The inlaws are coming…for the whole weekend. As if planning a holiday feast wasn’t enough, you’re also feeling the pressure to turn your pad into The Ritz Carlton. First things first, take a deep breath.
“Over and over when I see people, they’re so self conscious about their homes and it’s like, ‘Relax, we’re all in this together,’” said Jean Linder, founder of Jean Linder Organizing for Long Island’s East End.
Linder, who organizes homes and offices across Long Island, always advises clients to be comfortable with who they are and where they are in their lives. That said, there are a few things you can do to make your home a comfortable place for guests to be, whether it’s for a party or the weekend. Take another deep breath, then read on for Linder’s pro tips.
Do a simple pick up of your home. Clear boxes and recycling bins out of entryways. That coat you throw on the same chair every evening when you get home from work should get hung in a closet.
“Make entries as clear as possible and everything off the floor, that’s the biggest thing,” Linder said.
Back entrances, like a mudroom, might be utilized too if you’re bringing your guests through your garage after a dinner out or if you have a beer fridge in your garage. Linder prefers cabinets with doors to open shelves. “Shut them and they look good,” she said. If you have shelves, put bins with covers to stash things in. “Have a home for everything and put everything in its home,” she said. Another tip: get rid of pet hair. A cycle through the dryer gets hair off seat and couch covers.
Setting Up Your Guest Room
When getting a guest room ready, you may be tempted to make it super-homey and decorative. Fight it. Less is more, according to Linder. “Let them have an area that’s clear, like a dresser or bureau that they can put their stuff on and unpack,” she said. “You can have a couple decorations, but I wouldn’t go too crazy where they feel like they don’t have room to put stuff.” Leave them a drawer or two where they can put their clothes, and put extra towels, pillows, everyone has different preferences, and blankets in the others. Leave essentials like toothbrushes, toothpaste, washcloths, towels, shampoo and conditioner where your guests can see them.
“You want to have that out in the bathroom so they see it and don’t have to ask where something is every five minutes.” Other must haves for a guest room: a clock, fan and water bottles.
My Kitchen, Your Kitchen
Linder suggests pancakes and bacon for breakfast. “I have a grill and can make 25 pancakes in 10 minutes. They’re great because they’re filling.” Eggs are another good option. “When I have families with kids over, I’ll make things I can serve again like chicken fried rice,” she said. “If you can make things in a big batch, that takes the pressure off.” Families may get hungry in between or need a midnight snack, especially if growing kids are around. “I tell them, ‘my kitchen is your kitchen.’ If someone is hungry or thirsty they can feel free to grab things. If people can help themselves, I feel like everyone’s more relaxed.”
On the day of the party, Linder suggests taking guests coats and putting them on a garment rack. “Most people have them, but you can get them pretty cheap on sites like Amazon,” she said. Let’s be real: holiday parties are food-centric. “Have a lot of seating like barstools.” Put them around the island or wherever the food is going to be. If you’re looking to eat at a table and yours is too small to accommodate your guests, Linder said to check out places like Costco for large folding tables and put table clothes over them for continuity. If you get multiple ones, push them together. “I like when the tables are connected whenever possible. I think it gives it more of an intimate feeling,” she said.