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Is your welcome worth the holiday travel?

By Lisa Thornton
Correspondent

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  • Hosting houseguests for the holidays

    • A holiday wreath on the front door sets a festive and welcoming tone.

    • Stock the guest bathroom with a basket of toiletries.

    • A carafe of water, a soft lamp, and a few magazines on the nightstand extend the welcome to the guest quarters.



Along with the turkey and trimmings, gifts and parties, come holiday guests traveling from afar.

Most travelers – more than 43 million at Thanksgiving, according to AAA’s estimates – stay with family and friends. So here’s the question: Is your guest room ready for all those suitcases, bags and extra blankets?

Is your dining room equipped for the extra dinner guests? Is your coat closet prepared to take on a few more jackets, scarves and hats?

Although there’s not one single way to prepare your home for the holidays, experts share the same basic rules for making a home organized and inviting for visitors.

It starts with something Santa Claus has been relying on for years – the list.

One of those lists should focus on clearing out things you don’t need before guests arrive, said Julie Bertram of The Organizing Pro, a business that specializes in residential and commercial organization. “There are certain rooms you want to make sure you tackle and de-clutter before company comes,” she said.

And these are some of our favorite ideas for holiday hosts. The secret is making the most of the space you have and doing it with style:

Guest bedroom and bath

With more people in the house, you know right away you’ll need more hooks and hangers. The 6-Hook Bamboo Overdoor Rack is a quick, inexpensive, temporary fix for making any room more orderly. Use it in an entryway for guests to hang their coats or in a guest bedroom or bath for hanging clothes and towels. The rack fits on standard interior doors and is made of bamboo, considered a renewable and environmentally friendly material. $19.99 at containerstore.com.

A soft light can help your guests find their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night – and keep them from turning on a rattling vent fan as they fumble for a harsh overhead light. The Motion Sensor Tank Light with auto on/off LED has a hook so it can hang from most toilet tanks, temporarily or longer. Runs on three AAA batteries, not included. $16.99 at containerstore.com.

Put every inch of space to work when you find yourself entertaining a group with less than ample space. Use the RAGRUND Chair With Towel Rack to add seating and a place to hang towels or other items. Or use it in a laundry room or mud room. The bamboo is lightweight, making it easy to move where it’s needed most. $49.99 at ikea.com.

Ideal for a guest bedroom with little or no closet space, IKEA’s PS Organizer has four adjustable shelves for sweaters, socks and shoes. The organizer also has one rail for hanging shirts and slacks. It rolls around easily on three casters ‘m okand has a handle in the back. $24.99 at ikea.com.

Kitchen and dining room

The kitchen is the center of activity in most homes during the holiday season, and many guests arrive with at least one mobile device that stays under close watch. Keep your outlets free for mixers and toasters with the Zip Mini Touch-n-go charging station. This one charges up to four devices at once, so consider bringing home two if your group is especially large. Most makers’ devices are compatible with the magnetic toggle connectors, and cord clutter won’t be a problem since 3-inch mini cables are included. $49.95 at thejoyfactory.com.

Dinner parties can easily call for more table space than a home has available. Martha Stewart has a table extension project for do-it-yourselfers that creates seating for up to 12 people. The materials for the project include plywood, flannel and a staple gun. The extender fits over an existing tabletop. See how: http://martha.ms/1aCIe7y. Prices for materials vary depending on the length desired.

Terje Folding Chairs can fit perfectly along your new table extender. Made of solid beech wood, each chair folds easily and can be hung from a hole in the back rest when not in use. They come in red, white and black. $17.99 at ikea.com.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

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