Practically speaking the holiday season stretches from Halloween to New Year’s Day. Depending on your point of view that is a whole lot of bliss or stress. I hope it’s mostly bliss but chances are it’s a combination.

Lots of demands are packed into a small amount of time: shopping, parties, baking, cooking, decorating and cleaning. Plus dealing with people you do not want to deal with and pleading with Grandparents to not buy the super deluxe indoor tent or 2000 piece building set that will just continually get dumped.

Taking the time now to declutter and organize can help calm the chaos of the holiday season. You do not need to do a whole house organizational job in the next week (we can work on that after the holidaysJ), but if you will be having guests in your home you want them to feel comfortable. It’s not comfortable to be surrounded by someone’s piles of stuff. Begin in a common area such as the kitchen by cleaning off the kitchen table and counters. Throw away the trash, recycle or shred (or burn) the junk mail. Put everything away in its proper place. Recycle those empty Amazon boxes in the corner. If you are unable to handle the stuff before guests arrive then store those piles somewhere out of sight but not out of mind. Let’s not move piles of clutter indefinitely. They need to be tackled.

Look at your home as if you were a stranger and focus on the areas where the guests will occupy (living room, guest room, kitchen and bathroom). If you have a big pile of footwear that includes soccer cleats, sandals and your favorite pumps inside the front door find new homes for them. You don’t want guests tripping as they walk into the house. Store off season footwear in a bin in the garage or basement or in bedroom closets if there is room. Have a place for guests to hang their coats (It’s a fabulous opportunity to sort through the hall closet to make room) and a spot to sit and take off their boots.

I know someone who keeps a basket of slippers by the door for her guests. They are inexpensive and can easily be laundered.

Make sure there is ample seating that is comfortable. Grandpa Joe can’t sit on a hard kitchen chair for hours.

If you are hosting overnight guests provide a clean spot to sleep and space to unpack. Clear off the guest room dresser and nightstand. Provide an extra blanket, especially if the temperature of your home is different than they are used to. Provide a set of towels and a spot to hang them after use. Command hooks on the back of a bedroom door are an excellent spot. Make sure they know where the extra toilet paper and toiletries are kept. Provide a stash of feminine products and a plunger too.

Even though you can navigate your home blindfolded, your guests can’t. Make sure your porch is well lit and you have a nightlight in the hall.

Create a coffee and tea station. Inquire before guests arrive what kind of sugar, sweetener, milk or creamer they prefer. Get out your cute homey mugs. Provide a snack station with assorted snacks.

Please remember your home does not need to be Pinterest worthy. Nor do you need to burden yourself with extra stress in attempt to make everything perfect. Provide comfort, warmth and love. That’s all your guests want anyhow