Turn your home into a comfy retreat
are those who believe that the Lord created company so the house would get
cleaned. If that’s true, then perhaps the house guest— a more
intensive form of “company” — was invented so the house would get
organized as well.
With the holidays fast
approaching, opening your home to far-flung family and friends can provide
a motivating deadline for putting your house in order — or at least the
guest room, which after months of disuse tends to become a dumping ground
for all kinds of messy miscellany.
Whether you have spacious guest
quarters or barely enough room for a folding cot, here are a few simple
steps you can take for organizing your “home hotel” to create
efficient yet comfortable accommodations.
Giving guests a good place to
rest requires more than just a bed and bedding. Most people also like to
have a bedside surface that can be used as a night stand to keep
eyeglasses, tissues or other necessities within easy reach. It’s smart
to choose something that can double as a storage unit for hiding away
whatever you might pile on the sofa bed during guest-free times. (Note: a
standard-size night table may be too high for lower guest beds such as
trundles and air mattresses.)
Here are a few examples:
• A stackable system,
such as the three-piece Media Storage Cabinet ($79; Target) consisting of
three cubes with sliding doors, is extremely versatile. You can
reconfigure the pieces depending on your needs. For your guests’
convenience, split up the unit into three separate stands: two for night
stands plus one to use as a luggage stand. After your visitors depart,
stack the components into a space-saving storage tower or use them in
• Storage stools combine
seating and storage functions at just the right height for guest night
stands The Bamboo Lattice Storage Stool ($89; The Container Store) has a
lift-off lid and ventilated sides, making it well-suited for use as a
hamper, too. The Rolling Storage Ottoman ($49; Linens ’n Things)
features easily accessible side-entry storage, and can be rolled wherever
it’s needed most.
• Magazine tables —
the kind with a flat surface above an area designed for storing
publications upright — are another perennially useful multipurpose
option. Small and unassuming, this type of table works well day-to-day
almost anywhere to keep your reading materials tidy, and then instantly
transforms into a guest night-stand. You can find attractive examples at
JCPenney ($69) and other department stores.
Unless you have an excess of
empty closet space (is there anyone who does?), providing a convenient
place for guests to store their clothing can present a daunting challenge.
Here are some simple solutions:
• Over-the-door hook units take
up minimal space, require no installation, and are handy for hanging
casual clothes as well as holding hanger-hung garments. You can find
reasonably priced examples at many home products retailers. Bed, Bath
& Beyond has several stylish versions, including one with six double
hooks that’s available in five different colors ($5).
• Removable hooks are
another solution, if utilizing the back of a door isn’t a desirable
option. You can stick 3-M Command Strips Removable Hooks on almost any
wall (approx. $3; available at most office supply outlets and home
improvement retailers). They come in a range of sizes and can hold varying
amounts of weight. If you don’t want to leave the hooks up after your
guests leave, the adhesive backing removes cleanly without damaging paint,
wallpaper or most other surfaces.
• Rolling garment racks are
not only ideal for guests, they’re also useful year-round for
drip-drying delicates or as a clothes valet when you’re laying out
clothing to pack for a trip. Target has an especially well-designed
version with three separate areas for easy storage of tops, pants and
shoes ($25). Kmart also has a good selection of rolling racks, including
the Corner Garment Rack Valet ($99), which makes efficient use of wasted
Unless you have the luxury of an
extra lavatory, sharing your facilities with guests can create chaos. But
by designating places for extra towels and toiletries, it’s possible to
minimize the clutter while making your visitors feel more at home.
Here are two economical ideas for
a more guest-friendly bathroom.
• Target’s collapsible
cherry-wood Towel Rack ($39) provides accessible storage for towels, has a
ventilated shelf for slippers and easily folds away when your hosting
duties are done.
• A compact rolling cart with
three wire shelves solves the problem of where your guests can stash their
toiletry kits and cosmetic cases for easy access. (3-Tier Cart, $6; Miles
Kimball Catalog, www.mileskimball.com
is founder of The Miracle Worker Organizing Service and author of
three books, including “Let Go of Clutter.” Her online advice column
is at www.MiracleOrganizing.com.