Have overnight guests coming? If you want to be a good host, you’ll find a simple plan here that will step you through how to welcome a guest in your home.
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, here are the top ways you can welcome a guest in your home, complete with timeline.
With these simple tasks complete, you can relax and enjoy their visit.
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Plan activities to entertain your guests
When to start: Two weeks before.
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.
Start thinking about this in advance so you can make any necessary bookings.
Some simple and fun activities to entertain houseguests that we love include:
- Taking a drive-by tour of the fancy suburbs in our town
- Attending a farmers’ market
- Going to an escape room
- Checking out the town gardens
- Showcasing town treasures (this could be attractions, monuments or the like)
- Visiting our boutique movie theater
- Going to the local beach
Keep a balance of planned activities and relaxation time.
- If your houseguests have come specifically to see you, one activity a day is about right.
- If you are home-base while they have come to stay for another occasion, such as event or conference, you can get away with less than this.
Stock up on toiletries
When to start: One week before.
Have some key supplies handy in case your guests have forgotten any.
These could include:
- shower gel
- sanitary supplies if appropriate
If you want to be super creative, organize your guest’s toiletries in a basket or a trolley, so they know it’s okay for them to use them.
I recommend this super cute Ikea storage cart which can be used for so many things once your guests have gone.
Ready the kitchen
When to start: One week before.
Feeding your guests can be a stressor in itself.
What drinks should you have for houseguests?
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 milk, trim milk, or creamer.
What should you serve your guests for breakfast?
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 super kind and thoughtful thing to do.
However if that’s not possible, I would go for something simple and tasty such as muesli and yogurt. Buy some danishes, and warm them gently in the oven. Put on a pot of good coffee and your guests won’t want to leave.
What should you do for dinner when you have houseguests?
Depending on your cooking abilities, consider booking your favorite restaurant for dinner.
You want to focus on enjoying your guests, not being frustrated by your efforts to whip up a five-course meal.
In addition, ordering out means everyone is going to get what they want. You’re not going to run the risk of you making what you think is some low-key spicy meal and have them running for the water, coughing and spluttering all the while.
If you do like cooking, do still think about making a tried and true recipe rather than experiment. Prepare what you can in advance, including slicing vegetables and so on. Keep it low stakes!
Other things to consider
Most guests will tell you if they have any dietary requirements, but it never hurts to check.
Planning lunch as well as everything else will probably break you. Go out for lunch or encourage your guests to go exploring on their own and sort lunch for themselves.
Finally, if you’re wondering about snacks for houseguests, focus on providing healthy as well as well as tasty. A well-stocked fruit bowl is a nice touch, or a gift box of nuts and dried fruit you can have in their room so they don’t feel uncomfortable asking for food.
This is perfect:
Set up the bedroom
When to start: One week to one night before.
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, consider this: 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 you’re going to put them, it’s time to get their space ready.
Check sheets are clean. No guest should be sleeping on dirty sheets.
And you’d be surprised of how many stories I have heard of people finding used underwear in the bed where they’ve been staying. Don’t be that person!
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.
You can see this one on Amazon:
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!
Check the bathroom
When to start: On the day.
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!
Last minute tidy up
When to start: A hour or two before they arrive.
Clear off the coffee table.
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 odor neutralizer, if you’re like us and have an inside dog or two, Skout’s honor is a must-have.
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.
Preparing for guests checklist
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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