Photo: Alison Gootee
A mail tray clears the counter, a charging station staves off dead iPhone panic and a list of local must-dos keeps guests entertained.

Day 9: Power Share

Set up a charging station so that guests can easily charge their electronics—and will always know where to find them. Alternatively, leave an extra power strip in each bedroom, as one of Walsh's friends recently did when Walsh and Greenblatt visited. "Between us, Ken and I have two phones and two iPads," says Walsh, "so the extra plugs were very helpful."

Day 10: Create Space in Your Kitchen

During the holidays, you'll want to have key items—for example, your go-to skillet, your roasting pans and your biggest coffee mugs—at the ready. To make these things easier to find, says Walsh, spend 30 minutes combing through your cabinets for pans, glassware and serving platters that are mismatched or chipped, or that have not been used in the past 12 months. Place this clutter in a box in the garage to be taken to Goodwill.

Day 11: Get Snacky

Walsh likes to arrange a basket of snacks on his kitchen counter so guests can easily grab something to eat between meals or when heading out for the day. Some of his favorites: KIND bars, cashews, apples and bottles of water. (Walsh labels his youngest guests' water bottles with a Sharpie so they can be reused.)

Day 12: Turn Your Guests into Tourists

Whether you're hosting your sister for the umpteenth time or rolling out the red carpet for new in-laws, Walsh advises compiling a list of local restaurants, parks and historical sites. Make two copies: one for the coffee table or kitchen and one for the car. "That way, your guests can go off and have an adventure," says Walsh, whose folder of L.A. must-dos includes information on the Griffith Observatory and his favorite roadside seafood dive in Malibu. "It's wonderful to have houseguests," he explains. "It's also wonderful to not have them in the house 100 percent of the time."

More Ways to Organize for the Holidays


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