How to prepare your home for holiday guests

The holidays are a wonderful time of year. They are a time to be grateful, enjoy time with family and friends, and partake in all the delicious food. But all the celebrations and joy can come with the extra stress of additional time commitments and preparations for the joyous events.

It’s especially stressful when you’re responsible for hosting guests and parties at your home. That’s why preparation and planning ahead is essential to maintaining your sanity – and making everything go more smoothly.

If you’re getting ready to host family and friends for the holidays, never fear. We have you covered.

Here is a checklist (with a handy printable) you can use to get one step ahead – so you can relax and enjoy the cheerful moments as they come.

How to prepare your home for guests during the holidays

1. Create a game plan. Grab your calendar and plan what tasks will be done on certain days. That way you aren’t scrambling to get everything done at the last minute. Use the rest of this list to plan out what will be done and when.

2. Clean the house. Of course, some cleaning tasks, such as vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms are best done closer to when guests arrive. But many tasks can be done ahead of time – take care of those asap to leave time for last-minute preparations. Here are some things to do:

  • Clean the microwave
  • Clean the oven
  • Clean out the refrigerator
  • Clean your coffee maker
  • Clean the carpet
  • Clean dirty windows
  • Clean the shower or bathtub
  • Declutter guest areas
  • Wash ample towels and bedding to have ready for guests

3Ensure guest safety. Since you are in your home day in and day out and know your house well, you probably don’t think about safety in your home. But when you invite outside guests to your home, particularly children and elderly guests, safety needs to be a primary concern. Here are some safety items to address:

  • Childproof your home (electrical outlets and cords, sharp furniture corners, lamps, knick-knacks, and stairways)
  • Check your smoke  and CO2 detectors
  • Guard against falling hazards (check for loose stair treads, slippery floors, or throw rugs)
  • Clear all sidewalks of ice, snow, and tripping dangers
  • Make sure all exterior lighting is functional
  • Have a first aid kit on hand
  • Keep working fire extinguishers in the kitchen (and other rooms too!

4. Plan your space for guests.Whether you’re having overnight guests or party guests for a few hours, you need to plan for the extra space. Think about how your home can best accommodate the number of guests you are expecting and plan appropriately. Here are some areas to think about:

  • A place for overnight guests (Where is everyone going to sleep? Do you need air mattresses?)
  • Clear extra closet space for guests
  • Make sure you have sufficient tables and chairs (for eating and relaxing)
  • Plan for an area to stow all winter gear, such as coats and boots (which could be wet – you may need an extra mat!)

5. Create your menu. This is essential if you are providing a meal (or appetizers/snacks/drinks). Here are some suggestions for planning ahead:

  • Write down exactly what you plan to serve
  • Gather all needed recipes in one place
  • Make a list of needed ingredients (make sure you refer to the recipes and double check your pantry)
  • Write on your calendar when certain food preparations can be made (prep as much as you can ahead of time!)
  • Decide how you will serve your food – buffet style or family style
  • Get out the serving dishes you need (and wash any that haven’t been used for a while)

6. Make your grocery/shopping list.No one wants to be running to the store for a last-minute item an hour before guests are to arrive. Make your list and check it twice! Here are some things to add to your list:

  • All food and ingredients for the holiday meal (or apps/drinks)
  • Breakfast food and snacks for overnight guests
  • Coffee, tea and other beverages
  • Disposable kitchen items, such as napkins, paper plates, plastic cups, etc.
  • Stock up on the essential household items, such as toilet paper, paper towels, and extra toiletries (like toothbrushes, shampoo, etc.)

7. Decorate minimally. You can make decor festive while keeping the number of items to a minimum. Not only do decorations take time to put up, but they take up space – space you may need for your extra guests and food. Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Use holiday lights – they are inexpensive, add to the festive feel, and take up little space
  • Bring nature in – a few strategically placed branches and greenery add that special touch
  • Replace regular household items with holiday-related items – such as throw blankets, wall hangings, and candles

Whether you’re selling or buying a home, the process can feel intimidating and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to. At Coluzzi Real Estate, we answer all your questions and simplify the process. We’re here for you every step of the way. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today!


About the Author:

Amanda has lived in the Des Moines area since 1999, where she and her husband have bought and sold a handful of homes over the years, including a recent flip. Amanda enjoys writing, obsesses about personal finance and is fond of looking at houses. She loves sharing useful tips and info to make life easier for anyone wanting to buy or sell a home. In her spare time, Amanda cherishes time with her family, volunteers with IHYC, gardens, hikes, and practices TaeKwonDo. You can read more of her writing at whywemoney.com