watching tv

For many people the seasonal break does not happen, if it happens at all, until the New Year. Whilst many of us are winding down a huge proportion of us just get busier and busier on the run up to Christmas and then go straight into full-on entertaining mode. When the last guest leaves on New Year’s Day, and we flop down in front of a film, this is when we can really relax. However, having had a house full for over week it might be hard to concentrate on the various plot twists of ‘Sherlock: The Abominable Bride’ (BBC1 9pm New Year’s Day) whilst contemplating the recovery that is required in the rooms around us. Here are a few home-hacks that you might not have thought of to help make every Hectic Host’s life a little easier.

I am not ashamed to admit it (although it might sound extravagant actually it is worth every penny) after I have washed all the spare bedding I drop it off to have it ironed. When I get the pressed sheets back I fold into one of the pillowcases the corresponding sheet, duvet cover and remaining pillowcases of the set so everything is kept together and can be stored ready for the next guest bed making. This saves hours of unfolding and refolding, looking for that missing item of bedding.

Storing bulky things that are seldom used is such a waste of space. If you use a fold out sofa bed when you fold it back up do so with the duvet concertinaed inside. When you next flip it open all you have to do is bang a bit of life back into the rather sad, flattened feather article. I have also discovered that pillows can be squeezed into decent sized cushion covers, meaning you can make daily use of them on your sofa without hogging valuable cupboard space in between visits.

If you received a batch of smellies for Christmas, resist temptation and pack them away for later use. Whilst guests in your home are not expecting a five-star hotel experience no one wants to be faced with a cracked bar of soap and the dried up dregs of a shampoo bottle. Pop a few essentials in a drawer or hamper so you can refresh your toiletries without any future frantic running around. Put a couple of spare loo rolls in the welcome pack too, believe me come that tipsy afternoon BBQ in the summer or that rainy night next December when you are making up the guest room or bathroom you will be glad you did.

As you switch of the TV, put your glass down on the coffee table in front of you and muster all your energy to get you off the sofa and off to bed, don’t put a cork in the remaining red wine (it is the beginning of January after-all so you will probably never finish it) pour into into an ice cube mould and put it in the freezer. Next time you are cooking and your recipe requires a few tablespoons of wine, voila.

Lawrence Roullier White writes the Hectic Host for SE22.  @RoullierWhite

This feature first appeared in the January 2016 issue of SE22 magazine.