11 Tips to Host a Group of Overnight Guests

I enjoy having guests drop by without a lot of notice, and that happens often.

Surprise guests are easier because you don’t have to clean much ahead of time. They get what they get. It’s real-life living.

On Friday last week one of Doug’s work associates stopped by in the morning. (We live in a location that’s really convenient.) It was breakfast time so my kitchen was messy, but at least the kids were dressed, so I fixed him a scrambled egg and a few slices of fresh tomato, and they had a meeting at the breakfast table.

Later that afternoon my daughter invited a friend to play, and then in the evening we had some friends stop by and visit. The weekend would be busy because we planned to have a whole bunch of house guests on Saturday.

I don’t mind last-minute overnight guests either, like the time I met a traveling Chinese student and invited her to come stay with my family instead of at the youth hostel. She agreed she would like to, and it wasn’t so very unusual because this was when we lived in Florence and I met new people all the time. She got on the bus with me, pulling her wheeled suitcase behind her. I was surprised that she would be willing to stay at a stranger’s house, but I guess my two little kids made me look safe and trustworthy. Doug was not surprised when I showed up at the door with a two-night house guest. I am glad she stayed with us.

Planned guests take more work because you don’t have that excuse, “Oh, what a nice surprise to see you. Come on in.” You have to clean more ahead of time, and it’s especially hard when you have little kids who work against you to undo your cleaning efforts.

Planned overnight guests require even more planning efforts. I’ve lived in many apartments that I never had more than one or two house guests at the same time.

Last weekend was the first time we had so many people stay with us that the ratio of people to bathrooms was 12:1 and that, my friends, required careful planning.

In addition to the overnight group, I also hosted a brunch* that Saturday morning for thirty people. I was concerned that all of this would be too much to attempt to do on the last weekend before school started, but it worked out for the best. Hosting the brunch and the overnight guests on the same weekend, I only had to clean once. Also, we worked to straighten and put things away from the summer, so my house was really orderly when school started. Truthfully, my house has never been as organized as it was that Saturday morning.

I looked on google for “How to host a lot of house guests” but I could only find generic advice such as “Smile” and “Plan a menu,” and I needed more specific, concrete details.

If you ever find yourself in the situation of hosting a large group of people overnight, perhaps next Thanksgiving, here is what I learned that was very helpful:

11 Tips to Host a Group of Overnight Guests

1. Borrow air mattresses from neighbors. If guests are driving in, perhaps they can bring their own pillows.

2. Keep the kitchen counter clear. (It’s a work space, not a storage space.) You need enough space to prepare and serve meals assembly-line style.

3. At the end of every meal, you need to be thinking about the next meal. Load the dishwasher, run it, and empty it after every meal.

4. Stock extra toilet paper and make it easy to find.

5. Take your personal makeup and care items out of the bathroom so you can get yourself ready in a bedroom and leave the bathroom available.

6. Organize the medicine cabinet. Our guests needed: hydrocortisone, Tylenol, Neosporin, Band-aids, Benadryl, and rubbing alcohol.

7. Plan to go to the grocery store at least once (or even twice) for stuff you forgot or ran out of.

8. Store extra ice in an ice chest. I don’t put ice in my drinks, so it’s a mystery to me when other people consume ice frequently, but the ice maker in my refrigerator was not up to the challenge, and we ran out of ice early.

9. Plan tasks to delegate such as chopping vegetables or collapsing the air mattresses.

10. Create an hour of quiet downtime for yourself in the afternoon.

11. Share your menu plan and what time you will be serving meals so people know what to look forward to. Try to serve the final meal a little early since drivers will be ready to get on the road.

Our menu plan for large groups:

Saturday dinner: Taco salad which everyone could fix the way they like it. The meat was slow-cooked pork, marinated the night before and roasted all day in the crock pot. Toppings included chips, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, and salsa. This was a winner for both kids and adults.

Saturday snack: Homemade popcorn (with melted butter)

Sunday breakfast: I think a breakfast casserole would be the easiest, but with allergies, we opted for scrambled eggs, bananas, and choice of cereal (and I wanted to keep things simple since we had a big brunch the day before). To scramble a bunch of eggs at the same time, crack two dozen eggs into a pitcher, whisk them, add salt and pepper, and then pour a reasonable amount into the skillet when you’re ready.

