Home Organization

5 Tips to Organize Your Guest Room & Welcome Your Visitors

5 tips to organize your guest room

Whether family is coming in for the holidays or a friend is just passing through town, it’s easy to embrace your hospitality skills and make your guest room warm and comforting.

1. Eliminate the clutter…

Sure, clutter says, “Hey, I’m at home in my mess, and I invite you to feel at home, too.” But there’s a difference between making things homey and letting it all hang out.

First, go area-by-area in your guest room to remove things that don’t serve your needs, or at least your needs for the guest room. Donate old toys and clothes that have been stored for too long, recycle out-of-date magazines, and relocate (or let go of) half-finished hobby projects.

Next, consider clearing out overly delicate, fiddly, or fragile items, or move them out of reach to minimize your guests’ worries they might knock something over.

2. …But don’t feel like your guest room has to be sparse.

Your guest room doesn’t have to have as much white space as a museum. If you use your guest room closet for a gift closet or to store your off-season clothing, there’s no reason to revamp. Just make sure that there’s adequate closet or drawer space for your guests to hang or store what they bring. Chances are, they won’t be staying longer than a week, so don’t overestimate how much space they’ll need. Three dresser drawers should do it.

Make sleeping the priority, and make the bed with fresh (and matching) sheets, blankets, comforters, and a bedspread. Invest in a few different types of pillows – down and foam – in case your guests have allergies.

3. Shed a little light on the subject.

Even if you have overhead lighting in your guest room, keep at least one bedside lamp for reading. (If your guest bedroom has a queen or king bed, opt for two lamps.)

Have a nightlight, preferably one with a light sensor or motion sensor, so it’s not necessary to turn it on or off.

Install blackout curtains or vertical blinds so your guests can luxuriate in darkness while sleeping.

4. Don’t make your guests guess.

Anticipate questions your guest may have. Print (and perhaps laminate) an index card with:

  • the Wi-Fi network name and password
  • your security alarm code (and how it works)
  • your address & landline number (in case they order pizza or must call 911)
  • the location and instructions for adjusting the thermostat
  • where to find extras (toilet paper, pillows, towels, blankets, aspirin)

Display a few small dishes or decorative trays so guests know where it’s safe to put jewelry, eyeglasses, and phones within easy reach.

Alarm clocks are still a nice touch. Many people below a certain age will use their cell phones, but it can be comforting in a strange space to have an alarm clock, preferably one that doesn’t tick noisily or glow too brightly.

5. Make your guest room homey, and then add the amenities of a spa.

Attach a full-length mirror to the back of the bedroom or bathroom door, or lean it against the wall.

Install over-the-door valet hooks or removable 3M Command hooks on the reverse of the bedroom or bathroom door to easily hang clothing or robes. Keep a variety of nice hangers in the closet. (Quoting Joan Crawford: “No more wire hangers!”)

Set out a tray with a few water glasses or coffee mugs so guests need not traipse to the kitchen for a drink of water. Consider filling a pretty glass carafe with ice water before bedtime.

Keep a small wastebasket with a new liner near the bed. If you think guests might be nervous about using a too-tidy basket, crumple up one small piece of paper and (like a grocery list) and toss it in, so your guest knows it’s not just for show.

On a desk or bedside table, create convenience for your guests.

  • Create a charging station for multiple gadgets with a multi-port USB hub/charger.
  • Pile some non-controversial books – a few cozy mysteries, a book of short stories – in case your guests can’t sleep.
  • Put out a box of tissues.
  • A few tourism brochures – you can usually pick them up at the mall or tourism office – help your guests think about what they might want to do while visiting.

In your guest bathroom, treat guests to a basket of extras: new toothbrushes, mini-toothpaste & mouthwash containers, floss, and tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer. Leave a hair dryer hanging from a small hook or handy in a tidy organizer.

Julie Bestry is a Chattanooga-based Certified Professional Organizer, speaker, and author who helps individuals and businesses save time and money, reduce stress, and increase productivity through new organizational skills and systems. For information on how Julie can turn your chaos into serenity, visit her at Best Results Organizing.



4 Pro Tips for Organizing Your Linen Closet

pro tips for organizing your linen closet

Moving into a new home gives you the opportunity to create successful systems from the start. One of the best ways to keep a household running smoothly is to have a well-stocked (but not over-stocked) linen closet.

1. Cut the Clutter

Minimize clutter and maximize your space by keeping only what you need and actually use. Review everything! Consider limiting the linen closet to towels and bedding before adding anything else. If possible, move cleaning rags and other supplies to the laundry room or bathroom cabinets.

Most households can make do with two complete sets of sheets per bed and two pillowcases for each pillow: one set for "wash" and one for "wear," with an extra “emergency” set for kids' beds. If your family prefers summer-weight and winter-weight sheets, having two sets per bed per season is fine, but if you’re short on space, you can store off-season items elsewhere in lidded tubs or nylon duffel bags.

Eliminate random extras like pillowcases that don't match any sheet sets or fitted sheets without flat mates. If you have more linens than you actually use, donate extras to charity. (Overly worn or stained towels can be donated to animal shelters.) Alternatively, stockpile excess towels and linens for future college or camp use in a lidded tub.

2. Divide and Conquer


Think of the closet in terms of zones, then sort by shelf – sheets on one level, towels on the next, etc., with short, tidy stacks for each item type. Tall stacks tumble, and tightly packed fibers don't breathe! If you have multiple bed sizes in your home, make separate stacks for sheets and blankets for twin, full, queen and/or king beds.

Keep matched sheet sets together. After laundering, fold matching fitted and flat sheets and pillowcases together. For guest room bedding, if you have the urge to get fancy, tie the entire set with inexpensive grosgrain ribbon, making a pretty package.

