It is that time of year again, the inlaws the outlaws, aunt Sue, they are coming and you need to get prepared for the invasion. If you are lucky and have a guest suite always ready for holiday guests, awesome. But even with a dedicated space, preparing your house for the annual onslaught of friends and family takes time and planning. Some of the preparations for holiday guests take only a few minutes; some take a lot longer. So here is some great advice: Start preparing your home for the holidays now.
Don't wait until the day before guests arrive to clean out the linen closets. Declutter your guest rooms and public areas -- foyer, kitchen, living room, den, and dining room now. Remove anything unnecessary from countertops, coffee tables, and ottomans; if it’s out of sight, keep it out of mind, for now, the fewer things you have on your countertops and open space will give more room for the added items your guests will bring.
If you run short of time, bag up the clutter and store it in the garage, the basement, and out-of-the-way closets. Sort and arrange after your guests depart.
Light the way: Even though you can navigate your home blindfolded, remember...your guests can’t. Make sure outside sidewalk and porch lights are working so they don’t trip on the way to your door. Consider putting a motion-activated night light in the hallway, bathroom, and bedroom they will be staying in to ensure you don't hear a tumble when your guests are trying to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Child proofing: If your guests are parents, ask them to bring hardware to keep their little ones safe, such as baby gates and cabinet locks. Transfer your toxic cleaners and medicines from base to wall cabinets. Hide matches and lighters.
Fire prevention: Check the smoke detector batteries if you didn't do it last week when you switched the clocks to Daylight Savings Time, change them now. After your guests arrive, run a quick fire drill: Make sure they can locate exits and fire extinguishers, and that they know how to open windows and doors.
Your kitchen is command central during the holidays, so make sure it’s ready for guests and extra helpers.
Plan your meals ahead of time, make crockpot friendly meals and freeze them so that all you have to do is place it in the slow cooker and turn it on! Your plans can change at the drop of hat this time of year, and you want to make sure you don't have to run to the market, or worry about things spoiling if you decide to go out.
If you’ve got a guest room, replace the ceiling fixture with a ceiling fan and light combo, which helps guests customize their room temperature without fiddling with the thermostat for the entire house. An alternative to the ceiling fan, a floor fan they can plug in.
Add a space for luggage to reside while your guests are in town, a chair, folding stand, something so there is easy access.
Extra pillows and balnkets, make sure you have a few, and place them so they are easily accessable.
To carve sleeping space out of public areas, buy a folding screen or rolling bookcase, which will provide privacy for sleepers. Fold or roll it away in the morning.
Bring toilet paper, towels, and toiletries out of hiding, and place them on open shelves so guests can find them easily.
If you don’t have enough wall space for shelves, place these items in open baskets around the bathroom.
Also, outfit each tub with a bath mat (to avoid falls) and each toilet with a plunger and scrubber (to avoid embarrassment).