Think you have to deep clean your entire house before hosting a party, or entertaining houseguests? Think again! We’ll let you in on a secret: Guests actually only notice a few things about your home when they visit you. (They really don’t care whether you dusted the chandeliers or washed the windows.) Instead of cleaning your whole house, you can just address the things that are most noticeable — and important — to the people staying at your home.
Below, check out the few things that you really need to do when you have guests over for the evening or for a few nights.
7. There’s too much clutter
From the entryway to the kitchen table, there are plenty of places in your home for clutter to accumulate. Your guests probably won’t notice whether you’ve mopped the floors, deep-cleaned the refrigerator, or laundered the drapes. But they will notice if your family’s shoes and coats are in disarray in the entryway or if there’s a huge pile of junk mail on the kitchen table.
You can keep clutter under control with smart organization. But if you don’t have time to overhaul your closets or set up a new system for your mail, don’t despair! Good Housekeeping notes that there’s no shame in putting catalogs, mail, or other clutter into a basket until your guests leave. Similarly, you can stow shoes and coats in a closet, and throw your kids’ or grandkids’ toys into a box. Clear things off the bathroom counter by stowing them in a drawer instead. Also, neatly arrange the books and magazines on your coffee table. And finally, take out the trash.
6. You have a well-stocked bar
Since most people offer their guests a drink as soon as they walk in the door, your guests are going to notice right away whether you have a well-stocked bar. There’s nothing wrong with relying on beer and wine, but cocktail-loving guests will appreciate it if you can make a mixed drink or two.
Food52 reports that you don’t need a large liquor collection to mix up the beverages that most people enjoy. You can build your bar incrementally, by purchasing the ingredients you need for one or two different cocktails at a time. The publication also notes that featured cocktails are a good idea when you have people over. That way, you can limit your list of supplies and avoid forgetting something in a “free-for-all open bar scenario.”
5. There’s not enough light
Most people don’t light their homes properly. While it’s true that any guest who isn’t an interior designer probably won’t notice an imperfect lighting setup, they’ll definitely notice bad lighting when they visit your home. They might get annoyed by dim lighting when they’re trying to mix a drink in the kitchen. And they’ll also find it annoying if they go from a candlelit living room to a bathroom with a harsh fluorescent glare.
Similarly, guests staying the night at your home may find it annoying if there’s no bedside lamp for them to read by. They also won’t love stumbling down a dark hall at night to find their way to the bathroom. There’s no need to go out and buy a dozen new table lamps. Just make sure that you have enough light in your home to make it comfortable for everyone.
4. Your pet is underfoot or pet hair is everywhere
Anyone who owns a dog or cat probably worries about pet odors when guests come to visit. But chances are good that you can’t even smell those odors anymore. So you’ll definitely want to take a few quick steps to make sure that your home smells good (more on those on the next page)! However, pet odors aren’t the only thing that your guests will notice.
Guests who feel uneasy around dogs will definitely notice if your dog is underfoot the entire evening. Similarly, guests who are allergic to cats will take notice if the cat is all over them their entire stay. We don’t advocate for confining your pets whenever you have guests over. Just be mindful and make sure that they aren’t all over your guests. Similarly, make sure that you lint-roll your couch and chairs so that guests don’t end up with pet hair all over their clothes.
3. Your home smells good or bad
One of the first things guests notice when they walk in the door is what your home smells like. As with pet odors, you might not notice any other unsavory smells in your home. In addition to doing a quick clean of any potentially smelly areas, you may want to do a few things to make sure that your home smells good.
Good Housekeeping recommends simmering water with citrus slices and herbs on the stove. You should also clean the garbage disposal, and place candles strategically throughout your home. It also doesn’t hurt to bring some houseplants home because they can purify the air and add pleasant fragrances, too. You can also clip deodorizers to your air vents. Or, you can always opt to bake a batch of cookies, cinnamon rolls, or other pleasantly fragrant food.
2. How much privacy they have
Privacy is important for guests visiting or staying at your home. You should always give them enough space, no matter how long you’ve known one another. (That even goes for former roommates with whom you shared close quarters in the past!) Ensure that the guest room door closes securely, so your guest has privacy when sleeping or changing. And make sure the bathroom door lock is functioning, too.
Also, think about the layout of your home. Even guests who are just there for the evening won’t be thrilled to find out that the bathroom is right next to the room where you and a dozen other guests are hanging out — and that there’s no functioning fan to provide some white noise. Similarly, you’ll want to try not to make too much noise if your guest is still asleep in the guest room
1. You have the essentials in the bathroom
People who attend your party or stay in your guest room will need to use the bathroom. It should go without saying that you want to keep the bathroom pristine. But the one thing your guests will really notice? Whether you keep the bathroom well-stocked with the essentials. To avoid falling short of that expectation, make sure there’s plenty of toilet paper available.
If you have overnight guests, make sure you’ve also left clean towels and plenty of shampoo. Apartment Therapy also recommends having a citrus spray or matches available to take care of odors. And you should always provide a trash can — and a plunger, which house guests never want to have to ask for.
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