Preparing for Guests & Travel [Organization #20]

Most people have a guest area in their homes. In your space, you may have a guest bedroom, a futon in your office, or a pull-out bed in your sofa. Whichever the case, it’s a good idea to have an area to keep supplies in the event of a surprise guest visit. This week in the Organized Life Series, we’re going to organize the Guest Space.

While gathering supplies to have on hand for guests, you’ll notice some overlap with supplies you keep on hand for travel. While organizing the Guest Space, we’re also going to create a space for travel supplies.



Start with the basics. Where will your guests sleep? If you have a bed for them, keep clean sheets on it. And if you have pets that can get into the room, keep an old sheet or drop cloth over the bed to keep it free of pet hair. For futons or sofa beds, have clean, folded sheets stored somewhere so that if guests arrive you can quickly make up a bed. Don’t forget the alarm clock or an extension cord for guests to charge their phones. Make sure guests can get to the bathroom or get a drink of water in the dark – think motion-sensing nightlight.

Now is a good time to check the condition of your linens and pillows. If there is any doubt, ask yourself how you would feel if you were the guest using them. Pretend you’re at a hotel. Would you complain or post a bad review?


Is there an obvious place for your guests to place their luggage? You can pick up a luggage rack for around $40 or build your own (get instructions from

For your traveling supplies, check the condition and sizes of your luggage. Consider 3 types of trips: road trips, airline trips where you check luggage, and trips where you only fly with carry-on luggage. Do you have a rolling suitcase to get through airports easily? Is your carry-on suitcase in good condition and sized to fit in overhead bins? Is your second carry-on bag sized to fit under the seat and in good condition? If you’re looking for a good quality tote, I purchased the LeSportsac Large Travel Tote several years ago. It’s expensive, but well-made. It has lots of pockets and squishes well under the seat on a plane.


Guests visiting for one night may work out of their bag, but guests coming for several days or weeks, or ones visiting for a special occasion may need hanging and drawer space. If you have a closet, make sure there is space for guests’ clothes. If you don’t have space, or don’t have a closet, place an over-the-door hanger somewhere convenient.


When guests need to use the bathroom, it should be clean, have fresh towels and washcloths, and have easy-to-find toilet paper. The trash can should also be clean and have a bag in it.


Sometimes guests might forget something. Keep a shoebox or some container handy to store:

  • Toothbrushes – like the ones the dentist gives you twice a year after cleanings
  • Toothpaste – also from the dentist
  • Floss – gotta love a good dentist
  • Shampoo – free samples or purchased from the travel section of your local department or drug store
  • Soap or Body Wash – sample or travel sized
  • Razors/shaving cream – one-time-use items are great
  • Deodorant – free samples or purchased
  • Lotions – you can often get free samples
  • Sunscreen – free samples or purchased

You will also need the sample-sized items listed above when you are traveling. For more travel-sized items, check out For premium shampoos and conditioners, check out Ulta. They often put coupon inserts in the local newspaper.


Make sure guests have your wi-fi password for their laptops/phones and can log onto the “guest” login on your desktop in case they need to print directions. Be prepared to share chargers with your guests if they forget them. Keep old Apple, USB, mini-USB, and micro-USB chargers around for this reason.

When traveling, do not forget chargers for your devices. It’s not a bad idea to purchase a spare charger online and keep it in your travel bag.

Location, Location

You need to decide where you want your “guest station” to reside. You may put a box under the guest bed. You may set aside a space in the hall linen closet.

If you have a guest room with a bed, it’s a great idea to store your luggage, extra sheets, and toiletries under the bed. It’s out of the way but easy to access. Things can also be stored under a futon. Towels and washcloths can be stored in the bathroom or in the linen closet. And do NOT use your guest room as storage, this can quickly become a bottomless pit of boxes.

If you only have a pull-out sofa and no real space for guests, you should set aside a little space under your bed or in a closet and keep all of the items together.

When Guests Are Coming

When you know guests are coming – run around in a mad rush cleaning the house. And in the process, make sure your guest area is stocked, clean and ready to go:

  • The bed needs made with clean sheets and blankets
  • Make sure there is an outlet near the bed for phone charging. If not, get an extension cord out for your guests.
  • Put guest towels and washcloths in the bathroom
  • Make sure the bathroom trash is empty and has a bag in it
  • Put a backup roll of toilet paper on the back of the toilet or somewhere guests don’t have to search. At the very least make sure backup rolls are under the sink since guests will check there.
  • Make the box of toiletries available for your guests. Make it pretty if you can.
  • Make clothes storage obvious – show them the luggage rack, clothes hangers, or available drawer space
  • Ensure that all electronics are working – lightbulbs, remote batteries, nightlights, alarm clock, etc.
  • Make sure there is tissue handy for runny noses or allergies
  • Make sure your guest knows how to get on your computer, your wi-fi, and how to contact you if you go separate ways.

When Guests Leave

As soon as your guests leave you should empty the trash and launder towels and sheets. Put them away as soon as they’re clean. If you use dryer sheets, leave the used dryer sheet with them to keep them smelling nice. Check the toiletries supply and purchase any missing items for your next guest or when you travel again.

Author: Steph

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