Getting ready for early holiday company!

Where is Theresa and why is there no post?

I am running around the house like a crazy person trying to prepare for out-of-town relatives. We did a big pick up on Sunday, including an epic charge led by Michael on the playroom. He did an awesome job making the children clean! I got all the groceries last night – I swear it took four hours to buy and put away! And now I  have to clean! So I am doing bathrooms and sheets in the “guest room” (Rose’s room!) first and then cleaning the kitchen and floors! I just cleaned out the minivan for the airport pick up and swept the garage.

How do you get your house ready for company — are there things you at first, things you save until the end? Do you have a dedicated guest room or do the kids get thrown out of their rooms? (Poor Rose always gets booted. Walsh has bunk beds and Lilina has an antique toddler bed so Rose’s full bed is the best choice.)

What is your favorite part of hosting? (My favorite part is cooking for company and making special meals and treats.) How long are relatives welcome? (You know Benjamin Franklin’s old saying about fish and guests stink after three days.)

31 comments Add your comment

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 6th, 2011
1:07 pm

Lilina just dragged toilet paper through the dining room/office – nooooo!! pick that up!!!


December 6th, 2011
1:15 pm

Cleaning…hate it. Company coming…ohnoes, zomg, all the bathrooms need to be cleaned, the kitchen, the frig (what’s this? dunno, toss it), bed linens need to be laundered – and I suddenly notice a dozen things I’ve been meaning to do. Stress city.

OTOH – if we visit my mother, there’s a routine of guests helping to get everything ready, so she mostly directs the kitchen crew with the meal prep and the rest of us re-arrange furniture, fetch the chairs, set up the tables, set the table, open the wines and so on. All of this is done while chatting away and catching up on what everyone has been doing.

Work doesn’t always have to be done by the host/ess. One of my rels is a type where no one is allowed in the kitchen, and people offering to help is met with “No, no. You just relax.”.

I come from a large family where children were expect to peel the vegetables and in general help out and our mother was well used to delegating tasks. We don’t consider it a burden to pitch in. It’s considered the price of admission! ;-)


December 6th, 2011
1:22 pm

I love entertaining, and do it just about every weekend. The holidays are nothing different, just more people.

I have a dedicated guest room, two of the world’s most comfortable couches, and Hubs and I will give up our bed for a few nights if necessary. I have NO problem sleeping on my couch.

Everyone pitches in with cooking, and I just love a housefull of people……I love to cook for a crowd, and my kitchen is probably my favorite place in the entire house.

I don’t know who all is coming yet this year, but I can’t wait!!!

Oh and as for house cleaning… house stays clean, so I don’t have to worry about that.

E Harmony keeps matching me with fat chicks

December 6th, 2011
1:24 pm

I just give them directions to the nearest hotel.


December 6th, 2011
1:27 pm

Wait….One of those kids in your photo is a girl?



December 6th, 2011
2:19 pm

We have three “true” guest rooms and, worst case, we can always boot the son from his room. We no longer have “little ones” so cleaning isn’t the chore it once was and, of course, having the maid service once a week certainly helps! We are accustomed to hosting and having parties so the holidays doesn’t change much for us in this regard.


December 6th, 2011
2:19 pm

There are definitely some comments worth ignoring today.

We have a dedicated guest room and a bonus room with an air mattress but our son is still usually the one who gets kicked out of his bed and is made to sleep on the air mattress when we have more guests. I figure he’s young and his back can handle the air mattress.

I’ve gotten into the habit of putting stuff away before company comes (cleaning up my stack of mail, getting ALL the laundry done, etc.) but I save the mopping of the floors until after they leave! Seriously, why bother? But I have also learned that save one or two friends, my house is cleaner than most of my friends even on a bad day so I really try not to sweat it (of course I don’t have 3 younger kids either!)


December 6th, 2011
2:40 pm

My family doesn’t come to my house that much..They can’t drink, smoke or fight at my house, so that makes things pretty simple for cleaning..

Seriously, I don’t allow anyone to smoke or drink in my house, so in 19 years, only a couple of my family members have ever been to my house..I have a sister, brothers, nieces and nephews that can’t ever come to any family function without getting drunk and fighting..Not into that, so I go to where the gathering is at and when I’ve had enough, I leave..Or, as with Thanksgiving,I just don’t go..


December 6th, 2011
3:05 pm

Oh man, I just went through this all over the Thanksgiving holiday. I was hosting a baby shower for a close friend and not thinking ahead she scheduled it the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I had family coming into town as well as 3 full days of cooking for Tday and the cleaning and decorating for the shower. I have quite a large house and the interior is all tounge & groove which needs dusting quite often so by the time we had the shower, I was litterally drained and hurting all over my body. I use to love to entertain but lately it just doesn’t seem worth it. We have a full basement with 2 guest rooms and a full bath so at least no one has to give up their beds or bathroom. I think after what I went through this year though we’re just going to start going out of town for holidays.


December 6th, 2011
3:46 pm

Guess no one liked the topic I suggested at the end of the last blog…haha!

