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Holiday Design & Organizing Tips: How to Make Room for Guests

Even if you’re a pro with organization hacks for small-space living, the holidays present a whole new set of challenges when it’s your turn to host—no matter the size of your home. Preparing for holiday guests can be daunting—whether it’s for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas. Maximize your space and check out these 14 home organization ideas to help you host your holiday party!

Prepare Guest Rooms

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If you’re hosting any holiday guests overnight, get your guest room ready and prep any area where people might be staying. Put fresh linens on spare beds and any air mattresses you’ve inflated for guests. Set out guest room must-haves like extra pillows, blankets, and comfort items like night lights. If possible, clean out a closet or some drawers so overnight guests have a place to unpack their belongings for extended stays.

Declutter Your Home

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When you’re hosting parties, it’s important to do some holiday home decluttering to get rid of items that take up too much room. Ensure major pathways and living areas are easily accessible. No matter if you decide to store, donate, or toss items, simply clearing out extra decor and furniture can make a huge difference when preparing for guests. However, now is not the time to clean out unused spaces. Make room where people will gather the most—like the kitchen and living room—then focus on post-holiday cleaning and decluttering the other areas of your home after your guests leave.

Tidy the Bathroom

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Before holiday guests arrive, organize your bathroom to prevent it from getting too crowded. Free up counter space by adding a utility cart where overnight guests can store their toiletries. This simple bathroom organization idea is perfect for keeping tissues, cotton swabs, and extra toiletries for anyone who wants to freshen up. If you don’t have room for a cart, ensure essentials like towels, toilet paper, and soap are within easy reach, so guests don’t have to hunt them down or ask you during your party.

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Prep Holiday Food Ahead of Time

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Cooking takes up space in your home and can also prevent you from fully enjoying the company of your Thanksgiving guests. The key to maximizing kitchen space and staying stress-free is prepping the food ahead of time. Assemble holiday charcuterie boards and appetizers, put drinks in coolers, and season the turkey the day before friends and family arrive. Then you can set out or reheat as much food as possible without the hassle of dirty dishes and food prep items taking up valuable counter space. Just be sure to take note of any food allergies or preferences your holiday guests have in advance to stock up on groceries and snacks that everyone can enjoy.

Embrace Minimalist Holiday Decor

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Whether you plan on making DIY holiday decorations or buying new items to fancy up your place, embracing minimalist home decor is a must when trying to maximize space! With minimalist decorating, you’ll be able to add a little holiday sparkle while also keeping tabletops, floor space, and counters clutter-free. Think twinkle lights in jars, pine garlands on banisters, or a small Christmas tree that fits comfortably in your living room or entryway. Other popular minimalist holiday decor ideas include fresh winter flowers like poinsettias, natural wreaths, and candles.

Go Vertical with Holiday Decor

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If you’re pressed for space, an easy decorating tip is to go vertical with your holiday decor. When tasked with holiday hosting, opt for decorations that celebrate the spirit of the season without eliminating any sitting or standing room for your guests. Try hanging mistletoe in doorways, adding string lights across the ceilings, or draping festive garland on banisters and mantels. When in doubt, think about hanging your Christmas, Hanukkah, or Thanksgiving decor rather than setting it down somewhere.

Utilize Every Corner

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Having all the holiday excitement take place in one small area can be overwhelming. Avoid congestion and awkward shuffling by designating certain areas in your home for different holiday activities and traditions. Turn your basement into a spot where kids can play board games and decorate gingerbread houses, or make your office the room where guests can set aside their Christmas or Hanukkah gifts!

Designate a Home Drop Zone

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As holiday guests arrive, your entryway can easily become cluttered with coats and scattered shoes. To create a clear path through the house and free up precious floor space, establish a drop zone. Add a coat rack, fasten a few hooks to the wall, and place a bench underneath as an attractive catch-all area for bags, gloves, hats, and boots. If you have a spare bedroom, closet, office, or flex room, another holiday organization tip is to convert this area into a coat room for your Christmas guests’ belongings.

Mix Up the Living Room Layout

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Arranging furniture to maximize space in your home for holiday gatherings might require some trial and error. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different room designs to find one that works. Swap a few coffee tables for storage ottomans to create more seating and add flat surfaces for games. Push couches and large chairs back along the walls to make room for a few folding tables and chairs. If you can, choose rounded furniture without sharp edges to prevent injuries and allow for more flow through the room when it gets crowded.

Get Creative with Seating

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One of the best ways to maximize limited space while family and friends are over for holiday celebrations is to take advantage of creative seating. Furniture items like storage ottomans, piano benches, and footstools are easy to move around and use as seats. If possible, make different seating areas by placing two or three chairs together for more intimate conversations with your Christmas guests. And place a few pillows, blankets, and poufs on the ground to create comfy seating for kids!

Assemble a Drink Station

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Setting up a station where guests can make or grab beverages is one of the best holiday home organization ideas. This way, no one can block essential pathways in your kitchen while trying to get a drink. Set up a bar cart or buffet table in a convenient space with decorative glasses, yummy mixers, an ice bucket, and fun garnishes. Fill a cooler with water, sodas, and juice boxes to sit nearby. Use your drink station as a place for a coffee maker, tea, mugs, and sugar for any overnight guests needing a morning boost, and add hot chocolate and other holiday drinks before your party guests arrive. Avoid placing your station near a doorway—instead, try arranging it against the wall in a less-used room, near areas where you’re serving food.

Try Buffet-Style Dining

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Not sure how to organize your home so you can seat everyone for holiday dinner? Rather than trying to squeeze more chairs around a table meant for six, consider going buffet-style with your holiday meal! Set up a few tables in different spots, such as the kitchen, dining room, and living room, with simple centerpieces. That way, party guests can grab food from the buffet and find a comfortable spot to eat without feeling cramped. Plus, unlike a lengthy table packed with people, this layout allows for easier conversation with those seated near you.

Opt for Tiered Platters

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Using tiered serving platters and baskets is an excellent dining room and kitchen holiday tip for serving appetizers, entrees, desserts, and snacks. By utilizing vertical space for holiday food displays, you can fit more food onto counters, dining tables, and kitchen islands. Not only does this look festive, but it’ll free up space for additional food prep. Tiered serving trays are the perfect addition as they work for both informal holiday gatherings and elevated parties alike!

Take the Holiday Party Outdoors

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Do you live in an area that stays warm during the winter holidays? Consider moving the party outside! Extending your gathering outdoors is a great way to give people more space to mingle and move. Set up your dinner table in the backyard, or use your apartment balcony as a bar area for your outdoor holiday. Utilizing your grill or slow cooker outside also frees up more kitchen and table space for other goodies. Not to mention, you can take advantage of decorating your backyard for more outdoor holiday decor!


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