Sort and store towels by type (bath sheets, bath towels, hand towels, wash cloths, beach towels, and “pet” towels); only subdivide by color if you have the patience. The goal is to make your linen closet functional, not photo-ready.

If your closet is deep enough, and you need an abundance of items, take the extra minute to store freshly laundered towels at the back, and move back stacks forward. Rotating ensures even wear-and-tear. Again, if your closet is deep rather than high or wide, keep off-season items (like flannel sheets in summer, beach towels in winter) behind current everyday bedding; when seasons change, rotate the front and back stacks. Otherwise, store off-season items on a much higher (or lower) shelf so you’re using your “prime real estate” for what you access the most often.

3. Accommodate the Extras

If you will be keeping non-linens in the linen closet, sort by categories (like cosmetics, toiletries, gadgets, cleaning supplies, First Aid) and store in plastic dishpans; they'll easily slide forward like drawers but keep clutter from spreading. Be sure to keep chemicals out of the reach of little ones.

Store lightweight but cumbersome or infrequently used items (like extra comforters, quilts and pillows) on the highest shelves, preferably in zippered bags to protect them from humidity and allergens. See-through bags are best; label opaque ones so you don't forget what you own. Stock lesser-used items like vaporizers, and bulk supplies of bathroom and facial tissue, on the closet floor.

organized washcloths

Fold bath sheets and towels in half, and half again, and then in thirds, hand towels in thirds and then in half, and washcloths in quarters—then stack like items together. Folding each similarly sized towel the same makes more space. Match edges, and store with the folded (smooth) side facing out for a tidy look. If space is at a premium, roll smaller towels and stock them vertically, spa-style, in baskets.

Don't feel obligated to keep all bedding in the linen closet. Blankets used solely for forts and playtime can be stored in lidded tubs in the playroom; extra pillows can be piled on a guest room bed or on shelves in bedroom closets.

Tightly roll indoor (slumber-party) sleeping bags and tie them with extra-long shoelaces so you can store them vertically or horizontally on high shelves or the closet floor.

4. Make Time for Maintenance

Take a moment or two when you put your laundry away to straighten things up, and you won’t need to organize your linen closet very often. Keep a donation bin near your laundry room so worse-for-wear items won’t go back into the linen closet.

Label the front edges of shelves (with a label maker or masking tape) so everyone in the house knows how (and where) to put things away properly.

Store only lightweight items on the closet floor to make mopping or vacuuming the linen closet easier.

Julie Bestry is a Chattanooga-based Certified Professional Organizer, speaker, and author who helps individuals and businesses save time and money, reduce stress, and increase productivity through new organizational skills and systems. For information on how Julie can turn your chaos into serenity, visit her at Best Results Organizing.



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5 Mistakes People Make When Remodeling a Kitchen

The modern kitchen is the heart of the home. Whether it’s Saturday night or Tuesday morning, it’s the busiest room in your house (and has the heftiest price tag during a remodel). We asked Jackie Howard of Scarlett’s Cabinetry for her expert advice so that you won’t make these common remodel mistakes.

source: houzz

source: houzz

1. Forget the triangle – get in the zone!

Modern kitchens are bigger than ever so it’s helpful to think of “work zones” instead of the “triangle” design concept (keeping the stove, sink and refrigerator within 4-9 feet). Consider at least 2 prep areas, each with their own sink, disposal, and trash can. Large islands with lots of counter space or banquettes can multitask as seating or prep areas. Just be sure you have everything you need for your zone, like baking trays near the oven and skillets/spices near the stove. “My goal is always to design a kitchen to ensure there is ample space for everyone to join in and help prepare family meals,” says Jackie.

Related: How to Choose Tile for Your Home

source: houzz.com

source: houzz.com

2. Don’t overlook appliance innovations

“The new steam ovens allow you to cook fast and healthy – it’s the new ‘must have’ appliance,” says Jackie. Wolf has created one that can steam, bake, roast or slow cook. Combining steam and convection, it can defrost meat, perfectly roast ribs or steam cook an entire meal of fish, vegetables and rice. Also consider under counter refrigeration, which can be essential for keeping the work zone concept practical. You can store produce near a second sink for a salad/vegetable prep station, or drinks if room allows for a third bar area zone. 


source: houzz.com

source: houzz.com

3. Don’t keep the cabinets

If budget allows, you’re better to replace dated cabinets. At the very least, consider adding a few modern innovations such as appliance garages and mini pantries. Appliance garages allow you to keep things like your mixer, blender, microwave or coffee maker on the counter without visual clutter. Have the top of the “garage” be approximately your height with bi-fold doors so they’re not obtrusive when open. Mini pantries allow you to store things like olive oils, vinegars and spices near the stovetop. 

source: houzz.com

source: houzz.com

Related: 4 Tips on Choosing Fixture Finishes

4. Put the freezer on ice

“The freezer is the least used appliance in your kitchen and should not be in the middle of a major work triangle,” says Jackie. She recommends moving outside the kitchen, to an adjacent pantry or utility room. There are many refrigerator only options on the market that allow you to do a separate full-sized freezer elsewhere.


source: houzz.com

source: houzz.com

5. Don’t keep spices in the top drawer

While Jackie recommends keeping spices in a drawer for freshness, she likes to use a second drawer with tilted insert. “A top drawer is typically too shallow for the larger spice containers we use,” she says. “A middle, taller drawer allows various sizes to be stored together – even your baking powder and baking soda fit.” Some people also opt for a tall, pull-out drawer. 

source: houzz.com

source: houzz.com