Having guests come to your house or even stay the night is exciting and something many of us look forward to – but it can also be stressful as we do our best to make sure our homes are as welcoming and comforting as possible.

If you’re wondering where you’re best off focusing your attention, here are 8 things people tend to notice when they’re visiting.

8. Banish odors.

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Laura Bonucchi, director of interior design for Designed to SELL Homes, says you can’t always trust your own nose in these situations.

“Pay attention to the things you’ve gone nose blind to because you’re used to living in the house.”

This largely applies to pets, though if you’ve got little boys running around, your bathrooms are also a likely suspect.

7. Mop your floors.

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Bonucchi says that ideally, your guests should feel comfortable walking around without shoes on.

“There’s nothing worse than walking into the kitchen and feeling like you’re stepping on crumbs or something sticky.”

6. Clean out the fridge.

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Maeve Richmond, founder and coach of organizing company Maeve’s Method, says that visitors will look at your fridge with fresh eyes, so it’s worth it to toss rotten produce, wipe the shelves, and get rid of leftovers that have been shoved to the back.

“They’re things barely anyone things to do on a regular basis. It’s a great incentive to clean up the other parts of the shelf.”

5. Wipe down the bathroom.

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Richmond also thinks the bathroom is a great place to focus a good amount of energy.

“Houseguests are definitely going to notice bathrooms because they’re going to be using them. It’s a good opportunity to look and see what the bathroom looks like, because that’s an area people take for granted. It’s hard to look at a bathroom with fresh eyes on a day-to-day basis.”

Make sure your sink and toilet are clean, that there’s toilet paper, and a clean hand towel to boot.

4. Make drinks available.

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People are often hungry and/or thirsty when they arrive, so offering a drink and a light refreshment is always appreciated.

3. Offer fresh towels.

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A clean towel and washcloth are must-haves if people are spending the night. Let them know where to find them and where to put the dirties when they’re done, too, says Bonucchi.

“We need triggers in life. Tying the idea of new hand towels to guests is a good way to get a dirty job done that may be overlooked otherwise.”

2. Put on fresh sheets.

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Richmond thinks this is a big one.

“Houseguests definitely notice sheets. How could they not, because they’ll be sleeping on this?”

Fresh sheets that are free of rips and stains and fit well are important.

1. Clear off the table.

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With so many of us working from home at least part of the time now and family business taking more time than ever, most of us are letting our tables, bars, and other flat surfaces do double duty.

Richmond says that’s fine, but to relocate the mess if you’re having people over.

“So many people multiuse their table surfaces in life. The kitchen table is also used as a home office. Instead of going through the time to look at every bill and paper – talk about overwhelming! – pick a spot in your home to be the temporary home for those sorts of files. After guests are gone, put the papers back to their original spot so you don’t forget about the unfinished business.”


Ok, so now you know what’s most important to keep up with if company is on the way, and we’ve got some good news – there are 8 other things you can totally let slide, because no one is going to notice them anyway.

8. Don’t hide all the toys.

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Anyone who would spend the time at your house knows you have children so there’s no point in trying to have your home appear as if you don’t.

Bonucchi suggests picking one space for playtime and tidying all of the toys there before guests arrive.

“Of course children will continue to play and dump out toys, and there’s no stopping them from doing that because they’re living there too. Try and reign in the toys so they’re not all over the house.”

7. Don’t bother with your master bedroom.

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There’s really no reason guests should be in your master bedroom unless you’ve invited them, so spend you time elsewhere, says Bonucchi.

“It’s better to focus on the parts of the house that they’re going to spend the most time in.”

6. Don’t tidy your books.

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Whatever you’re currently reading and even your favorite magazines are fine to leave out, and according to Richmond, might even spark conversation.

“Guests, believe it or not, like to step into a home and see that things are real. To take away magazines and piles of books, you’re not representing who you are, and detracting from the experience of interacting with guests.”

5. Don’t complete all of your unfinished projects.

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Richmond says there’s no need to panic about everything that needs to be refreshed or redone before you have company, so leave your paintbrushes and tool bag in the garage.

“The idea of having houseguests can trigger a lot of things for people. It’s great it the idea of having guests is motivating to finishing a project, but it doesn’t make sense in terms of a short-term houseguest.”

If there’s anything truly faulty that you haven’t gotten to, just warn your guests about it and move on.

4. Don’t toss in an extra dust and vacuum.

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If you give your house a basic cleaning once a week but your guests are arriving mid-week, don’t toss in an extra round of chores. If your house is generally a clean and tidy space, no one is going to notice whether the dusting was done that day or not.

But, Richmond says, if your house isn’t typically the cleanest, guests are a great reason to change that.

“If you’re feeling uncertain or uncomfortable because you haven’t vacuumed or dusted in awhile, do these because it will make you as a host feel more comfortable in your home when guests arrive. But you shouldn’t go crazy. They’re not there for the house – they’re there for you.”

3. Don’t attend to every detail.

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Bonucchi says this is not the time to attack your baseboards or clean the windows – make sure the basics are covered and call it good.

“It’s not stressing out about those fine details. It’s overall paying attention to the common comforts that people expect when they’re staying somewhere.”

2. Don’t clean the mirror.

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As long as your mirrors aren’t sporting toothpaste splatter or other smears, there’s no need to worry if you don’t have time to wipe them down.

That said, if you do have time, Richmond says go ahead and do it.

“If it’s clean, no one will know it’s been cleaned, but they will be gifted with a sense that the house is brighter, lighter, and cleaner.”

1. Don’t buy new home goods.

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We all think about changing out our hand towels, soaps, shower curtains, and throw pillows now and again, but as long as your space is clean, Richmond says that other stuff can wait.

“Having people over is the number-one panic inducer for people when it comes to their homes.”

There you have it!

Happy hosting!