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Hosting Houseguests with Grace: A Guide to Prepare Yourself And Your Home

By December 10, 2023May 25th, 202410 Comments
prepare yourself and your home for houseguests

Welcoming friends or family into your home can be a joyous occasion but it often comes with mixed feelings. Maybe you are looking forward to seeing your friends or family members while simultaneously feeling a little unsettled or anxious. While these people are clearly not strangers the thought of them opening a closet, cupboard, or drawer that is not beautifully organized may give you the shivers. In this guide, I’ll share practical tips on how to prepare yourself and your home for houseguests. Afterall, whomever you invite into your home is not there to inspect the quality of the organization in your home. They are there to see you.

Let Go of Perfection:

One of the keys to hosting a stress-free gathering is to let go of the pursuit of perfection. Recognize that your guests are coming to spend time with you, not scrutinize the organization in your home. Focus on creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere rather than stressing over every detail. Consider a quick decluttering session and a general tidy-up before your guests are due to arrive, but don’t get caught up in perfectionism.

Ask About Food Allergies:

A key aspect of being a gracious host is ensuring that your guests have foods available that meet their dietary needs or restrictions. Reach out to them ahead of time to find out if they have any food allergies. Plan your meals with those details in mind and always have options available. Prepare your home and stock it with a variety of snacks and drinks, including some healthy options.

Create Cozy Sleeping Spaces:

Prepare your home for guests by creating comfortable and inviting sleeping spaces. Fresh linens, extra blankets, and comfortable pillows go a long way to ensuring a good night’s sleep.

Put out fresh towels for your guests and show them where you keep the extras just in case they need one.

If possible, allocate a drawer or a section of a closet for their belongings, making them feel at home during their stay. Put a night light in the bathroom so your guests don’t fumble around in the dark looking for the light.

Stock Up on Essentials:

Make sure your home is stocked with essentials your guests may have forgotten. This includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, and other bathroom supplies. Think about having a small basket in the room the guests will use with a couple of small bottles of water, a few snacks, and maybe information about local attractions.

Prepare Yourself and Do Some Research:

Before your guests visit do some research and find out what’s going on in your town during their visit. While it’s wonderful to sit, talk, and catch up with one another it is nice to offer options of things to do.

Research the opening hours for the local attractions. Find out what the admission prices are. You can create a document to share with the addresses, operating hours, and ticket prices for your guests. Some of the things you may want to do together, and some may be nice for them to experience on their own.

Take a House Tour:

If your guests have never stayed with you before, take them on a tour of your house so they can familiarize themselves with where things are. This will also help you because you won’t have to continually explain how to find things.

Be Willing to Accept Help:

Prepare yourself and be open to letting your guests help around the house. You may be about to prepare a meal or set the table. If a houseguest offers to help, let them. It may not be done exactly the way you would do it, but it will be done. Let go of perfection and be happy with done.


By embracing a relaxed approach, being mindful of dietary needs, attending to thoughtful details, and planning engaging activities you can transform your home into a welcoming haven for your guests. Remember the goal is to create an environment where everyone (including you) feels at ease. One of the best gifts we can give each other is the gift of time spent together creating lasting memories. Prepare yourself and your home as much as possible in advance then let go and enjoy the visit.

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia.


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  • Julie Bestry says:

    I love all of these tips. It’s great that you reminded readers not to strive for perfection. If you’re worried about things not being perfect, you’re goign to stress your guests out with apologies and caveats. It’s also great that you promote letting people help. Sometimes, people are afraid they’re putting their hosts out by being there, and being allowed to help with even small things will put people at ease.

    It’s horrible to stay at someone’s home and have a question after the’ve gone to sleep, so in addition to the cheat sheet about local happenings, I think it’s good to provide one that has the WiFi network name and password, the address (including zip code) in case they need to order something to be delivered while they’re there, instructions for how to work the coffee maker and any other finicky appliances, and how to adjust the thermostat if they’re uncomfortably hot or cold.

    Great advice!

  • I love having guests stay over. We have a small house and after our daughters left the nest, we converted their room into the guest room. It’s so nice to have a guest-ready space for people to come and stay. One of my goals this coming year is to repaint the room and change out some of the details. I’ve been hesitant because it has murals on it that one of my daughter painted. But both of our daughters have been saying to me for a long time that “It’s OK, Mom.” I’m saying it here that 2024 will be the year, so you can hold me to that, Diane.

    To me, the most important thing when people come over is for them to feel welcome. I like to have as much done in advance so I can enjoy their company rather than preparing while they are here. I’ve also learned to accept help. For some guests, helping out makes them feel more comfortable.

    Thank you for putting together this great list.

  • Love all of these tips – but my favorite is let go of perfection. Enjoy the moment and know that they will enjoy their visit even more if you are relaxed and ready to spend some time with them.

  • Seana+Turner says:

    As I was reading your suggestion for putting together a list of local activities, start times, admission prices, etc.,, I got to thinking, “I should do that for myself” LOL! What a great idea, right?

    I have passed into that phase of accepting help. I used to be more uptight and wanting everything to be “just right,” but I think I kind of stressed my guests out with that mindset. Now I tell myself that if things aren’t exactly as I envisioned, that’s ok. In fact, maybe it is better to let others express themselves and feel a part of things.

    Wishing all a wonderful holiday with friends and family!

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I know what you mean, Seana. I used to tell people when they offered to help that ‘it’s OK – I’ve got it’. Now, I say ‘go for it. Thank you’. It’s a good feeling to relax and accept the offer of help.

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