Get ready for overnight guests by following these simple tips.
Although in theory guests should be fun, the reality is that preparing for them, when you’re already busy with work and family, can be stressful. You want your home to be welcoming, and for your guests to enjoy themselves, but you’re just not sure where to start.
The best way to think about what your guests need, is to think yourself of the last time you stayed somewhere and what you enjoyed or wished you had.
But in case that’s failing you, below are my suggestions for readying your home for your guests, so you can relax and enjoy their visit. The items are in order. Make sure you have plenty of time to get ready by starting a couple of weeks before!
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Two weeks before: Plan some activities.
There’s only so much catch-up chit-chat people can engage in, so having some activities to do can be a great idea, especially if your guests aren’t people you are super close to. Ask your guests if there’s anywhere they’d like to visit during their stay. If they don’t have any ideas, then plan one or two activities that showcase your home town.
Depending on your cooking abilities, also consider booking your favorite restaurant for lunch or dinner. Again, you want to focus on enjoying your guests, not being frustrated by your efforts to whip up a five-course meal.
If you do like cooking, do still think about making a tried and true recipe rather than experiment. Keep it low stakes!
One week before: Organize spare toiletries.
Have some key supplies handy in case your guests have forgotten any. These could include shower gel, soap, shampoo, conditioner, razors, toothpaste and toothbrushes, the latter still in their packaging so you know if they get used. Having sanitary supplies can also be useful.
If you want to be super creative, you can organize them in a basket or a trolley. I recommend this super cute Ikea storage cart which can be used for so many things once your guests have gone.
One week before: Stock up the kitchen.
Do your guests drink black tea? Green tea? Coffee? Hot chocolate? If you don’t already know, then make sure you flick your guests a text or email and ask them what they like to drink. It’s also a good idea to check if they like full cream or trim milk, or creamer.
The same goes for breakfast food. Most people are creatures of habit for the first meal of the day. Taking the time to ask them what they would like, and then getting it for them, is a kind and thoughtful thing to do.
Most guests will tell you if they have any dietary requirements, but it never hurts to check.
Finally, make sure you have a decent supply of snack food, and focus on providing healthy as well as well as tasty. A well-stocked fruit bowl is a nice touch.
One week to one night before: Ready the bedroom.
If you have a spare room, try to keep it guest-ready at all times, to save both time and hassle. However, if there are no spare rooms in your house, you should evict one of your children, or worst case scenario, yourselves. While you might be tempted to put your guests in the living room on a fold out bed or similar, that’s not a good idea. Guests need a place to retreat and relax where they’re not always on show. You want them to be the ones to politely say goodnight and head off to bed, rather than them waiting patiently for you to leave.
Once you’ve worked out where they are, it’s time to get their space ready.
Check sheets are clean. No guest should be sleeping on dirty sheets.
Get an extra blanket or two and have them draped over a chair or at the base of the bed.
Nicely fold towels and facecloths and place them at the base of the bed, or in the trolley above (however if no-one else will be using the bathroom, you can put them in there instead).
Clear a space in the closet or put out a luggage rack so they have somewhere to put their clothes and suitcase.
Do a quick dust.
Vacuum the floor.
Put a pile of magazines on the bedside table.
Put some flowers in a small bud vase.
Write out the Wifi password for them to use. Your guests will love you for this!
On the day: Check the bathroom.
First thing to do here is to clean the toilet. This is a real must. Check again just before your guests arrive, especially if you have boys.
Replace the hand-towel.
Check there is sufficient toilet paper, and put a couple of spare rolls in the bathroom as well, so they don’t have to go searching in the middle of the night.
Empty the rubbish bin.
You’re almost there!
An hour or two before: Last minute tidy up.
Clear off the coffee table. Be sensible here about what you have and haven’t got time to sort. If there’s a whole pile of things, just grab one of your laundry baskets, throw everything in there, and then go hide it in your own cupboard (can you tell I’ve done this before?).
Vacuum the floor.
Plump up the sofa pillows.
Take any dishes out of the sink and put them in the dishwasher. Put the dishwasher on.
Spray an odour neutralizer, if you’re like us and have an inside dog or two. I use Skout’s honor and it’s amazing.
Light a scented candle.
Check the temperature- 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit or 22-24 degrees Celsius is best.
Phew! Now it’s time to make yourself a cup of coffee, sit down and relax until your guests arrive.
Having guests may seem like a lot of extra work, but with a bit of forethought and planning, it’s easy to ensure your guests enjoy your hospitality and want to come visit again and again. The key thing is to not leave it to the last minute, but do a little advance prep.
Of course, if it’s a guest you’d rather NOT have visit again and again- that’s another article!
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