5 Areas You Should Always Organize Before Guests Come Over

From the coat closet to your kitchen countertop, these are the spaces that need your attention before guests ring your doorbell.

Part of the fun of having a home you love is inviting your nearest and dearest over to enjoy it. Whether you're hosting a fancy dinner party with your in-laws or a casual brunch with friends, you probably want to tidy up before your guests arrive. Rather than stressing out about the whole house (take a deep breath: your guests are are unlikely to check if your spare bedroom has been vacuumed), focus on key traffic areas.

These include the obvious—the guest bathroom, the dining room, and the living room—and some other surprising spaces that could use some sprucing up. To learn more, we spoke to entertaining and organizing experts about the areas they always organize before guests ring their doorbell.

coats in closet with hand choosing one

The Coat Closet

When you open your door, you want guests to feel immediately welcome, says Kelly Snider, an author and event planning expert. While where you stash their jackets and coats might not seem like a big deal, having a dedicated space—complete with hangers!—demonstrates that you were prepared for their arrival.

Go the extra mile to reinforce that warmth: "Take the expected weather into consideration and include an area for wet garments, umbrellas, and even boots, hats, and gloves," she says. And make sure your closet is fully stocked. "The last thing you, as the host, want to be doing is searching your home for just one more hanger," says Snider.

Your Guest Bathroom

When you invite someone over to your home, you want them to stay awhile. And since you'll be filling them up with delicious snacks and beverages, they will likely make a trip or two to the powder room during their visit. Make sure this area is organized and clean, since you can all but guarantee your guests will see it at some point, says Virginia Frischkorn, an event planner and the founder of Partytrick.

Frischkorn recommends tidying up and placing loose odds and ends in a basket or cabinet. "Make sure guest towels and linens are folded and organized," she says. "Should your guests use a bathroom with a shower in the space, tidy up the bottles and shower accessories."

This doesn't necessarily apply if your best friend is stopping by to drop you off a coffee, but for planned events, your guest bathroom room should receive this extra level of care. As Frischkorn puts it, the tidiness of this space subtly sets the tone—and informs your guests' impression of you and your hosting style.

Modern white kitchen with an open cabinet for storing dishes and glasses

Your Fridge, Pantry, and Cabinets

After inviting friends to brunch, you created a menu and went grocery shopping. Now that you're back home, consider how you unpack everything into your fridge, pantry, and cabinets. According to Frischkorn, these are areas you might not think about organizing ahead of company, but you absolutely should give them a once-over—just in case. After all, you don't want your loved ones to open a cabinet and experience an ingredient landslide (or get a whiff of that unpleasant odor coming from your fridge).

There's another reason to keep your cabinets streamlined. "If there is a scenario where you may say, 'Wine glasses are in the cabinet next to the fridge,' you want to make it smooth and easy for your guests to find something," Frischkorn says.

Woman pouring pink sparkly wine (cava) in champagne glasses with forest fruit and mint leaf.
Lucy Lambriex / GETTY IMAGES

Your Home Bar

You have your guests' outerwear covered, so the natural next step is to offer them a refreshment—most likely something boozy, Snider says. If you're planning on pointing guests to your home bar (in lieu of offering them a prepared flute of Champagne), take a hard look at the area, says Snider.

Yes, you need to stock it with an appropriate selection of glassware, alcohol, non-alcoholic options, mixers, and even garnishes, but the space's surfaces, inner chambers, shelves, or cabinets should also be organized. A guest might go searching for a rocks glass at the end of the night—and you don't want them to be met with a torrent of collected paper drink coasters, mismatched glassware, and off-season party supplies when they do. This is especially important if you have a bar cart with exposed shelves, which don't hide much.

There's an in-the-moment benefit to culling and preparing your bar space, too. "Pre-slicing lime and lemon wedges and setting out olives for that perfect dirty martini mean you won't be searching for anything your guest might request," Snider says.

Anywhere You Know Guests Will Gather

During gatherings, most people seek out open living spaces in apartments and homes. This is often the space where the chef and host can interact with guests while they're still putting the finishing touches on dinner or refilling drinks. So, if you think your friends are going to keep you company in the kitchen (despite your best efforts to herd them into your dining room!), your countertops should be tidy, says Chantelle Malarkey, a lifestyle expert.

woman serving family a meal during at-home dinner party
Getty Images

When Malarkey hosts, she removes items that are not essential to the party from kitchen surfaces; leaving them just causes visual clutter and reduces counter space. "Rearranging allows for more countertop space so guests can mingle and place drinks or serving items," she says.

The same mentality should apply to spaces your guests will be if they're not in the kitchen. If they're likely to congregate in the living room ahead of the main meal, direct your organizing efforts there. And if the weather is nice? Don't forget about your backyard or patio.

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