Does the thought of preparing you home for overnight house guests make you anxious?
If you have friends or relatives that plan to stay overnight with you at your house, there are some thoughtful things you can do to help your guests feel comfortable and pampered in your home.
A little advanced planning and organization can help your visitors’ stay go smoothly for both them and you.
If want to be thought of as a fantastic host, then follow these tips: you’ll go from just a person that put a roof over your guest’s head to being an awesome host that makes their time at your place memorable.
Tidying Up For Guests – What to Prioritize
Don’t worry, the fun stuff is coming, but first things first – let’s get your place looking presentable!
There’s no need to make your entire home perfectly spotless. Concentrate on what I call “the noticeable basics,” and your house guests will have a great impression of your home and hospitality.
Mop the Kitchen Floor
Make sure your floors are clean enough that your guests aren’t scared to walk around without shoes on.
There’s nothing worse than walking into the kitchen and feeling like you’re stepping on crumbs or something sticky.
Wipe Down the Bathroom
House guests are definitely going to notice bathrooms because they’re going to be using them.
Plus, they’ll have the time and privacy to really look. (You know it’s true!).
This is a good opportunity for you to envision what your bathroom will look like to outside eyes.
Don’t go crazy, but make sure that the sink and toilet are clean, (and that there’s toilet paper!).
Clear Away Surface Clutter
So many people multi-use their table surfaces; for example, the kitchen or dining room table is also used as a home office.
If this is you, clear away all unnecessary items, and find new, temporary homes for the important things (like bills, projects or personal items).
After the guests are gone, remember to put important things back to their original spot so you don’t forget about the unfinished business (like paying bills).
Get Rid of Any Odors
Pay attention to the things you’ve gone “nose blind” to, because you’re used to living in the house.
This is especially important if you’ve got pets, as you might not notice a distracting odor in your home.
Clean Out the Fridge
You probably don’t think of the state of your fridge often, but visitors will be looking at it’s interior with a set of fresh eyes.
And trust me, they will have a good look in there, because, well … it’s interesting!
To keep it looking fresh, take just five minutes to take out expired condiments and produce that’s past its prime, then quickly wipe down the shelves. If you’re so inclined, a little organization might also be in order.
Now that we’ve tidied up,
let’s move on to the …
Overnight Guest Accommodations and Experience
It can be unsettling and uncomfortable leaving one’s home and traveling to stay as a guest in a someone else’s house.
However, with a little creativity, a good host can create the perfect guest respite that offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere for their travel-weary visitors.
Instant Guest Room
Even if you don’t have a dedicated guest room, you can set up a comfortable, welcoming area where your guests can sleep and relax.
Consider investing in an inflatable air mattress.
Tip: Look for models with thicker padded tops, or cover the bed with a mattress pad to provide a layer of cushioning and protect from punctures.
For an even simpler solution, get a feather bed. It can be rolled up tight for easy storage, and the extra layer of cushioning makes the couch―or the floor―that much more comfortable.
You can also store a spare mattress under your bed (if space allows) and slide it out when guests arrive.
Test Your Air Mattress Before Making the Bed
If your “guest room” is a blow-up mattress in the living room, make sure it’s in good condition.
Inflate it to make sure there are no holes, and, if you have time, vacuum the surface so it’s free of dust.
Overnight Guest Bedding
Whether you already have a guestroom, or are pulling out the air mattress, make the bed with clean, fresh sheets. Crisp new sheets are an especially nice touch.
Guests may be used to sleeping with two pillows or more, so an extra set of pillows (stored under the bed) is a good idea.
Also, fold an extra blanket and lay it nearby in case guests get cold.
Overnight Guests Mini-Toiletries
There’s no need to share your personal items. The next time you’re staying at a hotel or a resort, remember to take away the small toiletry bottles. The sample sizes are perfect for guests.
You can also stock up on travel-size toiletries at the drugstore or online.
Stock the basket with anything short- or long-term guests might need.
Include soap, cotton balls, cotton swabs, toothpaste, toothbrushes (store them in their packages), face and body lotion, shampoo and conditioner, shower cap, new razors, shaving cream and feminine products.
Have these items in plain sight in the guest bathroom. If you’re sharing a bathroom, leave toiletries in a basket by the guest bed.
Another option is to put the items in in a portable shower caddy or tote for your guest’s use, (like the kind college students use to cart their toiletries to the communal bathroom).
You probably don’t want all your guest’s toiletries spread out in your bathroom, anyway, and they’d probably feel weird leaving them there.
Portable shower caddies cost next to nothing, and they provide a convenient way for your guests to carry their things around without repacking everything into a little travel toiletry bag.
Night Lights – Comfort and Safety
Speaking of heading to the bathroom, I always like to plug in a nightlight in the guest’s room and in or near the bathroom.
Getting around your place at night may be second nature to you, but your guest won’t be so adept in the dark.
