Welcome guests to your clean, comfy, and accommodating home this holiday season. ATTRIBUTION: Photo by home thods (Flickr)

Are friends and family coming to visit for the holidays? If so, take the time to whip your house into shape. In addition to cleaning up, you’ll want to add a few special touches here and there to make your home feel cozy and inviting. If you plan to entertain overnight, consider where your guests will stay and what they’ll need. Be sure to start preparing early to minimize the stress that often builds during the busy holiday season!

Clean and Declutter Living Spaces

Start with a thorough cleaning and decluttering of the general living areas of your home where guests will spend most of their time. This typically includes the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Take a few moments to walk around your home and put things you no longer want or need in a box to sell or give away to charity. Sweep, vacuum, and wipe down tables and other surfaces.

Create Safe Walking Spaces

If you have small children or older guests coming to stay, make sure that entryways, hallways, and other tight walkways in the home are free of debris. This will help prevent injuries due to falls. If you are hosting overnight guests who may not be familiar with the layout of your home, consider adding nightlights throughout the house.

Prepare Sleeping Spaces

While you ideally want a spare bedroom for your guests, this is not always possible. Find a comfortable space for your guests to stay, whether it’s a guest room or a plush sofa bed or air mattress topped with warm blankets. Remember that not everyone has the same temperature preferences: Add a few extra blankets to the sleeping space in case your guests get chilly in the night.

Stock Up on Food and Toiletries

Depending on how many guests you are having over for the holidays, you may want to stock up on extra food and toiletries. Have snacks readily accessible, such as fresh fruit, crackers, and bottled water. If your guests have food allergies or diet restrictions, try to be as accommodating as possible. In a small basket in the bathroom, keep extra toiletries for your guests, including shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, cotton swabs, and razors.

Maintain Entryways in Hazardous Weather

If you live in an area that gets snow, make sure that the outside of your home is safe and accessible for guests. This means clearing snow from the driveway and walking paths. Do what you can to provide a safe place for guests to park their vehicles. Also, sprinkle ice melt on steps and walkways to minimize the risk of slip-and-fall injuries.

Provide Important Information

For your guests’ convenience, write down any important information they may need. Include the alarm code for your home if applicable, your Wi-Fi password, and any important phone numbers they may need during their stay.

Add Special Touches

Make the holidays a little more special for your guests by adding a few special touches. A vase of fresh flowers on their bedside table, a basket of holiday candies and treats on the dresser, or some high-quality spa products in the guest bathroom will make their stay even more enjoyable.