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11 Things You Should Put Away When Guests Come Over, Experts Say

If you want to be the host with the most, follow this easy advice.

Gathering with friends and family for dinner and drinks is one of life's greatest pleasures, and we want them to have the best possible visit when they're in our home. Preparing for company is usually about what we make available—great food, nice wine, and comfortable seating, to name a few—but it's also about what we don't have out that'll make their time more enjoyable. From potential tripping hazards to private papers, there are some items home experts say it's best to put away when guests come over.

RELATED: 6 Items You Should Always Have in Your Kitchen When Guests Come Over.


entrance hall, shoe, sport shoe, pair

It's pretty common to kick off our shoes when we walk through the front door, but, ultimately, it looks messy.

"Storing your shoes away not only makes your home look neater and more organized, but it can also help create a safer environment by reducing tripping hazards," says Virginia Frischkorn, founder of the party planning platform Partytrick.

Take a second to stash those shoes in a closet before guests come over. Even better, put out a shoe rack where guests can feel welcome to put their own shoes.

Bathroom toiletries

Toothbrush Left out in Bathroom

Your guests know you brush your teeth, wash your face, and put on deodorant, but that doesn't mean you need to keep these types of items out in the bathroom.

"If you find you're suddenly about to host, make sure you give your bathroom a quick sweep, returning toiletries back to their homes so the surfaces are once again clutter-free," suggests Laura Price, founder of The Home Organisation.

She adds that it's also a great time to check for any products that have run out and need to be thrown away or replaced—because while you'll want to stash away your razor, you may want to leave out nice hand soap and lotion for guests.

RELATED: The 6 Best Things to Ask Guests to Bring—If They Offer.


white hand unplugging charger from power strip

Between phones, tablets, and computers, we have cords everywhere. We may even keep a centralized charging station in our home with various chargers all organized in one place. This makes life easy for us but it takes up counter space when guests are over.

"It's absolutely easy to have charging stations accessible for everyday living, but when entertaining, quickly unplug and move to a drawer or room guests will not see to free up some space," says Chantelle Hartman Malarkey, an interior designer, home chef, and hosting aesthetic expert. This instantly makes your countertops look bigger and cleaner.


Pile of Unfolded Dirty clothes
Damian Lugowski / Shutterstock

We all do laundry, but there's no reason for it (clean or dirty) to be out when guests arrive.

"We often become blind to our regular household messes, including towels or dirty clothes on the bathroom floor," points out Katie Barton, the head of cleaning at

So, if you want your guests to feel welcome, she suggests throwing anything in a hamper or keeping it in a designated laundry room.

Dirty dishes

wet dishes things you should clean every day

Similar to laundry, dishes should always be done and put away before guests arrive. "A gunky stove or kitchen covered in dirty dishes is hard to overlook," notes Barton.

"Wash and dry all your dishes so your sink is looking clutter-free and clean—it'll also give you a chance to wipe off any watermarks and get your sink looking extra shiny," says Price.

In a pinch, you can also fill your dishwasher with any dirty dishes; just be sure it's tightly closed so no odors escape.

RELATED: I'm a Hospitality Expert and These Are the 5 Things I Put Out for Houseguests.

Mail and papers

Pile of Mail on a Desk {Secrets Your Mailman Knows}

Mail comes nearly every day, and we don't always have time to sort through all those bills and advertisements. "It's so easy to grab the mail and throw it on the kitchen counter," notes Hartman Malarkey.

But when guests arrive, that huge pile in their faces takes away from the gathering space. "Consider a mail bin… that can be located in a home office, side table, or even a drawer," adds Hartman Malarkey.

Much like we don't want our mail out and about for everyone to see, we don't want those sensitive documents out either. Whether we're working on bills or taxes, or have other private papers around, put them all away.

Rachel Riederman, food stylist, photographer, and author of Once Upon a Rind in Hollywood, advises checking your fridge, too, in case anything sensitive is up there with a magnet.

Too many pillows or blankets

Multiple different black and white patterned pillows resting on a white couch

Lots of pillows and blankets are great for a cozy night in, but when you have guests over, Barton says they can limit seating options.

"A few decorative pillows and throw blankets are acceptable, but if your couch is littered with your comforter, heating blanket, or an excess of pillows, you need to put it away before guests arrive," she advises.

RELATED: 6 Questions You Should Never Ask at a Dinner Party, Etiquette Experts Say.


A woman cleaning up toys from the living room floor – Yuri A / Shutterstock

Kids' toys can pose a major tripping hazard.

"As a parent of a small child, I like to make sure that toys are tucked away and put into their allotted spaces," says Riederman. "I am not trying to erase the fact that a small person who owns many toys lives here. I want to ensure my guests are free to move around the space without tripping over small objects."

Pet accessories

A basset hound puppy sleeping in his dog bed while cuddling a toy
sandra.zivkovic / Shutterstock

Our pets are our kids, too, and much like children, they have beds and toys that are going to create clutter and also be potential dangers.

"Removing pet beds or toys when guests come over not only improves the overall cleanliness of your home, but it provides a more polished, elevated appearance that may feel more welcoming to guests," says Frischkorn.

Storing these items and placing them out of sight also prevents any potential safety hazards such as tripping or choking if your guests have young children that may easily get into things.

RELATED: 5 Table Setting Rules You Can Forget, Etiquette Experts Say.


Happy senior man preparing healthy vegetable salad in kitchen, seasoning meal, smiling elderly gentleman in apron adding salt to bowl, enjoying cooking vegetarian food at home, free space

Running out to grab last-minute groceries is understandable. Maybe you needed odds and ends for appetizers or had to stock up on soda water and limes for our cocktails. However, make sure all those items aren't just sitting around on the counter when guests arrive, especially any perishables.

"This does take up space in the kitchen and visually makes it look more chaotic. Take a minute to put these items away and save that countertop space," says Hartman Malarkey.

Cleaning products

cleaning supplies, cleaning mistakes

Alice Moszczynski, an interior designer at Planner 5D, describes cleaning products as "another clutter creator" and says they can also pose "a safety hazard." That's why they should be stored out of reach of children or pets and away from any open food.

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