Hosting overnight guests doesn’t mean real life has to fall apart. Keeping up with the basics will help you enjoy all the special moments and celebrations while still providing a peaceful get-away for your visitors.
Having overnight guest can be so much fun for the entire family. There are often children to entertain your own kiddos (yes, please!) and loads of adult conversation that lasts long into the night (double-yes, please!).
There’s also a whole bunch of work involved in being a welcoming and gracious host. There are bathrooms to shine, food to buy, and children to beg to clean up their rooms.
And if it happens to be the holiday season that brings your guests to town, there are also decorations to hang, gifts to wrap, cookies to frost, and about a million other things filling your to-do list. There’s just a whole lot to do and experience and create.
So as much as you truly enjoy having those overnight guests to visit, and laugh, and hang out with, the mess and mayhem that come with all that good stuff might get just a little overwhelming. Or a lot overwhelming.
It can be very helpful to do a handful of things to keep “normal life” from completely slipping into the abyss of continual messes, never-ending laundry piles, and an always-full dish sink. That way you can truly enjoy your visitors and provide them with a (somewhat) peaceful home during their stay.
How to Keep the House Clean with Overnight Guests
1. Do one load of laundry most days.
As much as possible, throw a load of laundry into the washer every morning and try to complete the cycle of wash, dry, fold, and put-away before bedtime. Of course, some days won’t allow for all of that, but if you make an effort, even when you have company, you won’t have to worry about catching up on all the things once your guests go home.
2. Do the dishes every evening (or first thing in the morning).
Try not to go to bed with dishes covering every flat surface in the kitchen. But even if you can’t wash every single dish in the evening, at least try to finish up first thing in the morning. It will help you be diligent about keeping up with the dishes throughout the day if you’re starting things off with an empty sink and counter.
3. Tidy up the house every morning.
To keep the house from becoming an overwhelming mess, start every day by straightening up the main living areas, freshening up the bathrooms, and putting random clutter where it belongs. This isn’t about scrubbing or dusting. It’s simply making your home clean enough to feel comfortable for your family and any guests.
4. Accept help.
If your husband offers to clean the bathrooms or your guest offers to make a last minute grocery run, don’t be afraid to let them help you. While it can be a little humbling to admit that you can’t do it all, your friends and family will actually feel better knowing that they pitched in and lightened your load.
5. Clean out the refrigerator.
A messy refrigerator might seem like an odd thing to worry about when you’re busy doing all the things to prepare for overnight guests, but trying to shove lunchmeat or leftovers into the fridge is frustrating. And you’ll end up having to hunt for food and then stuff it back in again two or three times every single day.
6. Plan for every meal, plus some snacks.
Life will be much easier if you make a meal plan so you know what food needs prepped for the evening meal and what self-serve items to set out at lunch time. It’s also a good idea to know what you’ll give the kids when they come in hungry from a day of fun and games.
7. Create a detailed plan for making big meals.
If you’ll be serving a big meal (like for a holiday dinner), also write out a detailed plan for how and when to make each food item so it will all come together without a lot of guessing and stress. If you’re not sure how to do that, you can read all about how to make a menu and cooking schedule when planning for Thanksgiving or any other big meal.
8. Give yourself permission to relax.
When you’re entertaining a house full of people, it’s easy to do nothing but work, work, work. There’s just so much that needs done! Let yourself ignore the To Do List and simply sit and rest from time to time. Consider it a gift you’re giving yourself.
9. Begin each day with some time alone.
This just might be the most important time of the day, especially when there are dozens of tasks and activities that will need your attention. Fill up your tank by getting up a few minutes before the rest of the house so you can have some time alone. Drink something warm and just enjoy the quiet while you read or pray.