With Thanksgiving being this week, we wanted to take a moment to discuss the topic of hosting with our fellow home-lovers. With the most family and food-centered Holidays coming up, taking some time to ready your home for hosting can make your guests more comfortable, and your get-togethers run a lot more smoothly.

First things first, get rid of that extra clutter. Take some to go through your belongings and get rid of the items and gadgets you never use, any décor that is just taking up space and collecting dust, as well as cleanout your pantry and fridge. Move things like children’s toys, exercise equipment, and office materials out and away from your main rooms. This gives you a nice, clean slate and makes hosting a little less stressful, and your guests feel less cramped.

Secondly, make sure you optimize the layout of your main rooms. In gathering rooms like the living room, organize your furniture in a way that lends itself to the way you like to host. If you know your family loves watching movies, move your seating to where it is facing the TV. If your family is more into board games opt for a large coffee table in the middle of the room. Whatever activities you enjoy, design your rooms with them in mind. Also, make sure there is enough seating to comfortably sit the number of guests you’re expecting. Pull some extra chairs from your guest room and bedroom to keep on hand for this reason.

The months of November and December lead to a lot of holiday cooking, meaning you’ll be spending a lot of your time in and around the kitchen. Open layouts lend themselves for gathering hosting, allowing the hosts to prepare meals while mingling with guests. Islands work great for seating guests at the bar and serving drinks and appetizers. However, if you don’t have a built-in, a rolling bar cart or table works great too and can be moved to any room in the house to serve as a place to serve snacks. This leaves your kitchen table clear for people to eat at.

With minimal planning and effort, you’ll find your holiday get-togethers less overwhelming and more enjoyable. Hosting is meant to be fun, and keeping your spaces organized, practical and simple goes a long way!