We do not have ( out of town) company very often at all. My sister comes out and spends time with us.

We also stay in a hotel when we visit with others as I do not want to impose on them. I cannot tolerate smoking or cats ( some family) , as I am allergic to both. Less expensive to stay in a hotel than to be sick for days after we get home. I cannot remember when is the last time we stayed with family. I even stay in a hotel when I visit my Dad.

Our house does not stay clean, even though my kids are at college. I grew up in a house that stayed clean but was not a fun house to live in. I prefer not to repeat it.

I just checked out at Publix and the young lady who was bagging was telling some stories about her family. She finished with, ” I loved my childhood!”
What a tribute to her parents. Wish I could say the same for mine. I would rather get run over by truck than re live that. That is one of many reasons why I do not fret a clean house. I do clean my house but am not obsessed about it. That is just the way it is. My husband did not grow up with a Mother who had a clean house and I grew up with OCD…literally. I have choices: be a drill sergeant or pick things up myself all the time. SO…we relax and clean up once a week throughly and really thoroughly when we have guests. We do have friends over but not to spend the night.

Our house is really not dirty but can get cluttered. I vacuum/sweep a few times each week and mop once a week. The kitchen/adjacent family room and guest bath plus our formal living and dining room are usually fine. It’s the upstairs and basement that can get messy. I am ready for a smaller house or condo and as soon as my two are through college, we will visit that idea.


December 6th, 2011
3:54 pm

Thank goodness for the cleaning service!!! I only do maintenance work in between. We do not have a dedicated guest room. And I never really have people staying overnight. I entertain all the time, but no overnight adult guests (my kids have sleepovers all the time).

K's Mom

December 6th, 2011
4:11 pm

I allow myself the luxury of a housekeeper once every 6 weeks to do the really hard stuff and I spot clean in between and I try to straighten a little at a time to make entertaining easy. I went crazy for my son’s baptism last spring and painted baseboards and mouldings, cleaned carpet and really deep cleaned. I was really thrilled with how our home looked!

We had just my parents for Thanksgiving and it was low key but I enjoyed using the good dishes, Waterford and the tablecloth the hubs gave me just prior to our wedding. I think if you keep on top of household chores there is no reason to stress because company is coming.


December 6th, 2011
4:19 pm

A question…what does a maid service cost once a week $100? What do they charge for a big clean $200? Now that I am getting older and achy, I may need to splurge. I cannot fathom spending $200-$400 per month for a maid service but that is just me. I would rather go on a vacation a few times per year for $2400-$4800 than live in a house that is spotless…again maybe just me.

K's mom

December 6th, 2011
4:23 pm

@MJG, we have a medium sized home and my housekeeper charges $75 every 4-6 weeks for deep clean (baths, floors, dusting, kitchen, vaccuuming and more). I think that is very reasonable and she takes direction really well. She is her own boss, not part of a service so that may keep her rates down.

I am not old, but I have severe endometriosis and have had 5 surgeries in 6 years with another c-section coming up. Plus I chase an 18 month old all day, most days. My body aches easily so this is the best gift I give myself since I really like a very clean house.


December 6th, 2011
5:12 pm

@MJG, I pay $12 per hour and she comes three afternoons per week. She helps with anything I ask. In addition to normal cleaning (floors, dusting, bathrooms) she cleans the fridge, pantry, straightens closets, laundry, runs errands, etc. I leave a list and she does everything on the list plus extra items she runs across that need doing. She is a blessing.


December 6th, 2011
5:35 pm

Are either of your two near MOG Gwinnett? I would be thrilled to pay $15 per hour and have someone every other week for 3-4 hours, just to catch up on a few things! Some weeks, I am not home most of the week. This would certainly be in my budget. My neighbor had someone who charged her $120 and that is not in my budget. We have 4 bdr and 3 baths but do not use most if it since the kids are gone! Keep me posted and maybe TWG can hook us up!

K's Mom

December 6th, 2011
5:47 pm

I think my lady is too far from you. She lives in Cherokee and comes to Sandy Springs. I can check with her to see if she would be interested or if she knows of anyone.


December 6th, 2011
6:39 pm

I agree with MJG – I always book a hotel room. I am too old to be sleeping in someone’s kid’s room. or on a lumpy couch. I like to get up when I want, not wait in line to use the bathroom, and not worry about how I am dressed. I wish my relatives would do the same, but they tend to stay with us. We have fun, but I do impose a 3-night limit. I am way too busy to tend to guests. I have 1000000s of hotel miles, so it is never an expense for them.

Teresa, if I recall, you always go on and on and on and on about how much work it is to have guests, and how no one every helps… maybe you should try things another way. Honestly, once you get into your 40s, if you have enough $$ to travel, spend a little more on a hotel. Problem solved.


December 6th, 2011
7:34 pm

My house is always clean. I have never had to “run around” and clean before anyone comes over…for a quick visit or an overnight stay. I don’t even understand the concept of my house being dirty like that.

We have a guest room…I keep a fitted sheet on the bed and a blanket over it but the sheets/blankets that are used for guests stay in the closet until we have company.


