6 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.
There's nothing like filling a space with laughter from friends and family. Gathering with those we love 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.
READ THIS NEXT: 5 Things You Should Never Do When Hosting People in Your Living Room.
It's pretty common to kick off our shoes when we walk through the front door, but this looks messy and also is a falling hazard.
"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 the guests come over. Or, put out a shoe rack where guests can also feel welcome to put their own shoes.
Speaking of tripping hazards, kids' toys can pose just that.
"As a parent of a small child, I like to make sure that toys are tucked away and put into their allotted spaces," says Rachel Riederman, food stylist, photographer, and author of Once Upon a Rind in Hollywood. "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."
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.
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 also 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.
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We probably ran out and grabbed some last-minute groceries. Maybe we needed odds and ends for appetizers or had to stock up on soda water and limes for our cocktails. Make sure all those items aren't just sitting around on the counter when the guests arrive, especially those 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!" said Hartman Malarkey.
Mail and Papers
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. Riederman advises checking your fridge, too, in case anything sensitive is up there with a magnet.