Can you believe Thanksgiving is a little over a week away?  Where did this year go?  I’m still in shock it is November and the winter holidays are quickly approaching. Seriously, in disbelief that 2015 is coming to an end.  It doesn’t totally feel like it is supposed to be the winter holidays because it still has been pretty nice here in Chicago.  There’s no sign of snow, and we have played outside in sweatshirts the past few weeks.  I am by no means complaining, but usually I get in the holiday spirit when the weather takes a turn for the cold, and I have to bundle up to walk out our door.

This year, we are going to my parents for Thanksgiving.  We hosted Thanksgiving a few years ago, and have rotated the holiday ever since.  Now, some of you might be hosting Thanksgiving, or maybe other upcoming holidays at your home, which means things are about to get cray cray!  But don’t worry, because I am sharing my easy tips for getting yourself organized before, during, and after guests visit your home.  Whether you are hosting out-of-town guests, family, or just having lots of people over for meals, these tips will keep you organized AND make your home look fantastic!

Clean Your House

Nobody likes visiting a dirty house, even if it is just your family.  Now I’m not saying scrub the entire house-top to bottom, but at least clean the floors and counters that your guests will be using along with the bathroom.  It makes your guests feel like you made an effort to make them feel comfortable.

Clean Up Their Space

If you are having visitors stay in your home, make sure they have a place to keep their things.  Clear off the nightstand.  Empty the closet.  Freshen up their space so that it feels inviting and home-y.  Not only will it help your guests relax, but it will make them feel more at ease while they are staying with you.

Make Up Their Bed Before They Arrive

It always makes me feel welcome when I arrive for a visit and the host/hostess already has the bed made for me.  It makes me feel welcome and I always try to do that with my guests!  (And you don’t end up spending time doing boring tasks like making the bed, when all you really want to do is enjoy your visit!)

Have An Alarm Clock And Extension Cord Near Their Bed

I hate poking around in other people’s homes just to find an outlet to charge my things.  I want to make sure my guests have access to outlets and clocks.  Think as if you are the guest.  Do you like your phone to be near your bed at night?  Make sure there is an outlet or extension cord for their phone/tablet can be plugged in while they rest.  And make sure there are lights in the bedroom that work, so your guests aren’t walking into a dark room when it is time to go to bed.

Have Their Towels Out

I always place the extra towels in the guest bathroom before my guests arrive.  Our linen closet is right next to the kids rooms, so I hate having to try to tip-toe to get towels out when they are sleeping.  Yes, I know what you are thinking (just wait until the kids are up) but we always need towels when the kids are sleeping so I think it is better just to have them out ahead of time!  Plus, you will know if you have enough clean towels if you put them out ahead of time.

Have Extra Toiletries On Hand

I keep a bin full of extra toiletries just in case a guest forgets them.  Usually they are the ones I take from the hotel, but it’s just nice to have them on hand if you ever run into a bind.  I did have a girlfriend stay with me and around midnight we realized she forgot her toothbrush.  Good thing I had extras on hand!

Make A Grocery Run Before They Arrive

I think it’s always nice to have a fridge full of food when guests come.  You never know what kind of things will go on before you realize it is time to eat.  By having food on hand, it makes things easier for you to enjoy yourself instead of focusing on what to do for the next meal.

Have A List Of Restaurants And/Or Take-Out Menus On Hand

Another thing I like to do is have some take-out menus either saved in my iBooks library or have hard copies that I have hole-punched and placed on a ring.  If we decide we want to order in or go out, I have menus ready to go instead of having to Google search restaurant ideas!

Make A Plan

I also recommend making a plan before you have guests over.  Make a list of the meal you are going to make.  Create a game plan for tentative times you want things to happen.  Like, say, you eat around 6.  Then you can plan your meal around what time you want to eat.  Are you going to be doing place settings, or just have everyone sit where ever?  What about the kids and anyone with food allergies?  Try to think everything through before your guests arrive.

Menus Command Center

Now that your home is clean, your guest space is cleaned out, the bed is made, towels and toiletries are out, and your plan is set, it is time for the guests to arrive.  If family or friends are staying overnight, make sure to prep them for your morning routines, as visiting with kids can always be a challenge.  While your guests are visiting:

Continuing With My Normal Nighttime Routine

The easiest thing I’ve found to keep our home from bursting at the seams when we have guests visiting is to keep my normal nighttime routine.  We always put away the toys before the kids go to bed, run the dishwasher with dirty dishes, and pick up and put away any random item that was lying around the house.  This way we can start our day with a tidy house!

