Having holiday guests over can be some of the most memorable, but stressful, times of the year.  Creating an easy checklist to follow will help make sure this time is as memorable as the last.  While a good basic clean up is always a good idea,  we came up with other fifty simple and affordable ways to prepare your home for holiday guests. Take a look at our list and download our checklist below:


  • Place a handwritten or typed welcome note on the foyer table for your guests to see as they walk in.
  • Have a special place where guests can place their shoes and coats.
  • Hang a nice sized mirror in the foyer for guests to check themselves before they exit.
  • Have a packet or list of local things to do and see on the foyer table.
  • Keep a bowl or jar full of mints near the front door.

Guest Room

  • Keep a chair or footrest in the guest room for luggage or to lay items out.
  • Make sure you have one or two available electrical outlets for phones.
  • In a drawer, have an extra phone charger, extension cord, flashlight, and note pad.
  • Place books, magazines or articles that your guests would like to read on the bed.
  • Have a handwritten welcome note on the bed with the WiFi password.
  • Consider placing fresh flowers or an indoor plant in the room.
  • Place an extra house key in the room and thoroughly explain how the alarm system works.
  • Keep a fan and humidifier in the closet.
  • Place a laundry basket in the closet and give your guests the opportunity to launder their clothes midway through their stay.
  • Have a wastebasket in both the guest room and bedroom.
  • Make sure there is ample natural or artificial light in the room.
  • Leave a sign-in book in the guest room as a fun way to remember their stay.
  • Sleep in your guest bed for one night to test the comfort level, add a foam topper if needed.
  • Keep extra pillows and blankets in the closet.
  • Clean sheets with unscented detergent.


  • Make sure there is a nightlight in the hallway to the bathroom.
  • Stock bathroom with ample toilet tissue, Kleenex, towels, face cloths, and a plunger.
  • Consider buying extra toiletries from the dollar store for guests to use in the bathroom.
  • Check the water pressure in the shower, tubs, and sink.
  • Have hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes available for counter or bathroom surfaces. 


  • Place flowers on the kitchen table.
  • Have fresh water, tea, and coffee available for guests to drink.
  • Ask guests for any dietary restrictions and have a meal list planned before guests arrive.
  • Have easy snacks or treats for guests to take throughout the day.
  • Consider make ahead meals such as breakfast casseroles, lasagna, or crock pot meals.
  • Cover slick floors with runners or area rugs to prevent slipping. 
  • Update any small kitchen appliances such as the coffee maker, microwave, or toaster if necessary. 
  • Keep the table set during guest’s stay to make mealtimes easier.


  • Clean off all outdoor tables, chairs and the deck floor.
  • If the weather is nice plan a day in the backyard with games, activities and maybe a bonfire.
  • Replace dying plants with seasonal or perennials before guests arrive.
  • Make sure outdoor lights work and show any pathways to and from the house.


  • Stock pantry with guest’s favorite foods and drinks and place them in marked areas for guests to take at any time.
  • Go through pantry items before guests arrive and donate any unused goods.
  • Have extra wine, beers and spirits available.

Living Room

  • Have the TV remotes in an easy to see place.
  • Keep throw blankets on or near the seating areas.
  • Have drink coasters out and plenty of napkins in a nearby drawer.
  • Put away any clutter or extraneous items that are unnecessary until your guests leave.

Extra Tips

  • Let your guests get settled in their room and then give them a tour of the house if they haven’t been there before.
  • Always allow for personal time throughout the day to rest and relax.
  • Ask for feedback about their stay and adjust any issues that arise.
  • Send a post-card to the guest’s home midway through their stay thanking them for the great memories together and inviting them back anytime.
  • Provide activities, movies and projects for kids to do throughout their stay.
  • Stay conscious of your guest’s wake and bedtimes and plan activities accordingly.
  • Be flexible and use this list to stay stress free throughout their stay


Download the printable checklist here:

50 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests


Written with care by:


Brianna Wielebnicki

Real Estate Agent for StartingPoint Realty


(630) 885-4663

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