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Maybe you decided not to do extensive remodels in the fall. Maybe now that guests are arriving soon, you are  second guessing your decision.

The truth is you don’t need to spend a fortune ripping up the kitchen or the bathroom. A lot of basic fixes and cleanups will make guests feel at home, especially when they stay a night or more. Another good technique is to think back to times when you were a guest in someone’s home. What did you like about that experience and what didn’t you like? Here are some suggestions to consider:

1 | Install outdoor lighting

Add simple path lights on the walkway to your home so that everyone can see where they’re going in the evenings. Remember to turn those lights on early if you’re setting a timer.

2 | Replace bulbs

Replace the light bulbs in outdoor lighting fixtures. Maybe install LEDs that will light the way, cost less and last forever.

3 | If your kitchen looks dated, make it sparkle

Clean the oven and refrigerator before guests arrive. Perhaps you need new dishes or a new coffeemaker for the big culinary extravaganza. If you need an individual appliance like a dishwasher or refrigerator, it will probably be possible to get one for Christmas, if not Thanksgiving.

4 |Think ahead about what to serve

Ask guests in advance if they have food allergies or things they avoid eating. What are their preferences for what to drink? This will make your guests feel extra welcome, and it will be one less thing to plan on your own.

5 | Luggage space

Buy low-cost luggage racks at a big box store or maybe an end-of-the-bed bench to use for suitcases in the guest room.

6 | Make it easy to stay

Empty some furniture and knickknacks out of the guest room so that visitors have places to put things and don’t feel too cramped and crowded. Clean out a closet or a drawer so they can have a place to hang clothes or fold them away. Fix any sticky closet doors or windows. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to wash the windows as well.

7 | Make it comfortable to stay

Offer guests some choices in pillows as well as extra blankets. Go out and buy new towels for the guest bathroom and remember to give guests two sets of towels.

8 | Make it fresh

Buy new sheets for the guest bedroom. Provide a new lamp or two for extra lighting and leave some flashlights or nightlights in the guest room.

9 | Make it open

Give guests a set of keys or the code for the alarm at your house if necessary so they can come and go when you’re not around. Give them computer and Internet access as well as teach them how to use your television set. Print out your Wi-Fi passcode for their phones and other devices and provide them with a charging station or electrical outlet for their electronic devices.

10 | Deep clean

Clean all the bathrooms carefully and leave some shampoo, soap and toiletries in the guest bath. Put glasses in that bathroom so guests can sip water should they get up at midnight or provide bottles of water.

11 | Easy access for all

If you have guests who are physically challenged in some way, you may be able to have grab bars installed in the bathtub or shower before they arrive. You can also buy a temporary ramp to use at the threshold of your front door for someone with a walker or wheelchair.

12 | Prepare for “winter weather”

You might think it’s getting cold outside here in Arizona. But your guests from other parts of the country may find that our winter weather is balmy. So buy new outdoor furniture if necessary. Maybe some benches so they can sit around the fire pit or fireplace under your dark and starry sky.

If this isn’t your first-time hosting guests for the holidays, you’ve probably already put some of these ideas on your to-do list. One of the most important things you cannot forget is to be sure you allow some time yourself to enjoy the holidays as well.


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