Sunday lunch: Chili-topped baked potatoes. Bake the potatoes in the oven for at least two hours, so start them right after breakfast. The chili can be made ahead of time. The nice thing about this meal is it’s just one pot to clean.

Each meal had a variation for people with special diets. We made a pot of beans that could be used in place of beef, and we saved some leftovers from the previous nights’ meal.

*The brunch menu was Texas-style with steak and eggs, pinto beans, and slices of sugar kiss melon, which is sort of like a cantaloupe, but it’s going to be sweet and ripe every time so you won’t be disappointed.

What tips do you like to use when you need to host more people than usual?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Comments

  1. Robin from Frugal Family Times says:

    These are great tips, Rachel! I especially like the one about planning for an hour of quiet time for yourself. I am going to be more intentional about doing that one.

    Another tip I would add is to say yes when someone offers to bring something. A salad or a dessert is easy for a guest to bring (or pick up if they have a long journey) and takes so much pressure off the host.
    Robin from Frugal Family Times´s last post…DIY Frugal Bathroom Reno: Updating an Old Vanity

  2. I love the scrambled eggs in a pitcher tip!

    We do baked potato bar a lot too, at big family gatherings because of a few gluten-free folks. I make baked potatoes in the crockpot, then provide bowls of shredded cheese, onions, bacon, ground beef, broccoli,sour cream, etc, and people can dress up their potatoes however they like.

    And yep, the dishwasher tip is essential. Two weeks ago there were 13 of us at my parents’ house (um, yeah, that was just my immediate family, ha!) and we did three dishwasher loads in about 18 hours!
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…Survey Results: What You Want to See

  3. Mamabearjd says:

    I don’t get the ice thing either! I thought I was a freak until I saw that. Had to comment.

  4. I don’t get the ice thing either and would not have had a clue that our ice maker would not keep up! Thanks for that tip before we get a bunch. Hopefully, 2-3 at a time won’t require supplemental ice. Thanks for the menu tips. this is helpful just for planning for company.

  5. Thanks for this very helpful post, Rachel.
    Lots of useful tips!
    I was wonrdering: do you try and do some kind of dessert for any meals?

    • The brunch was a birthday party so we had cake. A lot of people I know have issues with sugar, so I focus more or the meal than dessert, and the sweet melon can work as a dessert substitute.

    • The brunch was for a birthday so we had cake. A lot of people I know have issues with sugar, so I tend to focus more on the meal than dessert, and sweet melon can work as a dessert substitute.

  6. We have frequently hosted large groups, often high school and college age young people. My life in this regard totally changed when I did the following in addition to your excellent advice:
    I make up a one-page sheet for each day of the gathering and post it in the kitchen. It includes the itinerary for the day, with leaving-the-house times in bold, the menu for each meal, and, most important, a section called “Give me a job!” where I list things like “Slice 4 red bell peppers into about 1/4″ wide strips for the fajitas.” Most jobs center around meal prep and clean-up and this column goes across from the menu listing with squiggly lines between the breakfast, lunch, and dinner jobs.

    Doing this was a breakthrough. Before, many times several of the visitors would ask how they could help, but I was so busy handling everything that it was hard to stop long enough to think how they COULD really be an effective helper. With my “day at a glance” sheet, I have taken time to think through ahead of time what will need to be done, and I find I have eager helpers right and left. Many a young person has left our house since then with new kitchen skills, proud and smiling, and I am left with more serenity and less exhaustion. Win-win!
    Lori @ In My Kitchen, In My Life´s last post…Savor Summer: 5 Ways, 5 Senses, 5 Minutes

  7. I don’t think I’ll ever have a 12 to 1 guest/bedroom scenario, but these are great tips even if you have 1 or 2 people.

    It does give you some interesting insight into the type of things people use every day. While I don’t necessarily benadryl or ice every day, someone else might.
    Jennie´s last post…Quiet Moments of Peace

  8. Overnight guests are a special challenge for us, as a large family. We are already making due with lots of people in a small space! Hospitality is a blessing, and I am grateful for these tips.
    Mooberry Farmwife´s last post…My Favorite Zucchini Bread Recipe

  9. Thank you for all your practical tips! Can I ask what the occasion for getting together was? For example, family getting together and hanging out? A special event in town? Some special recreation near you? We now live far from friends and family and would like to have a couple big group weekends. I have ideas for activities but am always open for more and any advice….

