Quick Fixes | How to Prep for Company

Just like we make snap judgements and get first impressions based on appearance when we meet someone new, guests do the same to our homes when they visit for the first time.  Even though we emphasize how important first impressions are, we also discourage making snap judgements...but honestly, how can you not?  The way we see it, when entering a home or meeting someone for the first time, you're trying to figure out how to handle yourself in their space or around their personality so you do a quick assessment and then go from there.  All that to say--it happens...and it's ok!  As long as those of us making the judgements and taking away the first impressions leave a little room for them to change as we get to know the person or spend more time in the space.

Either way, if you've got new guests coming to visit, it's important for you to be prepared for them to assess the situation up entering your home.  What do you want them to think?  How do you want them to feel?  Even if (you don't feel like) your home isn't the most beautifully decorated, it can still be clean and comfortable, which is something guests will appreciate.  So today we're going to discus the key items and places to focusing on fluffing before company arrives.

First rule is our absolute number one---smell!  Light a candle, spray some air freshener, plug in a wallflower.  The scent of a home is the very first thing that hits someone when they enter a space and it says A LOT about the space.  Basically, it can make a guest either feel clean or dirty in your home....because nobody likes a stinky room.  If you have an aversion to strong scents, just go with something clean--maybe lemon or peppermint.  You don't want it to be so strong and offensive to your guests that it gives a headache, but you do want your home to smell pleasant.

Once a guest smells your home, the first thing they typically see is the entry way, so take a little time to clean it up.  Usually entryways aren't giant spaces, so putting the shoes away or hanging the coats up shouldn't take too much time.  Try to add some decorative items to your entryway too.  It can be functional but also pretty because, quite honestly, a well-styled entry is your homes first FIRST impression and if it looks put together, it will make the attitude with which they are judging the rest of your home with a more positive one.

Bag the clutter.  Clutter is just bad news. Period.  Clutter can make a well-styled, beautifully decorated space look messy which totally defeats the purpose.  So if you have clutter, put it away.  Cleaning up clutter doesn't require a crazy organization sesh, just some large baskets or bins and the right shelf space.  Think storage furniture!  Storage ottomans and chests are great places to hide all the kids toys when guests are coming and getting the stuff hidden doesn't take an act of God.  Whatever you do, just get rid of that clutter!

Finally, be sure to set out something small and thoughtful that your guests will appreciate.  Maybe it's nice guest towels in the bathroom, a soap/shampoo/lotion basket in the guest room, or maybe it's just having the coffee or tea ready for them.  Those welcoming touches are keys to making someone else feel at home in your home.  They will know they're welcome there and enjoy themselves that much more instead of feeling like they've inconvenienced you.

The Holidays Are Here | Prep for Guests

This is pretty much the busiest time of year for everything.  Food shopping, travel, gift buying--everyone is on the move with someone to see or a holiday party to attend.  Oftentimes, this means that you'll have guests--some expected, some unexpected...so it's good to just make sure your home is ready for a surprise visitor or two.  Not only will doing these things help you feel more relaxed but it will also make your guests more comfortable while they're in your home.

This first one is hard for the "unexpected guest" scenario but should be number one when it comes to expected or invited visitors--clean up!  While guests may make your home messy, it's always nice for them to be welcomed into a clean home.  The little things like a clean bathroom, dishes put away, fluffed pillows, and dusted furniture will immediately make them feel more comfortable in your home because a clean home is a welcoming home.  Since we all don't always keep a pristine home when it's just us, tidying up before guests arrive may be more difficult if the guest is unexpected so maybe the holidays is a good time to try to be more aware of the types of messes that are left.  Smaller messes are easier to clean up quickly when surprise visitors show up on your doorstep.

A good host always has food in her pantry to feed guests. Since we've already discussed that we don't always know when guests are going to arrive, try to keep some items in your pantry or freezer that will keep for a while but can be prepared quickly.  Quick meals like spaghetti or soup are easy comfort foods that can be made with little hassle if you need to feed your son's friends who show up from college a day early or the parent of one of your kid's playmates. Now, if you know guests are coming to stay for a little visit, you have more time to prepare and should be able to stock your pantry with the essentials.  Since everyone doesn't always wake up at the same time, it's nice to have quick and easy breakfast foods and snacks that guests can grab without bothering you about it.

You can also do these little things at the beginning of the holiday season to make preparation for any guests that might arrive and stay overnight--put clean sheets on the bed.  Maybe you haven't had guests in a few months and the sheets got a little stale.  Swap them out so that holiday guests have fresh sheets to sleep on.  The same thing goes for the towels in the guest bath.  Give the ones that have been sitting there un-used another wash just to fluff them up.  Place little conveniences in your guest bathroom--small bars of soap or travel size shampoos, so guest have the essentials available to them if they forgot something at home.

We love a cozy home filled with laughter and smiles so we hope these little tips will help make your holiday season more enjoyable!  Happy December 1st, everyone!