We’re just a few short days away from Thanksgiving –where did the time go?  Every year I promise myself that I’m going to be SO organized that I’ll just be kicking my feet up and reading a book at this time of year, and somehow that never happens!

While I wouldn’t encourage starting a huge DIY project right now (like the year I painted my kitchen the week of Thanksgiving!) there are plenty of small ways that you make your home organized and welcoming, both for your resident family members and your visitors.

Kirkland's Harvest Fall Decor http://bit.ly/2cW2zz3 | 11 Magnolia Lane

We live in North Carolina, and while we hardly ever see snow at this time of year it is chilly enough that I don’t want to spend lots of time outside beautifying the yard.  My leaf blower is my best friend when I’m expecting company –if the porch, walkway and driveway are clear of pine needles and leaves, things look so much better!  I also pull any frost-bitten plants out of containers or beds. Mums, pansies, and ivy tend to be hardy around here, so that’s what stays.

Front porch Christmas decor | 11 Magnolia Lane I also have a list of must-do items to accomplish inside my home before the holidays.

In the living room, I wash the white slipcovers on my sofa.  I’ve had slipcovered furniture for years and it has survived kids and pets.  I actually think white is the easiest color because it can be bleached.  Anyway, I like to start the holidays with crisp, clean slipcovers.

(affiliate links) Chair | Matching Sofa

I also like to add a few seasonal blankets and throw pillows to the family room. I’ll usually store them in a big basket next to the fireplace.  That way, guests can help themselves if it gets chilly.

Basket (similar)

If you have a fireplace, this is also a great time to make sure that it’s cleaned out and ready to go.  Be sure you have dry firewood on hand for a wood-burning fireplace, or light the pilot light in a gas one.

There’s nothing cozier than a crackling fire!

Last but not least, if you have carpets, this is a great time of year to schedule a cleaning.  To keep your carpets looking their best year-round, follow our carpet care tips.

Moving into the heart of the home, the kitchen always gets a workout during the holidays.

I try to keep a supply of grab-and-serve appetizers for guests who drop in or stay late.  Cheese and crackers, fruit, a jar of fig spread, and of course, beer and wine.  Visit {this post} on our blog for some easy and instant appetizer ideas.

Easy summer appetizers
Another easy way to keep things sane in the kitchen is to “make two and freeze one” for baking and even for some meals.  That way, you just pull goodies out of your freezer as you need them instead of staying stuck at the stove.

If you’re hosting guests at your home, consider setting up a coffee bar so that everyone can serve themselves at all hours of the morning. Or evening 😉  Not only is it a nice gesture, it will also save you valuable time.

French country kitchen with off-white cabinets and copper accents | 11 Magnolia Lane Prep your guest room and bathroom by freshening up your towels and linens. I tend to buy white because, like the slipcovers, I can bleach them to keep them clean.


Hotel-sized toiletries are a great addition to the bathroom.  I usually stash a bunch in a drawer so that guests can just grab whatever they need and feel right at home.

In the bedroom, I make sure that the bedding smells amazing by using {this} laundry detergent.  It’s pricey but totally worth it –I use it on all my sheets and towels.  Tip: cut it with unscented laundry detergent to make it last longer.

How to create an inviting guest room | 11 Magnolia Lane If your mattress needs a little help, try adding an inexpensive memory foam topper to make guests more comfortable.  And if your home doesn’t have a guest room (like mine), then you might want to invest in a really nice air mattress.  Your guests will thank you!

Finally, a hand-written welcome sign is an unexpected personal touch that will make your guests feel happy to be hosted by you for the holidays!

For more ideas on how to be a great host or hostess, visit {this} post over on our blog, 11 Magnolia Lane.  Happy holidays, and as always, thanks for stopping by!


Final New Christy headshot 2015

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