  10. So smart. We never have overnight guests, but I’m going to share this list with my friends who do. I especially like the one hour of downtime tip – as an introvert, I would be totally fried otherwise!
    Margo, Thrift at Home´s last post…I Had Forgotten

  11. Thanks for this great advice. Our family of four just moved into a new house that is about 1000 sq. ft. 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom. It’s in a very central location and we’ve been renovating it ourselves, so people stop by regularly. We love it, but it has been a challenge, too. I’m also trying to figure out what foods I can keep on hand to offer. Fortunately, we have family in town with large houses, so we would never need to host a large party of overnight houseguests.
    Michal´s last post…Glimpse of our Kitchen

  12. All very good tips.

    I haven’t had a large group all that often, but here are the lessons I learned:

    - I try hard to keep things simple, like Rachel did by having melon for dessert instead of baking. Or buy the large size of supermarket bakery cookies. You don’t have to make everything.
    - I offer some choice but not too much. It’s easier to make a large amount of two items than a smaller amount of a half dozen items.
    - I have a sandwich plate for at least one meal if there are no gluten issues.
    - If your get-togethers tend to include a lot of sitting between meals, guests likely won’t want or need heavy meals. Sometimes crackers and cheese with fruit on the side is enough.

  13. Great tips, Rachel! I live in a resort area where everyone just loves to visit, and one year I had only six weeks of NO company between Christmas and June, so I learned a lot. These are my rules: First, I don’t cook breakfast for anyone (because I don’t enjoy it and I love my company more if I don’t have to :)–I get lots of alternative foods that are easy to assemble, show them where everything is and tell them to help themselves and clean up after themselves. I also ask people to strip their beds when they leave, and no one objects. These two tips really help me enjoy my company so much more (plus the down time you recommend.)

    In addition, I have larger groups share chores if they are staying for extended periods. For many years, I had the nine members of my immediate family visiting over Christmas for 3 weeks, and I was working EVERY day during that period due to the holiday. Meals were going to do me in if I didn’t come up with something, and what I evolved was great fun, saved my sanity, and has been used in our family for large gatherings often since. I made pairings of guests, and each pair got to cook–and clean up–dinner for two nights during that period. I had menu options and food in the freezer, and wrote a humerous note that was on the fridge when everyone arrived that these were the house rules and they either had to assist or got to sleep in the woodshed. I paired unusual couples (my dad and a sis-in law, etc.) and assigned them to meals. It was a friend’s suggestion that the couple be responsible for BOTH the cooking and cleanup of each meal, and that really does work better for many reasons. Worked like a charm and we had a blast, plus no one felt guilty about being at my home for so long when they were assisting. In those days, I also gave each person a daily chore (one got dusting, one vacuuming, one the bathroom) though I’m not working so much now and wouldn’t feel that need. But with that many people, for that long, this technique was a lifesaver and great fun.

    Annie

    • Annie, so interesting about how you paired up people to do meals – it’s like having a necessary job AND entertainment all wrapped up in one!

    • I can totally see the logic behind the same people cooking and clearing. I always feel a little guilty if I make something requiring a lot of pots when someone else is on clean-up.

  14. One good tip I read recently was to line your rubbish (trash) bin with multiple bags. That way you can empty the bin and the next garbage bag is ready to go.

    • Excellent idea! My mom used to keep the extra bags in the bottom of the trash can but this works even better.

  15. Hey, thanks for the list! These are some good tips and, hey, I love lists anyway :D

    But actually you already taught me how to host people overnight. Seriously, a couple of years ago I would freak out when friends showed up unannounced. My house would be a mess and I would feel so ashamed.

    But nowadays that has all changed. My house looks a bit better, thanks to how you somehow make cleaning up sound like a fun activity. But ever better, my mind is at peace now. You taught me how to not obsess about trivial things like the state of my house. Life is about the good shit, and hosting friends is one of those good things life offers. So now, whenever a friend visits, I smile :D
    MissVindicat´s last post…My Story About Why I Love Whispering

  16. I love the idea about not letting the kitchen counter become a storage space. This drive me nuts when we have family in town! We also have a breakfast bar so that becomes a parking spot for everybody’s miscellaneous items too. I think I am going to make this a new rule :-)
    Hannah´s last post…Baby Number One vs. Baby Number Two

    • The hot spot in my house when I have guests is the mantle over the fireplace in the kitchen. I have to find a nice way to let people know that it cannot be the dumping ground.

