size fits all). Once someone enters my home and remove their shoes, they’re welcome to put on some warm cozy slippers to wear around the house during their stay.
10. Include a guest book on the coffee table. I encourage my guests to write a little message of what’s on their mind and hearts. My guests love to write little messages of thanks or funny humorous stories of what transpired over the time of their stay. It also creates great memories for when you bring it out again the following holiday season.
Preparing and planning ahead of time with a holiday to-do list keeps you organized during the holidays so as to ensure a peaceful and joyous time not only for your guests but also for you – the Hostess with the Mostest!
We all know how crazy and stressful the holidays can be however, it doesn’t have to. When you take the time to be organized, not only will you make a great impression for your guests but you’ll have memories to last a lifetime. Happy holidays!
Jessica Bakken is the design and sales manager for California Closets in Raleigh, NC. She enjoys designing and transforming living spaces into more useful, organized and stress-free havens so that her clients achieve a more balanced way of life.