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So this is your year to host the out of town family?

Feeling joyous but overwhelmed? Fortunate but in a spin?

Where will I put all their "stuff?" How can we avoid tripping over one another? I have such a hard time with disarray and cramped spaces.

Don't panic! Keep these helpful thoughts in mind:

NJ Expert Organizer, Marilyn Shain Labendz, offers advice on preparing for out of town guests!

The most important thing is to keep reminding yourself that it's temporary and RELAX! Enjoy the guests...the mess will leave with them in a few days.

  • Take a look in your own closet, or master bathroom closet if you have one.

  • ​See if you can clear up some room, even if it means "Squooshing" your towels together, etc, so that a shelf or two in another closet can be used for the guests.

  • You just may find that you like the new space you just created, and will have reorganized your MB closet better.

  • If your bathroom or the guest bathroom does not have a cabinet around the sink, (as in our apartment), go buy an inexpensive piece of shelving and keep it out of sight alongside the tub or toilet).

  • When your guests need to use the bathroom for putting on make-up, or shaving, Voila! Take the shelf, put it across the sink...instant vanity.

  • Start emptying out the refrigerator and freezer (by eating what's in them now) to make room for the holiday foods, both what you make and what people bring.

  • ​Use glass dishes with plastic lids that stack easily. You can cook easily in them, freeze in them and stack them.

  • Make sure you have lots of disposable plastic containers of varying sizes to send leftovers home with your guests.

Encourage your guests to store their suitcases under the bed, or in the closet, rather than keeping it out in the room.

  • Here's a bold move:

Send your guests a quick note with your basic menu.

  • List some dishes that you would like others to bring or ask them to make something along the lines of your suggestion.

  • Have everyone tell you ahead of time about food allergies, sensitivities, and snacks they like to have around. (Your memory may need some jogging).

NJ Expert Organizer says that starting early makes holiday planning easier.

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