How to: Thanksgiving (part 4) Prepping for Guests

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Be sure to check out the rest of my "How to: Thanksgiving" series here! 

For Thanksgiving, you may very well have a mixture of overnight guests, and people just showing up for dinner.  Either way, there are a handful of things you can do now, to make everything run more smoothly on the big day.  You definitely don't want to be called away in the middle of prepping the turkey for the oven to go hunt down a spare roll of toilet paper!  :)


Last year I posted my "Complete Guide to Creating the Ultimate Guest Room."  While it's a bit of a read, there's tons of great ideas for making your overnight house guests feel welcomed. (And practically like they're staying at the Ritz-Carlton!)  Be sure to check it out!

Whether your guests will be staying a few hours or a few days, these ideas will make everyone's stay just a little nicer.


  • Clear off some space on your coat rack or in the coat closet so guests don't stand around awkwardly holding their coats and wondering what to do with them
  • If yours is a shoe-free home, like ours, a little sign is nice to remind guests to remove their shoes.  That way you're not constantly shouting across the kitchen for someone to go take their shoes off.  If you want to be really fancy, you could provide a basket of slippers for your guests to wear (and even take home as a little gift!)


Living Areas

  • Declutter.  I can't say this enough.  Having extra people in your home can make things feel smaller, tighter, and more chaotic (as wonderful as those guests are!), and extra clutter lying around makes it even more so. 
  • Games and Activities - set out a few games or activities for people not helping in the kitchen!  This not only encourages positive interaction and conversation, but some people might not be interested in watching football!  You could also leave out a few magazines for people that need a quiet break. (This also means less active entertaining for you!)


  • Clean out your refrigerator a few days before guests arrive.  They will be looking in your fridge!  Also, you'll probably need room for Thanksgiving leftovers.  
  • Before dinner guests arrive, empty the dishwasher and take out the trash!  This will make cleanup a breeze!
  • Having appetizers and drinks set out for your guests will keep them out of the kitchen while you cook.
  • For overnight guests, be sure they have access to snacks and drinks during the rest of their visit as well.


  • Plan a menu for the duration of their stay.  You can include "help yourself" items, as well as take out menus to restaurants in the area.  You may just find that you like menu-planning and you decide to keep it up year-round!
  • Stock up on staples - milk, eggs, bread, your guests' favorite treat or breakfast cereal, etc.  


  • Clean!!  If I could manage it, I'd do a deep clean on my guest bathroom right now and then lock it up until the first person arrives on Thanksgiving.  That way the chances of my boys destroying it before someone gets to see it in all its sparkling clean glory go way down.  :)  Whether you can clean and lock up your guest bathroom to wait for the guests, or you have to do a last minute wipe down the night before, be sure to start the day with a clean bathroom.
  • Toilet Paper - make sure to stock up on extra rolls, and have a few easily accessible for the poor soul in the bathroom that runs out!


  • On that note, keep a toilet plunger handy in the bathroom your guests will be using.  This helps avoid potential messes and embarrassment for your guests.  
  • Make sure to keep extra towels, washcloths, and toiletries on hand, especially for your overnight guests.  

Guest Room
Check out this post for more details and ideas on the guest room

  • Clean sheets and fresh towels are a must
  • Set out extra blankets and pillows to ensure your guests are comfortable.
  • Create a guest password for your wifi, and make it easily accessible for any of your guests.  You can use this cute printable if you want.  

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