Making A Plan For The Following Day

I always want my guests to enjoy themselves, but seeing as we have two small kiddos, I want them to be aware that they wake up way too early for normal people’s liking.  With that said, I always like to have a tentative plan for the following day so we aren’t wasting time figuring out what to do instead of just going and doing it!  Maybe it’s a museum or out to lunch…we don’t have to stick to that schedule, but it gives us something to aim for the day.

Relax and Enjoy Myself

This is the most important part of having guests!  Just enjoy your time with your company.  They came to visit with you, so enjoy your time with them instead of feeling anxious/worried/concerned/you get the picture, that they aren’t having a good time.  I’ve found when I loosen up my rigid schedule when guests are around, I enjoy myself much more!

While it’s sad to see my guests leave, it’s nice to be able to get things back in order!  While I have kept myself organized throughout the visit, getting myself back to normal once my guests leaves is not such a cumbersome task.  But there are a few things I like to do to keep myself organized after my guests leave.


Go Through Rooms To Make Sure Guest Didn’t Forget Anything

I can’t even tell you how many times our guests have left things at our house.  Silly things like phone chargers or blue tooth ear pieces.  As they are leaving, I always make a quick run through to make sure they have everything, but sometimes a second look is in order!

Wash All Sheets And Towels

I always throw all the towels and sheets they used in the washer right after they leave.  This helps from laundry getting piled up.  My goal is to have all the bedding and towels put away before I go to bed on the night that my guests leave.  It is very helpful to do it all at once so I don’t have to deal with all the laundry the following day.

Get Room Back To Normal

Clean up the space and get it back to how it looked before your guests arrive.  For us, our guest room is our basement.  This is also another play room/family room.  When we have guests visit, we move all the toys to create a bedroom.  Once our guests leave, I put all the toys back to where they belong so the kids can play there again.


The last thing I try to do once my guests leave is to clean the spaces they used like the bathroom.  It just makes me feel like my home is put back together.  I try to do a big clean once the guests have left, but sometimes it takes a couple of days to get the time to do a good clean.

Getting Ready For Guests Checklist

I know that was a ton of information thrown at you, but I created a Getting Ready For Guests Checklist to keep you organized and ready to enjoy your time with any guest you might have coming to visit!  It’s a FREE PDF download for you to print and use to get ready for the holiday visitors.


Organizing & Decorating Tips to Save Your Sanity

Setting Expectations for Your Kids is Key to a Tidy House

Hey there!

Are you ready to declutter your life? 

It can be super overwhelming trying to tackle your entire home. But when you start small, you can make huge progress!

Take the burden off of you! And join the free Clear The Clutter Challenge.

The challenge is breaking up decluttering into small, manageable steps you can do to declutter your entire home with ease!

Ready To Get Your Home Organized Once And For All?

Use my easy-to-follow e-learning courses to walk you through organizing your family, your home, and your kids!

Live With Less Framework

The Live With Less Framework is a practical guide to owning less and living more. You will learn how to change your mindset so you can get rid of stuff without guilt, create action plans for physical areas of your home, and maintain order throughout your home with ease.

The Organized Kids Academy

The Organized Kids Academy is a comprehensive program that will guide your kids through five organizing projects and additional lessons to help them keep their spaces tidy. PLUS you will get access to videos that show you how to teach organizing skills to your children!! 

Virtual School Set-Up Masterclass

In this masterclass, ee cover how to set up seating options that aren't just at a desk! Yes, your kiddos need a desk space, but did you know that by providing them with 3-5 seating options, they are able to keep their focus for longer periods of time?? This is based on research for how students learn.

Latest from the Blog

I'm Jessica

I am a mom to two kiddos + a fur baby. I am wife to Ben. I enjoy coffee, gluten-free desserts, and sleeping in. And I am The Organized Mama. 

I help families make the every day more enjoyable with practical organizing, decorating, + diy tutorials to maintain order in your home!

As Seen In

better homes and gardens image
parents magazine logo logo
rachel ray logo
apartment therapy logo
the boston glove logo