5 (Helpful) Holiday Houseguest Hacks + Visa Gift Card Giveaway

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

This post is brought to you by Merry Maids. As always, thank you so much for supporting CNC!

This time of year, many of us are expecting guests. Maybe they’re staying for a few nights or just guests at a party you’re hosting. No matter the occasion, it’s important that your home is warm and welcoming. But, of course, as crazy as the holiday season can be, it’s not always easy to go the extra mile and have things in tip-top shape. I know we’ve definitely scrambled to get our house in order when guests are about to arrive. Holy hectic! That said, here are five expert “hacks” from Merry Maids that will help you– quickly and easily– prepare for holiday visitors and houseguests!

Holiday Houseguest Hacks

Organize the Chaos

Oh my gosh, does anyone else’s kitchen counters look like this by the end of the day?


It’s a constant struggle for our family, and I’m always looking for ways to organize and contain the chaos. Mail, bags, toys, daycare reports, receipts (one of my biggest pet peeves with Mal), clothing, water bottles, and snack cups always seem to have a mind of their own and take over every inch of our counter space. Before hiding them in drawers or closets, I’ll grab a decorative bin or box and keep them together. It’s almost like I add to my décor by organizing the chaos and creating the illusion of having a clutter-free home. I’ve also started to place a bin at the bottom of our stairs to wrangle random items that ultimately belong upstairs. At the end of the day, I carry it upstairs with me, so the clutter is out of the living spaces.

Literally Disconnect Your Rooms

Between TVs, gaming systems (why do we need two?), and cell phone chargers, there are cords coming out of every wall in our house, which makes things look more like a technology store instead of a home. Plus, looking at all of those (sometimes tangled) cords is stressful! Here’s a simple trick: Just go through each room and unplug the wires that aren’t necessary, like extra cell phone chargers, laptop cords, hair dryers, and electric toothbrushes. Doing this keeps wires out of sight and makes for a much cozier space.

Give the Floors a Once-Over… Just Once

With a toddler and a dog, it’s a constant struggle to keep our floors and carpets clean. The two of them track so much stuff inside! But, of course, squeaky-clean floors and freshly-vacuumed carpets really make a difference in how your home shows to your guests, so we always make sure to clean them (just once) before they arrive. Our floors are definitely highly trafficked areas and the pug fur just never stops shedding. Cleaning them in advance doesn’t save time, so I wait until the very last minute.


Deodorize Without Overdoing It

Scent is a powerful sense and having a clean-smelling home goes a long way. Before guests come over, we always take out the trash prior to them arriving and typically light some scented candles. We always have a bigger one on the countertop in the kitchen, so guests immediately smell it as soon as they walk in. Recently, though, in the spirit of the holidays, we started to create a naturally-delicious smelling fragrance right on our stovetop. Listen to this simple trick: Just add cinnamon sticks and a little vanilla extract to a pot of boiling water and your home will smell like the holidays in no time!


Prepare the Bathrooms

Obviously, when you have houseguests, you want your bathrooms to be clean and welcoming, so I like to make them a priority in my preparations. In addition to a candle in the kitchen, I light smaller candles in the bathrooms to keep them smelling fresh. I also make sure that everything is well-stocked– from the towels and hand soap to the toilet paper and shower products– so our guests are never without what they need. And to speed up the cleaning process, you can recruit the help of household products to clean troublesome places, like the toilet, while you sleep, so that cleaning takes minutes, not hours. Here’s a favorite little trick: Pour one cup of vinegar and one fizzy denture tablet into the bowl. Overnight, it will loosen up hard water deposits and be easier to clean, saving you time and elbow grease.


If you think you might want more help preparing your home for guests, the cleaning services from Merry Maids are just what you need! And right now, they’re offering a free refrigerator cleaning when you sign up for weekly or biweekly service. More details here!

Giveaway time!

Here’s your chance to win a $100 Visa gift card that you can use at Merry Maids or anywhere else you’d like!

To enter: Answer the question below and leave a comment on this blog post. I will randomly pick a winner on Friday! Good luck!

What’s your favorite hack when preparing for houseguests?

Be sure to follow Merry Maids on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter



  1. I get a box from costco that’s huge & throw all the random paper clutter from around my kitchen, like mail & magazines in it. Then the box goes hiding in my laundry room until i have time to sort it.

  2. I love to leave a little basket with travel size items in the guest room. Not really a hack, but a usually-welcome touch!

  3. I don’t know if it’s a “hack,” but I always put magazines in the guest room. I love reading different magazines when I visit people and it makes it feel a little like vacation. 🙂

  4. My favorite hack/thing for guests is probably having those things that most people forget available. So a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wipes, lotion etc. Most are just travel sizes but I think people really like having those available, just in case!