If they’re not needed, the nightlights can always be unplugged or turned off, but in unfamiliar surroundings, a nightlight can prevent a fall in the dark.
Guest Towels and Face Cloths
Guests will get up close and personal with your bathroom towels, so be sure they’re clean and looking good.
Each guest should have at least one clean bath towel and washcloth.
Women usually want a separate one for their hair, so give extras, and let guests know where to put their dirty towels.
Nobody wants to travel with a bulky robe and slippers, but putting on a robe is so comforting after a bath or shower.
When the guests have left, wash and store the towels (along with sheets, a light cotton blanket, and a heavier comforter for cold nights, and the robe and slippers) until the next visitors arrive.
Guest Closet Space
While most out-of-towners expect to be living out of a suitcase, guests will feel more at home if they can unpack the essentials.
Also, providing them with a place to unpack means they’ll be less likely to drape clothes all over the spare bedroom or living room.
If there’s a closet in your guest room, be sure that it isn’t stuffed with Christmas decorations and such.
If there’s no guest room, clear a little space in your own closet for a suit jacket or dress that needs to be hung.
Garment Rack for Guests
A garment rack provides extra hanging space for guests, but you can also use it to hang damp clothes in the laundry room or as a coat rack at your next party. I promise that after your guests are gone, you will find a use for it!
Suitcase Stand or Luggage Rack
A suitcase stand makes the case more accessible than it would be on the floor, so guests will be more likely to keep their stuff in order.
If you do have a spare bedroom, store linens, towels, and other items reserved for guests in one or two dresser drawers. That way, when you make the bed for guests and set out the towels, you’ll immediately have two empty drawers for their clothing.
Maps, Magazines, and Ideas
You want to entertain your guests, but you don’t have time. (That, or you just can’t handle playing tour guide). But you can point them in the right direction.
Try to get a feel (in advance) for what your guests want to do when they visit.
Do they want to take it easy and lounge around your apartment pool, take in all the cultural sights your city can offer in their three day stay, spend tons of time with you catching up?
Knowing what your guests have in mind for their visit can help you stave off any hurt feelings or boring down time.
If an old college friend really wants to spend time catching up with you but they’re visiting during the work week, make it clear that you want to go out and catch up as soon as you get off work and have some sort of simple potential itinerary for them during the day while you’re gone. They might do something else but at least you’ve given them a starting point.
Planning out a rough schedule for the visit doesn’t mean you have to stick with it but it does provide a good catalyst for you and your guests to communicate and establish when everyone is available for fun and when outside obligations interfere with vacation time.
Make sure to provide (or send links to) street, bus, and subway maps so they’ll know how to get around, and send them links to activity listings, and your local transit website.
I like to pick up a local newspaper for guests. For activity ideas, they can check out the entertainment or About Town section for play, movie, or concert listings, as well other local events.
You can also provide your guest with some activity suggestions: think about what guests might want to do when they visit, and know when stores, and visitor attractions are open.
Put Some Books Near the Bed
Give guests something to read before they go to sleep. If it’s a bestseller, or an interesting book about your town, even better.
Provide a Guest Charging Station
People have more than just cell phones these days. Make sure you’ve got, at minimum, an empty power strip and an outlet for them to recharge.
It’s even better if you provide a charging station for multiple gadgets.
Give Guests a Spare Key
Put a spare key on a key chain, and tell guests where it will be hidden (if they’ll arrive while you’re out) or hand it over when they get there. That way, you won’t have to worry about them locking the door when they leave, or always being home when they return.
Provide house guests with emergency-contact information and general phone numbers, as well as any other essential details about the house and the neighborhood, in case you’re not there to explain that the hot water runs out after 20 minutes.
And give your guests the name and number of a neighbor, family member, even a plumber (if you have tricky toilets) — anyone whom they might need in a pinch.
How does the remote control work? What’s the deal with that newfangled alarm system?
Every household has it’s quirks. Give guests some pointers in case they’re stumped while you’re gone.
Plan for Breakfast and Snacks
While lunch and dinner might be fairly standardized, most people eat right after they wake up and guests rise at all hours, and your guests will appreciate being autonomous for breakfast and snacks.
Stock up on some easy-to-prepare breakfast foods like bagels, pastries, cold cereals, coffee, orange juice, fruit, muffins.
Make sure to point them out to the guests when they arrive and encourage them to eat whenever they wish. Also, let your guests know where everything is in the kitchen, especially your coffee supplies!
For snacks, think yogurt, crackers, cheese, cold cuts, small veggies and easy-to-eat fruits.
Remember that the best way to be an awesome host is to have fun. Take the tips from the above guide you can use and save the ones you can’t for later.
With a little forethought and effort, you’ll ensure your guests feel welcomed and cared for. And as a bonus, you’ll enjoy yourself more, and worry less!
Thoughts and tips? Please share!
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