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How to Maximize Your Space When Family is Home for the Holidays

As we’ve written about before, it can sometimes be a challenge to fit your life into your home.

Even if you have become a pro at cooking in a small kitchen and have given everyone in your family a little space to call their own, the holidays present a whole new set of challenges when it’s your turn to play host.

Where will everyone sit? Is there sleeping space for everyone who might need to stay over?

Accommodating everyone during the holidays can feel like playing a big game of indoor Tetris. Don’t worry, though. These five tips will help you maximize the space you have so everyone will feel at home for the holidays.

1. Be Flexible With Food Prep and Dining Spaces

Your dining room table might not be able to seat all of your guests, and your kitchen might only have enough room for two people to work. That’s OK.

As writer Jennifer Noonan notes at the Improvement Center blog, you can let your food prep and your mealtime spill over into other parts of the house. Here are a few of Noonan’s tips:

  • You can set up a buffet-style meal and let people sit in the kitchen, living room or elsewhere.
  • You can even put a blanket on the floor for kids to eat picnic-style.
  • If serving drinks, consider designating a make-your-own drinks station so that people who need refills won’t crowd around the table.

2. Declutter and Store Delicate Items

Brooke Stone, the founder of Gyst, a New York-based startup that lets users hire short-term personal assistants, has experience helping New Yorkers turn their small apartments into family-friendly gathering spaces.

“First and foremost, you want to de-clutter as much as humanly possible,” she tells Brick Underground. “Even little knick-knacks or framed photos, get them out of the way to make the space more open and keep them from getting broken.”

Also, she recommends you leave a clear path to your front door, to your bathroom, and to the bar or drinks station, as these areas will see the most traffic.

meal - maximize your space

3. Start Dinner With an Empty Dishwasher

Here is an excellent dinner party trick from Abbey Sharp, blogger at Abbey’s Kitchen, that will work for your big meal:

In the time between meal prep and the meal itself, toss all of your dirty cookware into the dishwasher for a quick wash. Time it so you can dry and put away every pan and utensil before your guests sit down at the table.

That way, you’ll have an empty dishwasher ready to receive dirty plates after the meal. With no plates or pans to stack in the sink, your kitchen will look that much more spacious.

4. Decorations: Hang ‘em High

When pressed for space, verticality is your friend. Jenna Spesard, a writer and tiny house owner, knows all about the challenges of limited space. In a post for Tumbleweed Houses, she advises any tiny house-dwellers who are playing host to place their holiday decorations up high “so that they won’t take up ‘body space’ — the area where your guests may stand or sit.”

Mistletoe and string lights, she writes, are perfect hangable decorations that celebrate the spirit of the holiday season without eliminating any sitting or standing room.

5. Expecting Kids Overnight? Let Them Share a Single Room

If you have nieces, nephews or other little ones coming over to stay the night, Rose Lounsbury, a professional organizer in Dayton, Ohio, recommends creating a kids room where everyone can roll out a sleeping bag on the floor.

“Yes, this is a bit chaotic at actual bedtime, but I can only imagine the fun memories my kids will have of these wild sleepovers,” she says.

These five tactics should open up a little bit more space in your home when family and friends come to visit. For more tips and tricks that you can use year-round to make space for yourself, have a look at our home organization posts.

Images by: dolgachov/©123RF Stock Photo, stockbroker/©123RF Stock Photo