  17. I love how this is so realistic! I tend to plan for the best-case scenario, not the one that’s actually going to happen. But I NEED to plan to go to the grocery store just for stuff I forgot, and for an hour of quiet downtime that I think I can get by without but really do very much need. Thanks for that, Rachel!
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy´s last post…Introducing Work Shift: How to Create a Better Blend of Work, Life, and Family

  18. vermontmommy says:

    This summer my son had LOTS of friends over during the week. I cannot even tell you how much stove top popcorn I made. It was healthy, filling, quick to make, and inexpensive. At one point I had gone to Costco and bought a big box of snack size chips for the kids that had braces (no popcorn with braces).

    When we have compnay in town I am all about a taco bar or a baked potato bar with chili. I have a great turkey chili recipe that I can cook in my crockpot. You are right that everyone can find something they like with all the ingredients.

    Lunches are usually sandwiches or a salad bar. Again, everyone is able to take something away that they like.

    For breakfast I will often make cinnamon rolls the night before and have them ready to pop in the oven in the morning. They are really quite easy to make and people are always impressed with them. I also cook our bacon all at once in the oven. It tastes great, clean up is a breeze, and you can cook a whole package at once. I will also make scramble eggs or have even put together a simple quiche. The nice thing about the quiche is I can put it in the oven and be done instead of standing at the stove cooking eggs for 30 minutes for everyone. I have salsa and avocados to ad if wanted.

    I know there are breakfast casseroles you can cook in your crockpot over night to have it ready in the morning. I don’t like doing this because the scent wakes me up on and off during the night and I just don’t sleep well.

    I painted part of our pantry door with chalkboard paint. I always write what our activities are for the day and what dinner will be.

    When we first moved here my husband’s old friends from school would stop by all the time. I was caught numerous times with no snacks. I finally started to always have cheese, salami, and crackers in our house. I even started to make cookie dough and would freeze it so I could just take a preformed ball and bake it them on the cookie sheet. I would also make “gourmet popcorn” by adding seasonings to the stove top popcorn. That was always a big hit.

  19. Thanks for yet another helpful post!

  20. Great tips. I am from a family of 8 kids and there are now 35 members in our immediate family. We all get together allot so I deal with large groups overnight frequently.

    One thing I would add is make certain you have empty plug in’s in each room for cell phones, curling iron’s (because the bathroom is full), etc. We now have extra plug in strips to pull out when company arrives because each room will need one.

    Also, clear off tops of dressers or make more space in closets so guests have a place to put their luggage (especially if there are kids sleeping on the floor). This happens at my in-laws and we hate to move her decorations but there is literally no room to step with air beds and sleeping bags so we cannot leave our bag on the floor. Minimal is much better.

    • We deliberately don’t have anything much in our small bedside chests, as my parents visit every month or so for a weekend or midweek break, and they use our bedroom. Mum doesn’t like to live out of her bag so she always unpacks, and having somewhere to store her things just helps them to not feel like they have to pack up every morning. The few things we keep in the there are in a basket so that I can pull it out and take it with me into the baby’s room where we sleep when they visit.

  21. These tips are great! I haven’t hosted large numbers, but I’ve done big meals. I have to list the steps for each part and work backwards from meal time so that I can intersperse all the steps and make sure I’m not unintentionally planning on doing 4 different things within 15 minutes or having a bunch of things in the oven at the same time that won’t all fit. usually I am stressed out for the 30 minutes that it takes me to work out my schedule, and then I’m calm because I’ve eliminated and rearranged as necessary and I know it will work. It’s only worth making an elaborate meal if people are going to be disappointed without it, but a meal centered on roast chicken or turkey can actually be a nice simple way to go. I like to start the bird in a very hot oven and turn the oven down to 250 when the bird reaches 120 or so inside. Because of the lower oven temperature, you have a good hour to 90 minutes when it’s perfect, and it doesn’t need to rest. If you do a salad or a stovetop dish as a side, you’re all set. I do the quiche thing too- I do a crustless one that contains flour, because those are pretty much foolproof, and mix up the ingredients and refrigerate airtight (in a container the same size as the ingredients, or in a bowl with plastic wrap sitting right on top of the liquid). I haven’t converted it to gluten free yet, but since it doesn’t need to rise, I suspect it’ll be a 1:1 by weight of rice flour or whatever I’ve got around.

