House Guest / Host Etiquette: Post-Holiday Clean Up and Clearing Out Guests

A young woman taking a photo of friends gathered around dining room table celebrating with a holiday meal.
When the last present has been unwrapped, the leftovers are long gone, and dad starts wondering aloud when it’s time to put the decorations in storage, the holiday party is well and truly over. When it comes to cleaning up after the holidays, how do hosts and guests walk the fine line of cleaning up and clearing out?

Hosting Guests for the Holidays

‘Tis the season to welcome those near and dear, even if they actually reside a long way away! Hosting friends or family for a single day can be taxing, but the added consideration of guests staying overnight or longer than expected can make life a bit hectic. As a host or guest, it’s important to understand some basic expectations to keep everyone jolly.

Holiday Tips for Guests

  • RSVP. It’s about more than taking a head count. Many RSVPs also ask about dietary restrictions or allergies these days, as well as information about side dishes guests might be able to bring to dinner. Of course, it’s also worth double-checking the party is okay for an additional guest.
  • Always bring a gift. Even if the host says not to, showing up empty-handed is a no-no. If you want to keep it simple, a sincere card, a bottle of wine, or a small treat for the hosts after you’ve left is always welcome.
  • Don’t be the first to arrive. As a rule of thumb, plan on arriving 15 to 20 minutes later than the invitation says. If you’re staying overnight, however, consider attempting to arrive before the rest of the guests so that you and your host have time to put away luggage.
  • Don’t be the last to arrive, either. Especially if there are dinner plans or any sort of a timeline for the event, showing up late can hold everyone up. If you’re going to be late, touch base with the host and let others get started.
  • Treat Your Host’s Home Like It’s Your Boss’s Home. Treat the homes of friends and family better than you treat your own. Clean up after yourself, ask where the trash is, and always offer to pick up plates and glasses throughout the evening. When the dishes pile up, raise a hand to get soapy; your host will appreciate it more than you know.

Holiday Tips for Hosts

  • Communication. That RSVP or invite is your chance to put everyone in a position to enjoy themselves. While you might want to keep it casual and laid back, the more detail you provide, the better you can shape expectations about the night or visit. Make it clear who is invited, what events are planned, and what accommodations are being made. Remember, it’s your party.
  • Prepare ahead. It’s okay to prepare food ahead of time. Put together sides, ready-to-bake cookies, and other dishes before guests arrive. This will give you more time with your guests by keeping you out of the kitchen the night of your party.
  • Ask for a Hand. You’re not imposing, you’re visiting! Catch up while you get things done. Believe it or not, many guests are eager to lend a hand. While you might be leading the charge, you don’t have to pull together an entire holiday meal by yourself.
  • Keep the Pantry Stocked. Especially with guests staying for a few days, show them where the goodies are. One tip from experience: don’t leave it at “help yourself.” Take them over to the pantry, show them where they can find a snack, and make sure they feel comfortable grabbing a granola bar or getting themselves a glass of water, too.

How to Clean Up Your Post-Holiday Clutter

First of all, your house will be a mess. It’s the holidays; embrace it and ignore a little clutter. Spend your time catching up with the people in your life that this special time of year has brought together.

For hosts, it’s okay to get a little antsy for guests to leave so you can have some downtime. To politely get guests out the door, it’s all about communication:

  • Make plans. Let them know before they arrive you have plans at a certain time of day and offer to drive them to the airport beforehand. It’s okay if your ‘plans’ include doing nothing at all.
  • Start the clock…verbally. Work in phrases like ‘before you go’ or “one last time” in conversation. This is a relatively polite way to put the idea of shipping out in their head.
  • Ask them what they’re doing next. Ask when they’re headed home and what’s waiting for them when they get there. This puts a positive spin on asking point-blank when they’ll get out of your hair.
  • Tell them the cleaners are coming. Let them know you’re having the house cleaned now that the party is over. That should clear them out quickly! Hired help—now that’s how you clean up post-holiday clutter.

Post-Holiday Clean-Up Made Easy

The anticipation and excitement of hosting a party and/or sharing your home with guests can sometimes be overshadowed by the thought of cleaning up and returning your home to its normal state. But hosting a party or opening your home to overnight guests doesn’t have to be stressful if you take the right approach. Hiring a professional service to clean up after the holidays can help reduce your stress and anxiety. Molly Maid offers special event, regular, and one-time cleaning services that will help you enjoy the gathering and guests, without dealing with the mess the holidays leave behind. To learn more, schedule your in-home estimate today!