I’ve hosted guests overnight multiple times over the years but since moving in September of 2017 I have not had any guests visit us (besides my mom, and she’s not high maintenance). In a few months though that will change. We are going with a handful of friends on a cruise and they are coming the day or night before to sleep at my place before going to port in the morning. It is a sort of perk (or pain depending on how you look at it) to live near enough to the Fort Lauderdale and Miami cruise ports so that when friends go on a cruise they stop in to say hi and hitch a ride to the ships. Mostly a perk.
We’ve housed a few friends on their way to a cruise and this time, this time it is our turn to go with. But, I’ll talk more about cruises and prepping for them, activities, whatever at a later date.
Getting back on track, soon I will have to host guests for the first time in my new place. I’ve got a lot of planning and prepping to do after having given away or thrown out all our stuff in the move from Dubai to Florida. I’m a big believer of “Practice what you preach” and I run a travel blog. I’ve always wanted a nice guest room and stuff for visitors to use, now I have to (and want to!) step up my game and put things in order.
A note on this, I can’t go out and buy the fanciest furniture and decor right away for guests (heck, I do not even have dinning room chairs yet) but I get the essentials and things that are most important. The fluffy stuff will fall into place later on when I have more funds for it. I am SURE I am not the only one who is in this situation, so just take your time! You don’t have to have a magazine cover home or guest room right from the start. Baby steps.
So what does it take to host guests like you’ve done it a million times?
Most important thing to do.
All the junk that clutters your kitchen counter needs to go. The bags of old stuff that should have been dropped off at Salvation Army weeks ago needs to actually be dropped off. Your ceiling fans that have a thick layer of dust on the top and edges have got to be wiped off. Just clean! Like a hotel, imagine you walk into a room and the sheets look weird, there is a funky smell, papers all over the place. . . you would be grossed out and not want to stay there. Same thing, make someone feel invited and have your home be clean (at least for the few days they are there).
Run your washing machine like crazy, throw all your crap into a box or two and put it in your room for the duration of your visitors stay. If you are like me then you’ll actually clean things the proper way but if you aren’t OCD just do what it takes. Your guests will not stay forever (hopefully).
Story: Let me start by saying I am not perfect (shocker). Sometimes people come over and my house is dirty and they might use the bathroom and get to smell and see whatever my little boys have left in there without telling me. There are some residences I will not go to for long hours because I know the bathroom is always gross. I’ve been in homes where dog hair would get kicked up by the AC and land on my plate at mealtimes. I’ve had to clean a bathroom before I felt comfortable enough to to put my butt on the toilet seat. It happens. But try not to be that person!
If you want people to visit you, clean your home! (I can’t help but laugh at this because I hope I don’t miss some gross mess my kids make for a visitor to find)
Some essentials and things that are kind of nice to have available for your guests.
For those who do not offend easily: My husband suggests you stock some single use adult items. If your visitors are in a relationship, chances are they will want to strengthen that while on vacation. Unless they have kids with them, suckers.
(If they have kids I would suggest having a foldable crib handy and stroller. Yard sales and thrift stores are awesome for these things)
I like to keep all the extra stuff in the bathroom if possible. I bought some basic baskets from Aldi to put everything in. I got some towels from Ikea while on sale and some others from Target with a Cartwheel app coupon. The travel size items are all from Target although they have the same stuff at Walmart.
It sucks to be traveling and you get to your destination and there is nothing to eat. I’m sure it kind of goes without saying that you should grocery shop before your visitors arrive, but there’s a little more too it to consider.
Does anyone have any allergies or food restrictions? Also, they might not like the exact things you usually buy, so stock a little more variety – like if you only buy apple juice maybe grab a thing of orange juice. Another example, my father-in-law doesn’t like syrup so we make sure to have jam for breakfasts.
Aside from thinking outside your usual box, know when to call for pizza. If you were cooking for your visitors and the meal burns horribly, know when to throw in the towel and get some pies. No shame in that, most people like pizza anyways.
This may make the most difference of anything mentioned previously.
You can be in a super nice home with all the fixings but as soon as someone starts shouting and fighting no one wants to be around. I’ve run into a lot of confrontational situations. Someone slamming things around the kitchen. Judgmental comments on actions, dress, personality. Things can get ugly.
It always helps me to remember that if it were me on vacation, I would like to relax and be comfortable. I try to keep arguments to a minimum when I have guests in my home.
I also do not expect my guests to lift a finger while visiting. If they offer to help with dishes or sweeping I may take them up on the offer. But, I wont get mad at them if they leave a plate on the table. They can leave the sheets on the bed. I try to remember that if it were me on vacation, I would probably be tired from the travel and the trip is meant to be relaxing and fun. (Even if the visitors are family) It’s not their home, it’s mine and they are guests.
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