  22. I appreciate your tips – very down to earth/practical (as are many in the comments).

  23. I saw this article title and thought “Oh, I live in an itty bitty apartment and hardly ever have overnight guests; I don’t need to read that.”

    Then I remember that my in-laws, sister-in-law, and her brand new baby will be here for Thanksgiving. While I’m nine months pregnant.

    Fastest I’ve ever bookmarked a page. ;)
    Michelle´s last post…FMF: Change

  24. I love that you kept your menu fairly simple. I make the mistake of making it too complicated and then not having time to enjoy my guests.

  25. oh goodness, bless you for thinking of all your guests first! And for devising a menu that allows for everyone to eat freely, even those with a food intolerance or an allergy. As a gluten-freer, I know how hard it can be.

    My tip, I always leave cups or mugs and a pitcher of water with lemon, or without, on the counter, or table so people can help themselves if they are so inclined. This way, they can feel helpful and “at home” casual, and I don’t need to pop up to get someone a beverage.

    Great list! I am stashing this one away somewhere safe. (P.S. would you mind reminding us readers of this post come Thanksgiving time? Just in case my safe stash is a little too safe and I forget. Thanks!)

  26. I love one or two guests but more than that begins to stress me out… next time we have a few people over I’ll definitely put these tips into action! Especially taking make-up out of the bathroom! I love some of the comment suggestions too… Like making different people responsible for different meals and keeping a jug of water available so as the host you don’t have to constantly be topping everyones glasses,x
    Fiona @ Everyday Spiritual Wisdom´s last post…Stupidly Hectic? Lesson 2

  27. I don’t usually host guests in my little apartment, but I really love the idea of the scrambled eggs in a pitcher, I’ll be using that idea in the future for sure! :)

  28. Thanks for all the tips! My boyfriend and I just moved into our first house with a guest room, so all my friends and family are visiting! It’s nice to have a list like this to get me prepped for all these guests since I’ve never had people staying at my home before. Thanks!
    Amanda´s last post…Salmon Cakes with Lemon Garlic Aioli

  29. Great list! Two things I would add (in relation to your item about taking your personal make-up/toiletries out of the bathroom) is to try to have a mirror in each room where guests are staying, even if it’s tiny, so they can also do their make-up, etc. in their room. Also, hooks on the wall or over the bathroom door for towels – it’s always aggravating when guests don’t have a place to hang towels and they end up on the floor or confused with someone else’s, then they use multiple towels unnecessarily!
    Kristin´s last post…It’s my birthday! 28 things to do while I’m 28

  30. Excellent list!

    Here are a few tips I’d add:
    -have some kind of easy snack available when guests arrive. Often our guests have pushed to make it to our home and haven’t had a chance to eat a meal. Cookies, cheese & crackers, fruit, or a veggie tray are good options.
    -have an idea in mind for where you’ll put everyone, but be willing to be flexible! Often families with kids will have a plan that will work better for their kids.
    -a ready stash of extra towels and wash cloths in the bathroom!
    -try to squeeze at least a few inches of hanging space in the closets for your guests to hang clothing.
    -set out disposable cups with names written on them at the beginning of their stay so that guests feel comfortable grabbing a drink without having to ask.

    And a question: How do you deal with all the bags and shoes, etc., from that many guests? When we have a houseful, I’m always tripping over stuff!
    Tamara´s last post…It’s a new day

  31. This is a recipe I’ve used multiple times in the past to make oven scrambled eggs for a large group: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/oven-scrambled-eggs/. The eggs stay really hot and you don’t have to spend a long time sweating in front of the range.

    Our family hosts large groups a LOT (at minumim every other week) and I’ve often wondered how much hosting you are able to do – especially the July No Spend Month. Not spending money and hosting don’t really go hand-in-hand.

    Another helpful thing I like to have available for guests is lots of fruit, chocolate chip cookies and homemade bread.

  32. This is going to be SO helpful when I have a whole troupe of in-laws in town for Christmas. Thank you for being my guinea pig!
    Lauren @ Gourmet Veggie Mama´s last post…Chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons

  33. ( .)(. ) O my goodness. Piping up from Curmudgeon Corner here, my entire JOB is hosting large groups of people very frequently and I would be sent screaming round the bend if I had to do it at home too. My family is scattered all over the globe, so there’s not much chance of it anyway.

