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Declutter And Dress Your Guest Room For The Holidays

Holidays bring with them all sorts of gifts, but the one that you never like to be surprised with is an unexpected houseguest. Make sure you’re prepared for anything – or anyone – by taking a few steps to declutter your guest room, and add some welcoming touches before company arrives.

Step 1 – Empty it out. A spare bedroom is often the catch-all for stuff in your home that has no place else to live. But your guests won’t feel relaxed surrounded by junk, so anything that doesn’t belong in the room should be removed. If you have trouble editing your belongings, just remember that anything stashed in there that you weren’t already missing, won’t be missed if it’s gone completely.

Even a spacious guest room can start to look like a thrift store if it’s crammed with more furniture than it can comfortably hold. Your guests won’t feel welcome if you put them in with the rest of your discarded items, so keep just what they’ll need: a bed, nightstand, comfy chair for reading or watching TV, and a small table that can be used as a vanity or writing desk.

Step 2 – Attack the surface clutter. Start with the night tables and sweep the tops for all tiny knick-knacks that have no purpose, tossing/donating/regifting as much as possible (be brutal!), and moving whatever you absolutely cannot part with to another room. A great tip for spaces that need to be tidied up quickly is to use trays on top of surfaces to collect your smaller items. When you need to convert the space for guests, you can easily stash the entire tray on a closet shelf, and return things to normal in just seconds when your company has left.

Step 3 – Attack the closet clutter. When your surfaces are clear, make room in the closet and place a few empty hangers to indicate that they are invited to unpack. If the dresser is full of your things, clear out at least the top drawer, so they don’t have to live out of their suitcase.

Step 4 – Freshen the room. Open a window to circulate some fresh air, change the bed linens, and you now have a clean stage to set for your guests’ upcoming stay. If necessary leave a bowl of vinegar in any room for 24 hours to remove any strong odors.

It’s the little things…

It doesn’t take much to make your guests feel special. Guest rooms are often used for multiple purposes, and you don’t want your guests to feel as if they’re intruding. Little touches let them know that room is intended just for them, and that sense of privacy will let them relax and feel at home. Try these tips for happy houseguests:

  • Don’t over crowd them. Add warmth through a few personal touches, such as a small display of photos in coordinating frames, but avoid bombarding your guests with a full gallery of your lifelong memories… this is their getaway, not yours!
  • Put together a welcome basket with mini toiletries, a new toothbrush, some guest soaps, and a fancy chocolate or other treats. Include a note with your Wi-Fi password and any other instructions they’ll need for their stay.
  • Leave fresh towels on the bed, tied with a ribbon. Add a yummy robe and spa slippers so they know they’re welcome to relax, and if you really want to impress, you can replace their washcloths with fresh ones each morning, before they wake up.
  • Make everything easy to find. Think of the little things they might need during their stay, and put them out in plain sight. A notebook and pen, tea or coffee, and an extra blanket or pillow, are items to consider having on hand.
  • Place fresh cut flowers on the nightstand, along with local magazines or guidebooks so your guests can see what they might like to explore in your city.

If you extend this authentic hospitality to your overnight guests, they’re sure to have an enjoyable and memorable visit. Please post your guest room photos to our Facebook page and inspire others with your ideas, or share your experiences in the comments below and tell us what your past hosts have done to make you feel welcomed. What’s the nicest thing you’ve experienced as a guest in someone else’s home?


Written by

Certified Professional Organizer®, Scott Roewer is founder of The Organizing Agency, a professional organization and productivity company devoted to teaching residential and business clients how to increase productivity, save money, and how to live a more organized and abundant life.

An award winning company, in 2013, The Organizing Agency was once again awarded the Angie’s List Super Service award, in 2012 the National Association of Professional Organizers recognized Scott with its top honor, the Founders’ Award, and later the same year, the U.S. Air Force commended his volunteerism, naming him Joint Base Andrews “Hometown Hero.” For more information on Scott’s team and how they can help you, contact the office online or call us directly at 202-249-8330.



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