10 Quick Tips to Prep Your House for Guests

Stressed about hosting Thanksgiving? Not with these no-fuss tips

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, or maybe you’re just planning to have family visit for the holidays, you might find yourself stressing about getting your house ready. Well, Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, not anxiety, so ditch the idea of doing a deep-clean. Instead, get your house guest-ready with these ten quick tips for a home that’s clean and comfortable, without having to go overboard.


  • Focus Most of Your Energy on the Bathroom — There’s just something, well, icky about a dirty bathroom. Your guests may turn a blind eye to a few spots on the carpet or an unmade bed, but a messy bathroom tends to make people cringe. Since your first goal is to make your guests comfortable, your best course of action is to spend most of your cleaning time here. Still, you don’t need to sweat bullets to get the job done. Make sure your vanity is clear and your sink is clean. Give your tub and shower a quick wipe down, and of course, clean the toilet! Mop the floor, and wipe down any tiled surfaces, including walls. Next, set out a couple of fresh hand towels for your guests, and put an extra roll of toilet paper in a visible spot — no guest wants to be left in an awkward position.

  • Do the “Ten-Minute Tidy” — Literally, ten minutes is all you need to do a massive tidy up session in your house, as long as you stay focused. Grab a timer and go! Make your way through the areas of your house where your guests will have access.  Put away anything that needs to find it’s home; gather dirty clothes, throw away the trash, and when in doubt have a box handy to toss questionable items into — you can deal with the box later. Getting rid of the clutter is an automatic boost to how your home appears to others.


  • Empty the Kitchen Sink — Basically, wash your dishes, or load your dishes into the dishwasher. Don’t leave anything in your sink. Before your guests arrive, make sure to dry all of the dishes that are in your sink and put them away; an empty sink makes your kitchen look open and clean.  Bonus points for putting away the dishes in your dishwasher. This way you’ll be one step ahead when it’s time to clean up after Thanksgiving dinner!

  • Wipe Kitchen Counters — You don’t have to go nuts with heavy-duty scrubbers and scrapers, just give your counters a good wipe down before your guests arrive. Take care of any little drips and drabs left behind from meal prep, and give your kitchen an instant, fresh look.

  • Do a Quick Vacuum — Give the rooms that your guests will be in a quick pass with your vacuum cleaner, and don’t forget hard-surfaced floors too! If your vacuum doesn’t have a setting for hard floors, then do a quick pass with a damp mop or even a dry mop. You just want to make sure to grab any major dust bunnies and crumbs. If you have a robot vacuum, then lucky you, let it do its thing while you address the other items on this list.


  • Make Room for Guests — There’s nothing more frustrating than excitedly greeting your guests when they arrive, only to be distracted by trying to find a place to put the coats, scarves, purses, hats — you get the idea. If you don’t want to end up with your guests’ items haphazardly dropped all over your home, then prepare a designated place ahead of time. If you have a mudroom space or coat closet this is perfect, but a large flat surface will do too. You can use your bed (make it first!) and simply lay guests’ belongings on top, then shut your bedroom door. A quick tip: Lay a large sheet over your bed first, so that your bedding is protected from any stray items or germs that hitch a ride in from outside. Afterward, all you need to do is toss the sheet in the wash.

  • Check Your Lighting — Don’t wait until right before guests arrive to discover light bulbs are burnt out, or light is too bright or too dim. Do a walkthrough before the big day to try out different lighting looks in your rooms and adjust them as needed.

  • There’s No Shame in Hiding — Of course, we don’t mean YOU, we mean your stuff. In a pinch, there is nothing wrong with gathering stray items into a couple of boxes and putting them in a garage or storage closet for the evening. This goes for extra knick-knacks and items that might be taking up surface space on tables or other areas where you plan to set up appetizers, drinks or other party tidbits. Also, shut doors to any rooms that won’t be used during the event; out of sight, out of mind is perfectly acceptable for the occasion.

  • Use Common Scents — A few well-placed scented candles can add a lot of ambiance to a space thanks to their soft glow and delightful fragrance. Place one in your bathroom, kitchen area and of course, they always make a great addition to a Thanksgiving tablescape. If you are worried about open flames throughout your house, especially if small children will be attending, you can use wax warmers, battery-operated candles, and oil diffusers to get the same effect.

  • Play Some Music — Lastly, switch on some background music that meshes with your sense of style for your Thanksgiving dinner. Whether it’s classical, soft jazz, rock and roll, hey, it’s your party! Just make sure that it is playing at a volume level that allows for conversation without being a distraction.

We hope this has shown you that you don’t need to spend hours and hours cleaning to make your house guest-ready! Instead, you can spend your time enjoying the company, food, and festivities. For more home tips check out the rest of our blog. We wish you all the very best during this holiday season, and we hope that these easy tips give you time to focus on the things that really matter this Thanksgiving.

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