With Indian Summer firmly here and the holidays quickly approaching, I’m betting you will be having at least one houseguest between now and New Year’s. Heck, you’ll probably BE a houseguest at some point as well. What can you do to make that go more smoothly and not derail your organizing plans? But what do visitors have to do with organizing?
Nothing messes up the fine aesthetic you’ve worked so hard to achieve like Cousin Johnny’s toys scattered in your kitchen; Aunt Linda’s curlers, lotions and potions scattered in your bathroom and dear sweet Uncle Bob’s muddy boots mucking up your entry way.
So what do you do? You make sure, you guessed it, that everything has a home. The trick is to fool your guests into being neat and clean…you don’t actually need to point out that they are messy, just kindly show them the space you made for them. Chances are, they will take the bait.
Much as the empty cabinets and vanities in hotel rooms are there to be filled and make you feel at home, providing a place for each of your visitor’s items will help them feel at home (and help you maintain your organized bliss). Even if you don’t have a spare bedroom and they are couch surfing, chances are there is still a shelf in the bathroom you could clear off, as well as one in the hall closet.
Some of the main considerations are:
A few hangers in a closet for their jackets and ironed shirts
A drawer for unmentionables
A spot in the bottom of a closet for their (now empty) suitcase or bag
An empty drawer or shelf in the bathroom for their toiletries
For bonus points:
Have a spare set of linens and towels that are just for guests…it alleviates the “oh S*** I haven’t had time to do laundry” moments (a bath towel, hand towel and 2 wash cloths plus a set of sheets should do the trick)
A spare pillow (not couch cushion) is also nice (and can be had for $4 at Target)
Fresh flowers and a candle (cliched but homey….think how stoked you’d be to walk into your guest room and see those! Most people seem to love vanilla, steer clear of allergy inducing florals)
Some refreshments and snacks that are just for them, OR a shelf in the fridge/kitchen cabinet if they are going to be staying with you for a while. It will give them a chance to shop for food and not eat all of yours!
If you’re going to be a (GREAT!) houseguest, please keep a few things in mind:
You’re staying in someone’s house, not a hotel..it is not okay to leave your crap everywhere! They are probably struggling to stay organized too.
If you have special dietary restrictions, it’s often best to bring your own food.
You may be a “shoes on” type of person staying with a “shoes off” person. Just keep your shoes off. Even if they tell you it’s ok. Really. They will love you for it.
A small hostess gift (under $10) makes hosts quite happy. Flowers, a candle, a bottle of wine…it doesn’t need to be fancy, and it should preferably be consumable…you don’t want to add to their clutter! When you accidentally track mud into their house, or cause their toilet to overflow, you’ll already have points in the bank and they won’t grumble as much! Promise.
Don’t pack too much. We are all guilty of packing at least 3 pairs of shoes and 5 tops more than we need. Don’t do it. Unless you’re visiting Auntie Elenas’s Chateau in the South of France, there probably won’t be room for your stuff. Just put those alligator sandals back. It’s snowing. You don’t need them.
Having a houseguest (or being one) can be be a blessing or a curse. Make it a blessing. Enjoy the time you spend with them, and if they are doing something that is annoying you and easily remedied, just tell them. Most of our loved ones really don’t annoy us on purpose and would love to be pointed in the right direction.
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