It’s a situation we all face sometimes: your kids are off at college for the year, things have finally settled down at home, and you’ve probably converted your kid’s rooms into home offices, or a place to keep that NordicTrack you’re going to start using one of these days. Whatever it is, you’re probably making the most of that unused space, and everything is going great until you get that text:

Hey mom coming home for the holidays next month, can’t wait to see you <3”

And as excited as you might be to see your kids again, this raises a whole new problem: how are you going to get their room back to normal? Don’t panic! We’ve got a few ways to get your kid’s rooms back together and hospitable for their stay over the holiday break:

Give them a bed - any bed: To get started, the biggest thing you need in a bedroom is, obviously, a bed. Even if you’ve gotten rid of theirs, even if they’re going to have to use an air mattress, you’re going to need to take a lot of stuff out of your new office and give them a bed to sleep on. Find their old bed in the basement, grab them a cheap frame and mattress from somewhere, and think about this: it’s a long-term investment if you need to make a guest room!

Figure out what - and where - you can move everything out: After finding a bed for them to sleep on, you’re going to have to make room for it. This will depend on several factors; what the room is being used for now, where everything is, even how long your kids are staying. Do you have home gym stuff that can be moved elsewhere? Do those home office desks need to stay in there or can you move those to the basement and just use your laptop in the living room? Has that room just become storage, and can all that stuff go into the garage?

Think about what else they’ll need for a comfortable stay: We’ve been there a few times when we were younger, even if nobody admitted it: sometimes you dread going back home because suddenly your old room isn’t as comfortable as it once was. Let’s try to avoid that old dread by including some ‘creature comforts’ like some bookcases (especially if they had books they left behind when they moved out, like we all did), maybe try to give them a small desk or nightstand that they can keep their phone on, set up a small table with a TV and whatever older video games they didn’t bring with them (because surely their new games are at college where they’ll get the most use out of them), and if you’re feeling really adventurous, try to set up something like a mini fridge stand to give them snacks and drinks for those days where they just don’t feel like leaving the room. (And try not to take it personally when they do!)

Remember - it isn’t permanent: A problem a lot of people have when trying to do big room remodels like this is stashing everything away in a hurry, leading to everything being crammed in the basement or garage without a lot of thought as to how you’re going to get it back. This can lead to bigger problems later: unless you’re planning on permanently leaving it as a guest room (or even just as your kid’s room for their next visit) you’re going to want to leave everything in an easily reconfigurable way to replace it when your visit is done. Otherwise, the garage is going to be the next thing you have to tackle…

Got any other tips for helping your returning college students feel at home? Drop a line in the comments!