30 Things You Need To Do Before Houseguests Arrive

From swapping the shower curtain to readying the minibar

Peanut allergies, crippling fears of germs, abominable political views--houseguests can be full of surprises. Put your best self--and home--forward with these 30 preparedness to-dos. 


1. Buy fresh flowers“Why of course my home always looks this catalog.”

2. Buy an extra toothbrush or two. A favor to both parties, really.

3. Stow anything truly embarrassing. Translation: Fifty Shades of Grey.


4. But leave out some things that make your house look lived in. It’s OK to have a stack of newspapers and a big bag of dog food. Honest.

5. Wipe the ceiling-fan blades. When was the last time you did that? *shudders*

6. Clean out...then fill up the fridge. Out with the week-old leftovers, in with the premade gourmet snacks.

7. Gather guests’ dietary needs and allergies. Emergency-room visits should not be on the agenda.


8. Make space in the guest room closet. Your sister-in-law needs a place to hang that hideous rayon caftan.

9. Make a spare key. Their freedom = your freedom.

10. Investigate your couch cushions. They may be full of treasures, they may be full of horrors--either way, guests should be spared.

11. Dust your surfaces. Nobody likes that kind of bunny.


12. Make up the guest beds like a bossPaging Martha.

13. Leave plenty of extra towels (folded like a pro) at the foot of the guest bed. Paging Martha, Part 2.

14. Make sure the sink and dishwasher are empty. Seriously, how can so few people go through so many water glasses so quickly?

15. Replace dish and hand towels. Because you know you just used one to wipe off your mascara.

16. Replace your shower curtain liner. Mold-free is the way to be.

17. Clean inside the microwave. Week-old marinara? Not a good look.


18. Open the windows. Say no to stuffy living spaces.

19. Put fancy hand soap by the sink, and nice shampoo in the shower. The devil’s in the details.    

20. Dim the lights. Much like a flattering Instagram filter, warm, dim lighting will make your home look its prettiest.

21. Make your home’s quirks known ahead of time. Knowing how to jiggle the toilet handle just so is crucial intel.


22. Lay out one fancy-pants amenity. A bottle of water or freshly cleaned sleep mask will make you look like the classiest lady alive.

23. Prepare some fail-safe activities. Should conversation take a turn for the really, really awkward, it’s good to have some backups (movies! board games!) at the ready.

24. Buy an extra bag of ice. Because you know the ice cube tray will be empty in an hour.

25. Have filtered H2O at the ready. Sadly, not everyone likes the sulfurous taste of your well water.


26. Prepare thine cheeseboard. This one goes without saying.

27. Stock the minibar. Ditto.

28. Light a candle. Because you’re cozy and chic and could totally start a lifestyle blog.

29. Turn off the TV and put on some relaxing music. Don’t subject them to nine episodes of your kid’s Thomas show.

30. Put yourself together, too. It wasn’t effortless--but here’s to faking it.


Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.