    You all sound lovely, though. Have nice times.

  34. My mother has always hosted large parties and get togethers ever since I can remember. Some of the things that I have learned from her are…..

    1. In each bathroom put fresh towels and washclothes rolled up in a basket so guest can easily have access to them.

    2. For each meal always have a salad available and two to three different kinds of fruit. (Cut up watermelon,avacodo,tomatoes, melons,cucumber or grapes,etc…) This gives everyone something to eat even if they are not that hungry or not feeling well, they still feel included.

    3. Always reheat (in the microwave) all the leftovers from the previous meal. This gives extra options for everyone to choose from, it also prevents waste and frees up refrigerator space.

    4. If possible keep a separate area with ice and drinks besides the kitchen. My mom keeps a small refrigerator and ice chest with ice on her screened in porch by the pool.

    5. Keep a basket of snacks in the kitchen. (Little Debbie cakes, oatmeal cookies, cashews, nuts, etc..) Plus leave out some fruit (apples, grapes, etc..) for munchers.

    6. Put up card tables around the house and on the porch. Make sure that you purchase five to six packs of cards or Uno games, and have several board games available.

    7. Ask all driving guest to bring their pillow and favorite blanket. There is no way possible to store enough bedding for twenty people. Although my mom tries.

    8. Before the big crowd comes… make up several lasagna’s and freeze them. This would be a great meal to have without a lot of fuss, just add a salad, bread and some fruit.

    I could go on forever, but these are of the more common that come to mind.

  35. Does anyone have a tip for how to not let the counter become storage? My bar always gets buried under a mess of keys and phones. I tried putting out a basket once, but it wasn’t very popular.

  36. Take the stuff, put it away (lock up or hide it), and make them pay a penalty (cash or whatever) or do a chore to get it back! :) It has to be a little painful. My mom used to do that when we left our shoes around and it didn’t take us long to figure out there was a serious consequence, LOL.

  37. I cannot get over those elephants used as planters. They are so great! I’m going to attempt to replicate that. Wish me luck! YOu didn’t happen to get the elephants at a chain store did you? Maybe Cost Plus?

  38. Great tips here – in the comments sections too!

    I enjoyed reading this – often I am overwhelmed into paralysis with having people over so good to see it broken down into more manageable chunks.
    Anna´s last post…Budget bathroom makeover – the after (about time too!)

  39. I came across your blog today for the first time in a long time (I think I had originally seen it mentioned on Simple Mom?), and I am so glad I did!

    I love this post! You are right–when you google a topic like this you only get generic advice. So this is really helpful!

    May I ask how much space you are working with? We recently downsized from about 3,600 square feet with a guest room and two extra living spaces to about 2,000 square feet with no extra living spaces/rooms at all–we have our bedrooms (3 kids) and an eating area and a living room. I love this new house, and it is still plenty spacious, but my husband and I have found ourselves saying things like, “we probably can’t host everyone at our house *now*” meaning now that we are in this house.

    I come from a large family, though, and we have always just piled on top of each other! I think it’s a lot about perspective and expectations. Have you written on this? It’s always helpful to hear what other people think is “do-able.” :)

    I love all of these practical tips! I like to watch how other people host when I am at their house, and I take special note of those who are able to get things done around the house and in the kitchen while still interacting with their guests, making them feel welcome and not adopting a “martyr” complex. It seems that planning ahead is the best way to do this–you are working according to plan and so it appears to be a lot less work than it really is. You aren’t doing all the shopping and preparing and planning and decision making in front of your guests so it’s not a constant reminder to them that “I am doing a lot of work for you!!”

    Of course, like you said you still have to make a couple trips to the store. But I find that planning ahead and thinking through as many details beforehand as possible really helps. (I am not saying to be fake as tho it’s not any work at all or don’t accept help–but just thinking of them, making decisions ahead of time and welcoming them. This is all from trial-and-error, as I used to have very little done ahead of time when my family visited!)

    • The house I live in now has just over 2,000 square feet with one main living area. The guests were family and kids so they didn’t mind sharing rooms.

  40. These tips also work well for large families! *Especially* saving an hour of downtime for yourself in the afternoon.