As guests would leave our home, my dad would call out, “come anytime!” The welcome mat spoke the truth at our house. It was not uncommon for friends or relatives to simply show up. If they timed the visit right, they would receive an invitation to join us for dinner. Mom was already cooking for a large family, so an additional plate or two was rarely an inconvenience.
As an adult, I enjoy hosting events and entertaining guests. Especially, I look forward to family or friends visiting from out of town. I want my guests to know I am excited they are visiting. I want them to feel at home and leave with a desire to return. With experience and practice, I have learned that preparing your home for houseguests prior to their arrival creates time to relax and enjoy the visit once the guests arrive.
*Hopefully it goes without saying that you will clean and tidy the entire house, ensure the lawn is mowed, and sweep and de-cobweb the front porch. You will pay careful attention to the cleanliness of the guest room and the bathroom your guest will be using.
Here is my list of eight steps to preparing for houseguests.
1) Bed & Bedding
- Clean bedding – even if the bed was clean after your previous guest four months ago, wash the sheets so they smell fresh.
- Extra pillows & blankets – set these out so your guest will not have to ask for them
2) Bedside Table
- Table lamp
- Alarm clock
- Dish for jewelry
- Paper & Pen
- Reading materials – if possible, provide local magazines, or books about your city or region. Provide brochures for local attractions if your guest will be taking in the sights. You can even create a tentative schedule. You may also provide quick, entertaining reads or puzzle books.
- Print wi-fi access code
3) Towels & Washcloths
- Set out towels and washcloths – as with bed linens, send towels through the wash to ensure they smell fresh.
- Flowers – a nice touch
- Nightlights – I prefer light sensing lights in the bathroom, in the hall, and in the guest room.
- Trash can
- Power strip – for electronics
- Fan – depending on the time of year
5) Space to Unpack
- Suitcase stand – this can be as simple as a bench or chair.
- Closet space with hangers or dresser space – determine what works in your space. If you cannot provide closet or dresser space, consider a coat rack that accommodates hangers. I am not affiliated with Pottery Barn. I simply love this coat rack, as it has knobs to accommodate hangers.
6) Meals and Snacks
- Plan and shop for meals ahead of time – it’s okay to be flexible, but even better to have a plan to fall back on.
- Provide bottled water – digestive tracts can be sensitive to water from different areas. Limit the opportunity for an upset stomach by purchasing bottled water.
- Provide snacks – your guest’s stomach may exist in a different time zone. They may not be comfortable asking for food. Provide a basket of snacks for the guest. Consider featuring local varieties.
- Stock toilet paper – ensure extra rolls reside in a visible or logical location.
- Provide a plunger – nobody wants to call from the bathroom to request a plunger.
- Set out tissue, swabs and cotton balls
- Provide a drinking glass
- Provide a hair dryer – this depends on the guest, but if you have a spare, let the guest know where to find it.
Stock a basket or labeled drawer with travel-size essentials.
- Soap / Shower gel
- Toothbrushes (new)
- Tooth paste
Celebrate your guest during the visit. Spend time with your guest. Above all, meet the needs of your guest and make sure you convey that you are glad they have chosen to visit and that you hope they feel welcome to, as my dad would say, “come anytime”.
For tips on creating an itinerary for your guests, read “Creating a Vacation Itinerary“.
Use the comment section to share the steps you take to welcome guests into your home.
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