skip to Main Content

5 Things Holiday Houseguests Notice

The holidays are here, and that means houseguests. So what do you do? Do you run to the store to buy new things? Search Yelp for a 24 hour emergency cleaning company? Don’t fret, none of that is necessary. Instead, in :30 minutes or less you can do a quick review and pick up of your home, and for the most part leave everything just as it is.

Houseguests come to see you, not the state of your home. And that’s especially true during the holiday season. That said, having guests over is the number one motivator for getting one’s home in order. So, when it comes to taking action, I say use the situation to your advantage, but don’t go nuts.

Here are the top five things in your home houseguests will notice, and what you should do about them. For more houseguest top tips read my exclusive interview with Reader’s Digest 9 Things House Guests Notice and 9 Things to Please Stop Worrying About.

The State of Your Bathroom

Houseguests will notice your bathroom. But don’t panic. You don’t need to do a major overhaul to get it in shape for guests. The truth is, it’s easy to take the state of affairs in our bathrooms for granted. So, by looking at it through the lens of a houseguest you’ll be doing yourself a favor. Because truly, how often are we motivated to clean our own bathrooms? Not often. So do yourself and your guests a favor by giving your guest throne a once over before anyone comes over. Make sure the toilet seat and sink are clean. Check to ensure there is ample toilet paper (and perhaps a tissue box, a bonus touch). And, if it’s an overnight houseguest, put fresh towels out and clear a portion of a shelf for them to place an overnight bag. Cleaning up for guests is the number one motivator for getting our homes in order, so think of this as a chance to do something nice for yourself, as well as your guests. As for the shower, run your spray hose up and down the walls and curtain to chase away loose particles and hair, and straighten hair and body care products.

The State of Your Kitchen Table

Houseguests will notice your kitchen table, especially if your plan includes a nice meal together. Now this is an easy one. If you are planning to eat with your guests you are going to have to clean the table at some point. But don’t let the need to do so overwhelm you when you have other things to take care of. Instead, consider this easy solution. In my home I have a designated ‘guest relocation’ spot. I use it for the stuff of life that accumulates on my busy kitchen table, like stray piles of paper or overflow household projects. Before a houseguest comes over, I move these items to their ‘guest relocation’ spot. In my home I have two, a plastic tub for paper projects and a shelf for larger things, like stacks of books. After my guests leave and my table settles down, I bring the items back out again. This works because the relocation is intentional and temporary, and not a spot where I move things willy nilly, never to be seen again.

The State of Your Refrigerator

Houseguests will notice your refrigerator. Even on a casual visit, it’s likely someone will open the fridge for a glass of water. Like the bathroom, refrigerators are spaces in our homes we tend to take for granted. So, doing a quick once over before a houseguest arrives can play to our advantage. For a satisfying quick fix, take two minutes to review your refrigerator. Look for then toss expired items, like old condiments and dead fruits and veggies. Then remove what’s left and quickly wipe down shelves (or shift items on the shelves and wipe below and between). If you are feeling inspired, give the refrigerator door a once over too (especially stainless steel, wipe doors down with gentle soapy water). Like our homes, our refrigerators reflect our personality. So take stock of what you see and decide if you want to make a change. And if you have an overnight guest, try adding juice and milk for a nice and homey touch.

The State of Your Sheets

Houseguests who stay overnight will notice your sheets. How can they not, they’ll be sleeping on them. Once again, don’t panic. Unless your sheets are visibly ripped or stained, there’s nothing to worry about. There’s no need to run out and buy new ones. The truth is, the linens someone has in their home are a reflection of their personality. So make your guest bed with intention and let your inner homemaker shine. Personally, I enjoy seeing the sheets a host gives me as it’s like a snapshot into their lives. Are the sheets white and ironed, hotel style? Soft, cozy flannel for winter? Or cute, patterned holdovers from yesteryear, tenderly worn and lived in? Our stuff tells our story, so think about what story you are telling with the sheets you put down, then make it so. If you feel compelled to change the story, then by all means, bring new sheets into your home. I love falling asleep with my head on sheets someone has picked out just for me, and lovingly welcomed into their home.

The State of Cleanliness of Your Home

Houseguests will notice the cleanliness of your home. Let’s face it, it’s a natural instinct to notice the state of ones home. But be careful about what you standard you hold yourself up to. The truth is, trying to take our homes from everyday truth to hotel room crisp isn’t realistic for the average household. So don’t even bother. But do be aware that your houseguests may notice little things, like layers of dust or noticeable areas of dirt. Bottom line, do yourself and your houseguests a favor by giving your home a quick once over before they arrive. But keep it simple with light vacuuming or a dust cloth to entryway and living room shelves. Don’t drive yourself crazy making your home look perfect. Your home reflects both who and how you are. If your style is neat and clean, make it so. If your style is loose and creative, let it shine! Most important is to welcome holiday houseguests with an open heart and a smile.

How do you prepare for holiday houseguests? Share with us in the comments below.

Photo Credits: Unsplash, GoDaddy

Maeve Richmond is the founder and head coach of Maeve's Method, a home organization system based in New York City. She specializes in parents & kids, couples, small space solutions, space planning and decorative elements for the home. Contact her at or @MaeveRichmond.

Back To Top