Organizing for Houseguests

Welcoming HouseguestsHaving friends and family come for the holidays can be a great source of joy. It can also be a busy time, when the “to do” list is long. If you are expecting company, keep these tips in mind to ensure a smooth visit:

Communicate Pre-Arrival

Many uncomfortable moments can be avoided by touching base on a few key topics before the guests arrive. Consider a phone call or email in advance to confirm:

  • Itinerary/Agenda for the visit (e.g. activities you have planned, does the guest have any particular things he/she would like to do?)
  • Clothing needs (e.g. formal attire required at the club? Be sure to bring walking shoes?)
  • Dietary preferences (e.g. allergies/intolerances, coffee/tea/decaf?, vegetarian?, special needs for children?)
  • Travel plans (e.g. arrival & departure times, airport pick-up needed?)

Ready A Space

Whether it is a room or part of room, prepare a space where guests can keep their belongings and sleep. Remember to provide:

–       A location for hanging clothes (either a closet or hooks, and a few extra hangers)
–       A location for storing luggage (a rack, trunk, chair or corner)
–       A bed/air mattress for sleeping, along with all the necessary bedding
–       A designated bathroom to use, along with towels (remember extra toilet paper)
–       An extra book or two for light reading
–       A box of tissues
–       A bottle or two of water
–       A clock
–       A welcoming touch (e.g. fresh flowers on the end table)

Think “Extras”

It is very easy when traveling to accidentally leave items behind. By having extra items on hand, you can ease stress and embarrassment.  To make guests comfortable, have available:


  • toothbrushes & toothpaste
  • disposable razors & shaving cream
  • shampoo & conditioner
  • soap
  • body lotion
  • comb/hairbrush


  • Tylenol/Advil
  • Extra pillows & blankets
  • Extra phone charger (if you have one)
  • Extra hair dryer (if you have one)
  • Night light

Convey Details

Guests often feel awkward asking for things, so make asking unnecessary.  Here are some details to clear up at the beginning of the visit:

–       Which bathroom and bedroom/sleeping quarters to use.

–       Where the towels are, and where guests can hang them to dry.

–       When guests need to be ready to leave the house for planned activities

–       What time meals will be served

–       Where to adjust the thermostat (and/or how to open the windows)

–       How to make coffee should guests rise before you do

–       Where to find all of the “extra” supplies you have collected

–       Where to sit at mealtime

–       Where to find glasses/mugs/etc.

–       Where to park the car

Having guests come to stay can be a source of great joy. A little planning can make the time as special and stress-free as possible. What is your best tip for ensuring a smooth visit?