One of the joys of the holidays is having company, especially when they come from out of town.

I was blessed this year to have had an unusually high number of house guests.

Of course, company can create a lot of extra work for the host or hostess. But it doesn’t have to.

Through experience and by listening to wiser friends, I have learned to make hosting overnight visitors as easy as possible. Here are a few tips:


Cleanliness is next to Godliness, but who am I kidding? That’s an aspiration way too high for me.

The key word is spot, as in spot clean.

When company’s coming, there are things that must be done, like putting clean sheets on the guest bed. Otherwise, fudge, fudge, fudge.

You can polish the chrome in the bathroom and the whole place looks clean. Cleaner, at least.

Same for the kitchen, but make sure the front of the refrigerator, dishwasher and stove are clean because that’s where it will show.

Keep paper plates and plastic cutlery on hand, just in case you don’t get the dishes done.

Burn candles. Or incense or scented tarts. Whatever. A clean smell is a smell that makes people think you cleaned.

Vacuum, but don’t bother to move the furniture. Are your guests going to move furniture?


Whatever it is, hide it. Jam your drawers and cabinets full of stuff you haven’t found a place for in your home, things like your high school diploma you never got around to hanging, clothes you haven’t worn in years and the extra toasters you received as wedding presents 20-plus years ago.

Don’t forget: There’s space under the beds, too.


Who has time to cook with all this cleaning and straightening?

Make it as easy as possible: rotisserie chicken, bagged salad, pudding cups — whatever your guest likes, only take the easy route.

The crowning touch is to transfer all your dishes from the grocery store containers to your own containers. Sure, it’s a little more work, what with the dishwashing, but it makes it taste (seem) like homemade.

Besides, you might get lucky and have a house guest considerate enough to volunteer to do dishes.

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