Oh the Holidays!

The holidays are here!  While some of us are giddy with excitement, others are gritting their teeth and hoping they can get through the stress. I recently did a guest spot on Fox News Colorado Springs and I wanted to share the link with you all!

I have listed a few of the tips below and added a few others.

Houseguests:

Just the word itself makes some of us cringe. But houseguests don’t have to mean stress. Helping your guests help themselves is the biggest stress reliever in this area. Leave out extra towels and toiletries so they don’t have to ask you for them. Show them around the kitchen and pantry. And if you have work or other commitments while they are visiting, make sure they know your schedule. It also helps to have a few things for them to do. Get a few movies, make a list of local attractions, or tell them where the good restaurants are. Most guests are happy to entertain themselves for a while if they know where to go.

Food:

If you are cooking large meals for the holidays, a little planning goes a long way. A few weeks out from your holiday meal, develop your menu so you can see everything you need. Anticipate the number of serving dishes you will need and if you need to buy or borrow anything, do this well ahead of time. Two weeks before the cooking day, buy all of the dry goods and non-perishables. This not only gets some of the shopping done, but it spreads out the spending so you don’t get hit with one giant grocery bill. The perishable items can be bought the week of the holiday. If your dinner guests are local, consider a potluck to cut down on the cooking and cleaning you will have to do. If you think you might be sending leftovers home, buy a few inexpensive Tupperware pieces or aluminum dishes to fill so that guests don’t have to worry about returning your dishes.

Gift Giving:

Holiday shopping can be fun, but when you have too much on your list, it can be expensive and time consuming. Consider doing a Secret Santa with extended family so that everyone has to buy only one gift for the group. This cuts down on spending, but has the added advantage of making sure everyone gets a truly special gift because everyone has more time and energy for the one present they have to buy. If you have a group of friends, forgo gift giving and instead, go out to dinner together or do another fun activity. Create ‘wishlists’ on Amazon or another internet site. These can be emailed to friends and family and it’s easy to create multiple lists for different family members. This is a great method for letting out-of-town relatives know what the kids would like. If you order gifts online, look for free shipping offers or coupons.

Travel:

If you are traveling during the holidays, make sure to allow plenty of time for any delays you may come across. If you are driving somewhere, pack plenty of snacks and activities to cut down on the stops you have to make. If you are flying, bring entertainment for the plane and make sure to take advantage of the outlets at the airport to charge any mobile devices you might use on the plane. If you are boarding animals while you are away, book early and prepare their vet records and necessities now. Since travel is so much more expensive during the holidays, find creative ways to cut down on costs. Look for restaurants with ‘kids eat free’ nights while you’re on the road. Book hotels that offer free breakfasts. Some airlines offer a discounted checked bag fee if you pay for baggage online at check-in.

With a little planning, you can focus less time on running around and more time on enjoying the holidays!

Guest Bathroom – Under the sink must haves

I recently reorganized underneath the sink in the guest room. It wasn’t a huge project, but it’s certainly worth mentioning. Here is the before photo:

It’s not a crazy amount of stuff, but there was still a lot goin’ on here and it needed some attention. Let’s take a tour, shall we?

-I already had the small, plastic organizer with 3 drawers so that got to stay.

In the drawers, I have all sorts of ‘extras’ for our guests: tissue and toothpaste in the bottom drawer, lotion in the middle drawer, and Q-tips and razors in the top. I also have a small hair dryer which I set on top of the organizer. I keep a couple other items in the shower (shampoo, etc), so between those things, I hope to have whatever a guest might forget. I think it’s important to make people comfortable in your home and one of the ways you can do that is by providing little things that they don’t expect, but might need and/or like.

I had also recently added my nifty plastic bag holder, which you can read about the creation of in my post here. Then I put the extra toilet paper in a plastic bin to make it easy to grab and also off of the cabinet floor. There are extra tissues behind the bag holder. It’s definitely important to always have these extras so no one gets left high and (not) dry. :)  There were also several magazines just thrown underneath there for storage so I put them in a file holder to corral them.

Please also note the handle in the back right corner:

That, my friends, is a plunger. Because where is the last place you want to be without a plunger? That’s right….someone else’s guest bathroom. So be a nice host and stock your guest bathroom with a plunger. Ours is also sitting on the lid of an old can so that it never actually touches the cabinet.

Here is the after photo!


Another thing to mention. This is a guest bathroom, but it’s also a bathroom we use regularly. We have items in there that I wanted to keep, but wanted to organize. So I took two bins for extra stuff. One is for vases, because this is the only place I could think of to store them. The other bin is for all the rest…lotion, dog shampoo, bathroom cleaners, etc. It’s a quick way to keep our stuff contained so that our guests still feel like it can be ‘their’ bathroom when they visit.

Almost every item is in some sort of bin or container. I like this because if I need to move things around, it’s manageable. If something ever happened with the pipes and I needed to get everything out, I would just have to pull out several containers instead of piles of smaller items. Everything is easy to get to, easy to restock and easy to clean.

I also shopped my own house for the container so I bought nothing! However, I took them out of an upstairs bathroom, so I won’t even show you what that looks like right now. The other bathrooms are works in progress and I will hopefully be sharing the outcomes shortly!

One more Before & After:

Guest Bathroom – Before

Guest Bathroom – After

It’s easy to make guests feel more at home when they visit by providing a few of these ‘extras’. It’s also so much nicer for my family to use this space when it’s so clean and organized.

How do you make your guests feel at home?

~Erin