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The Bare-Bones Hosting Checklist

Whether you're hosting a crowd for the holidays or just having a friend for the weekend, it's a good idea to prep your home before guests arrive. However, this does not mean you need to be putting together a gourmet spread and karate-chopping pillows (please don't ever do this; it's not a good look). I'm talking about these eight easy-to-execute basics that will make your guests feel at home in your home.

One: Make sure you have toilet paper. Ok, this may seem like an odd place to start, but there is nothing more awkward than a guest having to poke their head out of the bathroom and ask for more toilet paper. Be sure the holders are good to go but also place an extra roll or two in the bathrooms where guests can see them in case they need more. While you're at it, grab a few extra boxes of tissues for those winter sniffles.

Two: Refresh your towels. Keeping on the bathroom theme, be sure to replace hand towels with fresh ones and, if you'll have overnight guests, leave bath towels and wash cloths out where guests can find them easily. If you don't have a spot in your bathroom for these, I like to leave them on the guest bed. Are they crashing on the pullout? Put towels in a basket with other easily forgotten essentials (think: aspirin, a toothbrush, a nail file).

Three: Ask about dietary restrictions and preferences. Does your guest prefer almond milk in their morning coffee? Maybe someone is allergic to peanuts? It's best to ask up front before your guests get there. Being ready with the food and drink they prefer (and that won't have them breaking out in hives!) will make them instantly comfortable.

Four: Plug in some nightlights. For overnight guests, it can be disconcerting when trying to find the bathroom in the middle of the night or fumbling with the kitchen faucet at 2 a.m. for a drink of water. Help them find their way with light-sensing night lights that automatically come on in the dark. It's cheap, easy, and makes a world of difference.

Five: Consider the temp. You may be in heaven with your house set to 75 degrees, but your guest might be dying of heat stroke. On average people, tend to leave their homes at about 68 degrees in the winter. You don't need to stick to that but consider adjusting your thermostat to somewhere between 65-70 degrees, which will suit most folks.

Six: Layer up the bedding. Speaking of temperature, you never know if your overnight guest tends to run hot or cold at night, so layers are the way to go. Start with a fitted sheet and flat sheet, then add a cotton blanket, duvet, and a throw blanket. Guests will be able to adjust their sleeping situation so it works for them. And bonus, the bed will look super cozy and inviting!

Seven: We all need some WiFi. These days we can't live without our phones, but with all that scrolling it's easy to drain your battery, and cell plan, if you aren't on a WiFi network. Write or print out the network name and password and then frame it using a small, pretty tabletop frame. Guests won't have to ask you for the info and you won't have to try and memorize and repeat your crazy 20-digit password.

Eight: Always have snacks. Nothing ruins a party faster than a hangry guest! Plan to have something to nosh on right when guests walk in the door. I love a cheese board or a chip-and-dip situation, or you can go super low-maintenance with a simple bowl of popcorn. If you expect it was a particularly long travel day for the adults, then there's also nothing wrong with having a bottle of wine at the ready!

This post is part of my Holiday Entertaining Series. Stay tuned for more decorating tips, hosting ideas, and maybe a recipe or two!

Some product links in my posts may provide me with a commission upon purchase. This does not affect the cost to you, but is hugely helpful to me as a small business. I appreciate your support!


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Hi there! My name is Erin and I'm the owner of Erin Davis Design, a virtual interior design firm founded in 2017. Here on my blog I serve up tips for creating a home that's functional, beautiful, and right on budget. I hope you'll cozy up on your sofa and stay awhile! 

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