  5. As I grow as a hostess (being a 30 something not a 20 something) I learned that having nice bath towels ready for guests in their guest room is a nice treat vs. guests having to ask before they hop in the shower. I can’t wait to have my own house (vs apartment) and have a dedicated guest room!

  6. I have a basket that I put all of our papers and other lingering items in to keep them out of site until after the company has left, then we can work through them afterwards!

  7. Definitely baking before! Makes the house smell great and putting out brownies, cookies, a cake and a cheese plate is the easiest way to entertain for me!

  8. I am the worst host! We rarely have overnight guests but when we do I like to put a jar full of travel size items out in case they forgot something.

  9. I like to put out a basket with toothbrushes, toothpaste, face wash, and other essential toiletries that my guests might have forgotten to bring with them.

  10. De-cluttering is my number one hack! Even if I don’t have time to vacuum/dust/wipe mirrors/etc…making sure that all surfaces are de-cluttered makes everything feel cleaner!

  11. When guests are coming, I always meal prep extra breakfast options. So I’ll make a few savory and a few sweet options. And don’t forget lots of tea options!

  12. I always keep snacks sitting out and readily available in a variety of choices so people can munch as they seem fit!

  13. I always ask what type of food,drinks,snacks they like so I can at least have a few go-to items when they arrive. Also keeping the bathroom stocked with essentials is key. Having a clean house always felt welcoming to me so I go through the day before and make sure things are tidy and plug-in cinnamon room fresheners.

  14. Since we don’t wear shoes in our house, I have a pair of slippers ready for my grandpa to slide on as soon as he walks in the door for a visit. He knows they’re waiting for him & doesn’t have to worry about his feet getting cold when he visits!

  15. My hack is to keep certain rooms off limits and that’s where all the clutter gets shoved so I only have to clean half the place.

  16. I like to leave little soaps and toothpaste in the bathroom with their towels. It hopefully makes guests feel more at home.

  17. Putting myself in their shoes and treating them the way I would want to be treated as a guest. Not a hack, but that perspective often helps you improve the way you treat houseguests.

  18. I always ask what they’re favorite foods are or what’s something they would like for us to cook! That way I know they will feel more welcome and eating something that they enjoy rather than eating something they don’t like. I feel like a lot of times guests are hesitant to eat because they don’t want to eat all your food. But, when you have something on hand that they are guaranteed to like, they will feel more comfortable and enjoy the food! I don’t know if that’s a hack, but it’s always my first priority aside from cleaning up

  19. I just got a roomba, so I can vacuum and clean another room at the same time! I also always light my Scentsy to make the house smell good for guests.

  20. I like to use bins to put away stuff that I don’t really need at the moment and it’s just adding to the mess. I can store bins in the garage! Easy cleanup!

  21. I stuff everything in the closet. It’s a complete mess in there but the guests won’t know 🙂 I also light candles in the bathroom.

  22. My favorite houseguest hack is to light candles and freshen up the bathrooms by doing a quick cleaning and adding new hand towels.

  23. If guests are staying a few day, I leave a basket full of toiletries and pamphlets of things in the area that they may be interested in.

  24. My guests usually bring an incredibly nice ‘host’ gift, so I make sure that the bathroom / bedroom / kitchen are stocked with that particular individual(s) favorite items and scents! As someone who travels frequently for work, I’ve found that it’s the little things you miss when you’re away from home.

  25. I love these tips! Having house guests is always great motivation to really give your house that extra deep clean. My favorite tip is definitely the one about cleaning your floors once. I usually save that till the very end. I also love candles, makes your house smell good and just seem more cozy 🙂

    Happy Holidays!

  26. I leave out water bottles, advil and travel size tolietries in the bathroom. I also place extra blankets and pillow in the bedroom.

  27. I like to have snacks and drinks ready when people arrive. It seems like people, especially kids, are always ready for the nourishment

  28. My small(ish) apartment means guests are often sleeping on an air mattress. I try to make it as bed-like as possible with nice sheets, enough pillows/blankets, comforter etc. I also make sure to leave plenty of towels out and easily accessible, I know I hate feeling like I need to snoop/hunt down towels when I’m a guest.

  29. I leave a cute little woven basket in the guest room stocked with clean towels, an extra toothbrush, a few bottles of water, a granola bar, q tips, etc. Little things people might forget or feel odd asking for! Right when guests leave, I re-fill in preparation for the next guest! That way if my mom shows up to stay unexpectedly, it’s all ready 😉

  30. The hall closet is the throw-all. I stack up all the mail and newspapers and whatever else is sitting on the counters. A clean counter is everything–at least to me. I feel like the kitchen is our gathering place, and when I offer a drink, no one likes dealing with clutter, so the counter needs to be clean. It’s also a must to have my essential oil diffuser going.

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