Your Home

Preparing your home for hosting the holidays

With the holidays here, it’s time to prepare your home for hosting friends and family.

The joy of the holidays is having friends and family pop over for a visit or even stay for a few days. To ensure that your guests enjoy their visit and you don’t have a clutter panic – pushing piles into closets and shutting the door – move through your home like a guest would and declutter a few popular zones.

• Front door. Your front door should scream “Hello! I’m glad you’re here!” The goal for this space is to freshen things up. Clean and straighten outdoor furniture cushions, move packages inside, wheel bikes and scooters back into the garage and put away lingering garden tools. Dust and wipe down your front door, wash the window panes in and around your door, remove cobwebs and replace exterior light bulbs that have burned out. If you have potted plants near the front door, make sure they look cared for.

• Entryway. The goal in this space is to make room for guest jackets, handbags and shoes. With donation bags in hand, leaf through jackets hanging in the closet and purge what you can live without. This is the perfect time of year to donate warm items such as jackets and hats to your favorite charity. Put away shoes and corral umbrellas and tote bags. Haul magazines and junk mail to your recycling bin.

• Guest bath and powder room. Whether a friend is stopping by for coffee or you are hosting your in-laws for a week, you will want bathrooms to feel fresh and well stocked. Clear the clutter under the sinks to make room for extra toilet paper, fresh hand towels and disinfecting wipes. In your powder room, splurge on holiday hand towels, soaps and a room spray. In your guest bathroom, have staples visible and clearly organized so guests know they are welcome to use them. Favorite products on my list are toothbrushes, toothpaste, contact lens solution, makeup remover, disposable razors and a hairdryer.

• Guest room. Try to spend a night in your guest room before you host. Is the bed comfortable? Are window treatments sufficient to keep any bright lights out of the room at night? Clear the clutter from the surfaces of nightstands and the dresser. Essential supplies like an alarm clock, extra blankets, a fan, an extra cellphone charger and a bottle of water will help your guests feel welcome. If you entertain often, consider adding a guest book so that guests can leave a message with their favorite memory from their stay. Include a note inside with details like the Wi-Fi password and schedule of events.

• Living room. In this space, you will want clear zones for guests to place a drink or a plate. Curb the clutter from the coffee table and side tables by recycling old newspapers and magazines. Put books on the shelves where they belong, and store or recycle lingering school/art projects from the kids. Free up seating by removing extra pillows, and place blankets in a basket where guests can grab one to feel cozy and at home.

• Kitchen and pantry. A clear countertop, snacks on hand and a coffee station are key for happy guests during the holidays. Tuck away nonessential appliances that are hogging counter space. Place coffee mugs on a tray next to the coffee maker with sugar and a basket of breakfast goodies and fruit. Pick up extra food storage containers to send leftovers home with guests.

Amanda Kuzak is a Los Altos-based professional organizer, estate liquidator and the owner of Kuzak’s Closet. For more information, visit

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