December 6th, 2011
9:29 pm

In the past when I lived in Atlanta, I didn’t have many house guests, but now that I’m in St. Pete, Fl, I expect more visitors.

This is a two bedroom house and with only one bathroom (another is in the garage, strange in my opinion, but common here.) I adhere to the custom that the guest gets the best the “house” has to offer; so while the bathroom must be shared, the queen bed is comfortable, and the room is kept in a constant state of readiness, i.e. clean, with plenty of closet space and my best towels. No where in Pinellas Co is far from the water, so I give a key to my guests and I let them do what they want. We’re all adults, but I’m ready to show them the sites, if they ask my advise.


December 6th, 2011
10:21 pm

I am with you! I have been frantically cleaning house for out-of-town guests all week. Like someone said above, I start to notice all kinds of ‘projects’ that need to be done when I get started. It is very stressful, to be honest, but I would not tell my husbands family that they could not stay with us, so I chalk it up to one of those things I just get through and move on….

BTW, I think having young children makes a big difference! It is so much harder to keep your house clean when your children are small! I am constantly getting one room clean only to turn around and see another that is messy. Mine are getting to the age where they can help more though, so Im hoping it will get easier…


December 7th, 2011
5:41 am

@MJG, sorry I’m not close enought to MOG for mine to help you. If you ask around locally I’m sure you can find someone for a reasonable rate (you could also place an ad in the local paper, indicating what you are willing to pay, kind of a pain but just a thought). My neigbor pays $125 for about 4 hours work. So as you can see, rates vary greatly, I’m paying $12 per hour and she’s paying $31.25. And, my lady does a much better job than my neighbors.


December 7th, 2011
6:45 am

A clean house is very important to me.. but since my husband and I both work, we pay someone to come in every two weeks to do deep cleaning. The rest is covered by a chore chart. I pay $90 every two weeks but we go without in many other places. I could care less about cable so that is a bill we don’t have. We also have pay as you go cell phones. Cost us about $100 per year for both phones. For me, it is nice to have a clean home and I don’t have the time to do the cleaning I would like on it. Plus there is something to coming home to every room clean instead of getting one room at a time clean before the kids trash the next one.


December 7th, 2011
7:28 am

@ GTmom…yes, it is about priorities! My husband would die if we did not have cable ( not me) and we must have cell phones, as I travel all over the metro and the US and he is in the traffic each day for 2 hours plus we have two in college. Guess I will go with a house that is not always clean! A chore chart is not something he would aspire to ( haha,,,I know you meant your kids). He did not grow up in a clean house and does not realize that it is a daily effort to live in one. My mom was a drill sergeant and we had a clean house and chores too. She had us cleaning the entire house and she only did the master bed and bath. We were yanked out of a sound sleep, in bed, if we did not do things correctly. I chose not to repeat that. So, my house is not always clean.


December 7th, 2011
8:54 am

Every evening, as I’m preparing dinner, the kids and hubs do “15 minute pick up”, and pick up all their stuff in the “common” areas, and put it all back where it belongs. That way, when we sit down to dinner, we can relax, and enjoy each other. After dinner, homework begins, and then it’s family/tv time. All homework is completed by 8:00 so we can all relax together and enjoy our family.

Rusjki Lktagin

December 7th, 2011
9:05 am

If you women would stay home and tend to your female duties, you would not have to complain about dirty houses. It’s in the bible for women to cook, clean and mother our sons.


December 7th, 2011
11:02 am

@TallMom, our home is over 5k sqaure feet and there is NO way it stays spotless while I work full time and then some. Things like baseboards, lamp shades, ceiling fans get dusty and I just do not have the time to keep it all done in a house that large. The weekends are only so long and we usually have friends over on Saturday so it just can’t be done by one person alone. I commend you on yours being perfect but not everyone is able to do so.


December 7th, 2011
11:17 am

Why on earth would you need a home with over 5K square feet???….I’m in about 2,000 sf, and part of that is a two car garage….I wouldn’t know what to do with all that space…..much less clean it….

A person SMART enough to know......

December 7th, 2011
11:39 am

When we are having family for the holidays I call They haul off all the broken old toys and the junk in the basement. They really get me free space back in the house for all the new Christmas Presents to come. They are great this time of year.


December 7th, 2011
1:01 pm

@Augusta, it’s a log home and was not suppose to be that large. I asked them to make my garage 3 foot longer and they made it 3 ft. bigger all the way around and with log kits, there is no taking it back….once they cut them, they’re yours so we were faced with finishing it. I’ve never been happy with it because of the size but had the economy not tanked, we would have already sold it. And believe me, cleaning it is a nightmare. Hopefully things will pick up and we will sell it in a couple years and buy a small cabin in the mountains. If anyones looking for a lakefront home that size, send them my way please.

Onesie Baby Shower invitation.

December 10th, 2011
1:18 pm

[...] Getting ready for early holiday company! I was hosting a baby shower for a close friend and not thinking ahead she scheduled it the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I had family coming into town as well as 3 full days of cooking for Tday and the cleaning and decorating for the shower. … Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]