The five-point rule to hosting at home

Wednesday June 09 2021

Cleaning and de-cluttering is the first step. PHOTO/net

By Joan Salmon

When you have to entertain guests, the thoughts that run through your mind can be daunting as to whether you will meet their expectations or not. However, you need not allow the sound of that bell cause you to panic because having house guests can be so much fun.

To start with, at the very least, Lucy Namara, a homeowner, says your home ought to be ready to receive a last minute guest. “It is not about being perfect but creating a home akin to a haven. As such, your hospitable aura is the casing that all the other preparations fit into. Besides that, there is no need to put a lot of pressure on yourself to have a stellar presentation; work within your means,” she advises.  Here are those preparations that you need to see to: 

1.  De-clutter

Before you get to mop the floors, de-cluttering takes centre stage in cleaning up your home. Namara shares that some people believe in buying expensive items, which is great in accentuating any space, but when it is too much, it will make the place look untidy. “There is a clear distinction between clutter and décor and intentionality is what draws the line. For example, mahogany shelving with scattered magazines is an eyesore yet plywood shelving with intentionally placed trinkets lends the space elegance and beauty.”

She adds that even in the bedrooms and bathrooms, neatly stocked cabinets are more appealing than those with items place haphazardly.

Thus, Namara advises homeowners to taking a sweeping eye at the shelving. Countertops and cabinets to ensure the items therein are intentionally placed rather that set down.


2. Clean reflective and glass surfaces

A dusty mirror, a print filled window, and dusty photo frames can foil all the efforts put into cleaning your home. Daisy Kamurasi, an interior designer, says dirty glass or reflective surfaces make the house look dirtier than it really is. “Mirrors reflect around or into spaces therefore when they are dirty the amount of light reflected is reduced. Besides that, the light highlights the dirt and smudges,” says Kamurasi. It is, therefore, important that you wipe metal surfaces, windows, photo frames, and mirrors to give your home a pristine look.

Get rid of paper

Receipts, tags, old papers, homework, and grocery lists can pile up so fast and many homeowners have a habit of stashing them anywhere. Kamurasi says it is important that one walks through their home with a dustbin to pick up those papers. “Move things a bit to ensure none are hidden beneath a pile. Even those that seem important, pick information from them, write it in a diary and get rid of them. With receipts done away with, take an inventory of those business papers and get rid of those you do not need while putting away those that need later attention in a box. With that, a lot of mess will be dealt away with,” she notes.

3. Restock

With dirt and clutter gone, it is time to see what supplies are available as well as those that are used up or need to be stocked up on. Here is a list you can work with:

Water – Apart from ensuring there is flowing water in the house, Agnes Kanyike, a hotelier, says water for drinking is something worth making available for your guests so they will have a choice to partake of it as and when they desire.

Toiletries –While people usually carry these with them, it is human that one might forget a thing or two. Kanyike says these include toothbrushes, and toothpaste. “Stocking up on them will ease your guests’ stay should they forget anything,” she says.

Furniture – While beds will obviously be available, Hilda Waweru, a homeowner says adding items such as a night stand, a closet or a simple stool makes it easier for your guests to unpack and feel more at ease. “Purchasing these might not be logical at the drop of a hat but worth buying in the long run. In the meantime, you could improvise with portable closets or refurbish what is currently available,” Waweru tips.

Beverages – Tea and coffee are comfort drinks that most guests will appreciate. Juliet Kasiita, the proprietor of Chai and Mo, says it is great to look beyond the ordinary teas to spiced teas such as lavender tea, rose tea and green tea to add spice your guests’ teatime.

Snacks – It is not unbecoming for guests to talk into the wee hours of the night. During such times, Kityo says snacks come in handy and make the conversation flow even better. “Prepare them early in time and in plenty, in accordance to your guests’ tastes. These could be pastries, groundnuts or other salty snacks. If you are making these from home, say cookies, you can prepare them, place them in the freezer and only put them to bake when the time is close by. That will give them something fresh and delicious to enjoy while also earning you a big nod from your guests,” says Kityo.

4. Lighting

 In instances where you have not been using the wing where your guests are going to reside, Waweru says it is important to ensure that all the lighting is working. “Bright and ample lighting is important because these guest might be new to your space hence not sure where to find some things in dim light. Besides that, adding bedside lamps will also make it easy for one that still has a few things to do while the others sleep off.”

 Stocking up helps one be ready for the guests long before they start arriving as this saves time, eliminates fidgeting and allows you time to enjoy their company.

5. Mind the scent

With the dusting, de-cluttering and mopping done, it might not do much if your home does not smell good. Alex Kibuuka, a dog owner and homeowner, says it takes something as innocent as a wet-dog shakedown for the house to have a rather unpleasing smell. “However, that can be dealt away with by using products that do away with odours such as diffusing with essential oils or an air freshener.” He adds that it also helps to wash the linens with cloth softener as it lends a scent to the house.

Namara points out that good smells start with opening the cabinets, drawers, windows and doors for air flow will help get rid of any musty smells. “With clean air, one may now use a diffuser, put their favourite scented candle or even use the air freshener.”

 While you might not avoid having any flaws or glitches, preparing for your guests means minimising discomfort for guests and embarrassments on your side. “When your guests are comfortable, you will know you did well. And after they have left, you will still enjoy the scented, clutter free and tidy home. You never know, with such practice, you might just turn your home into a bed and breakfast nook when the time comes,” Kanyike shares.


 Ensuring you have enough linens and covers is important so that your guests will have comfortable and neat beds. “If you are having overnight or weekend guests, ensuring there is presentable, clean and suitable beddings will put a smile on your guests’ faces,” Lawrence Kityo, a homeowner, shares.


No, not stationery because they are here for a good time. However, you need to stock up on paper towels, and toilet paper. “It would be embarrassing for your guests to run out of these, especially toilet paper. Therefore, double check to ensure it is more than enough to avoid late night purchases and the strain thereof.”