2021 Holiday Entertaining Bootcamp

Tips to get your home ready for holiday guests

Guest post written by Laura McHolm Chief of Organized Living & NorthStar Moving Company Co-Founder 

Like last year, this year is different than the norm when it comes to gathering with friends and family. Many of us are still working from home which is challenging during extended family stays. And, let’s face it, we aren’t exactly in hosting shape.  

Back in 2020 your dining room loosened its belt to become a zoom room, office, workstation and study hall. Or, your bedroom and living room decided to gorge on clutter, serving as both a sleeping or living space as well as a home office. Thanks to your new work-at-home lifestyle, files and papers have found a permanent home in unusual places. Your home needs bootcamp.

To conquer the holidays in this unique era and make it the joyous occasion we have all been patiently waiting for, reshape your home. Get it moving, bending and slimming down. Set aside time to step back and look at the space in your home from all angles. Wow, where’d all that clutter come from? Envision your home as a place where you are proud to invite guests. It’s all about bringing your home back to pre-COVID shape, but with new and improved features.

Here’s a guide to shape and tone your home back into sleek and sexy holiday shape, even when working from home!

  • Operation Reconfiguration: Assess the rooms in your home to determine how they will be used for holiday entertaining. Each room should provide a distinct function for you and your holiday guests. Perhaps the home office will be the wrapping station, or coat room? Move your work to a quiet corner in your bedroom? Think through all the activities you and your guests will do each day of the holidays. How will each space perform at its best? Give yourself ample time to re-configure each room. Set aside one weekend per room to transform it into its new holiday identity!
  • Get Movin’: Once you have your holiday “floor plan” it’s time to roll-up your sleeves and clear out unnecessary clutter and furniture. You may need to transfer furniture and belongings from the room to a temporary space in your home such as a garage or basement. If you are short on time, space, and/or help, hire a moving & storage company to move furniture and place items in storage. Another strategy is to move furniture from one room to another. Perhaps you decided you would like a table in the living room to serve appetizers and drinks? Or, you would like a temporary desk in your bedroom to Zoom meetings while your family is watching a movie in your living room? Take a small table or card table from another space that doesn’t need it, and repurpose it as a serving table or desk.
  • Take Stock: How many folks are coming? How many matching plates, glasses, flatware, cloth napkins are still in shape? Did the forks all get thrown out in the take-out madness? Your fine china, serving dishes and platters haven’t been used for a while and have probably collected dust the last two years. So much easier to wash them all now and have them ready for prime time then when your guests are about to walk through the door. Check your linens. Gather them up from the forts the kids built. Do they need to be pressed or sent to the dry cleaners? What about chairs? Do you have enough places for everyone to sit? Do you need to pull chairs and tables out of the virtual school house?
  • Clear Clutter: Once the big items are strategically placed, it’s time to clear clutter to make room for entertaining and peace of mind. A clean and balanced home is the ideal canvas for holiday decorating. It will also alleviate, just a bit, of the holiday stress. Here are some storage solutions to hide away that clutter for the holidays:
    • Use magazine organizers for filing work papers, kids artwork and other important documents. Place the magazine organizers on a tray and stow them away. They not only keep your files tidy; they can easily be transported. It’s more efficient than stacks of papers or files; and your paperwork takes up less room.
    • Use a rolling utility storage cart for any miscellaneous items you want off your counters and tables. They easily roll away into a closet. You might call it a “miracle vehicle” as it whisks away the clutter, clearing the way for holiday meals and pie.
    • Reuse a toy chest, or purchase a trunk; simply store toys, electronics, office items and more inside.
    • If you don’t have a table or space to create a temporary home office, consider purchasing a folding computer desk and tuck it in a corner. Use it as the home base for working through the holidays. When you are not working, simply fold up the desk and remove it.

By following these exercises, your home will be back in running condition. Now that your house is in shape, make sure all of your holiday guests stay in shape too. Educate yourself and family members on the latest  COVID travel guidelines and ask your doctor what is best for your family given your health histories and holiday travel. Communicate very clearly your house rules with all of your guests. Perhaps, send out an email with your COVID rules before your guests make their travel plans. This way everyone understands the house stay fit rules before they come to your home.

You have created the space, peace of mind and perfect backdrop in your home for the holidays. Now, swing open the doors and let the love and joy of season pour in to fill your home and your heart!


 Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.   www.northstarmoving.com


Senior Manager, Content & Multimedia at Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. In his role he manages content strategy and execution across several platforms. He’s held other roles within the Marketing Department ranging from Previews & Product Development to the day to day management of the coldwellbanker.com redesign. Besides being a marketer, Gustavo is a filmmaker, musician and writer.

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