Skip to main content

20 Things…you can do to make your guests more comfortable.

20 Things…you can do to make your guests more comfortable.

My family is from the Midwest and my female elders have always been very serious about how a houseguest should be treated. I am going to take a shot at their old prep list and incorporate a few modern ideas as well. This is stuff that people have been forgetting to teach their kids for the past couple of generations. Modern beliefs tend to label manners as stuffy. I don’t think that being polite is being stuffy; I think that being polite is being nice.

1.     Clean the house. I know that this is a “duh” statement, but really, clean it.
2.     Fresh cleaned sheets on the guest bed and fresh clean towels. Ideally, there should be a guest bathroom where you can hang the towels before your guests arrive. If it is a shared bathroom, as in our case, I usually leave the clean towels on the guest’s bed or on a dresser in the guest room where they can be found easily.
3.     In the bathroom there needs to be soap, shampoo, and conditioner in the shower. There should be tissues, hand soap, lotion, cotton balls, and q-tips on the sink. There should be an extra hairdryer available as well, usually under the sink.
4.     TOILET PAPER! Especially if there are several guests visiting, toilet paper goes fast. There needs to be extra paper in the bathroom that is easy to find. Either under the sink or in a visible place like a basket beside the toilet. It is also polite to keep a box of tampons under the sink for female guests.
5.     In case they are needed. You should keep a stock of extras. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, contact cases, dental floss, lotion, razors, and saline are items often forgotten in travel. Keep these things on hand.
6.     Lighting is important. There should be night-lights in the guestroom, guest bath, and in the hallway. It is difficult to find your way in a strange place in the dark, and guests don’t want to risk waking anyone by turning lights on all over the place.
7.     White noise. Always make sure that the guest room has a loud fan available. Some people cannot get a good night’s sleep without blocking out the noises of a strange place. Fans also provide climate control.
8.     In my grandmother’s generation, it was a telephone and stationary. In this generation there need to be unused outlets that are easy to find, usually next to the bed, for plugging in cell phone and laptop chargers. You don’t want your guest to have to unplug the lamp.
9.     Nighttime comforts. It is important to keep a box of tissues in the guest room as well as bottled water, and possibly a late snack like an apple or some individually packaged cookies or crackers.  
10. There needs to be a menu planned when you are expecting houseguests. If guests are arriving around dinnertime, dinner should be ready when they are expected.  The menu should be flexible, especially if they are staying for several days because your guests will probably want to eat out. Make sure that you have the ingredients on hand for some planned meals though, and if you don’t cook, make sure that you have good take out menus available.
11. Medicine cabinet. You need to make sure that you have a first aid kit on hand. In addition there should be ibuprofen, cough syrup, ant-acid, and allergy medicine in the cabinet.
12. Breakfast. Make sure that you have something available for breakfast, and make sure that you have coffee and tea, cream and sugar on hand.
13. Oddities. Every house has its quirks and it is hard to remember to fill visitors in on all of them. A good idea is to make a neat list, get it laminated, and keep it in the guest bedroom in plain sight. For example:  The screen door sticks, jiggle it a little and it will open right up. There are fire extinguishers in the hall closet and the kitchen pantry. Don’t worry about the fish, he rarely moves, he isn’t dead. The shower handle is on upside down; turn it to the right instead of the left for hot water.
14. Dietary concerns. Find out if your guests are on a special diet and attempt to be accommodating. There are so many different ones these days that it is difficult, but it is still considerate to try.
15. Keep an ashtray available outside. Even if you don’t smoke, your guests might, and wouldn’t you rather provide them with an ashtray than have them leave cigarette butts in your backyard?
16. Entertainment. It is nice to have a television available in your guest room. In this day and age there are a lot of people who are in the habit of going to sleep with the television on. If not, make sure that you stock a few magazines and books in the guest bedroom.
17. Be familiar with your area.  Know a few great local places to go out to eat.  Have an idea where there is good shopping, or a place to entertain the kids. If you have a great museum, or a beach, or a zoo nearby be able to tell your guests all about it.
18. Leave plenty of downtime. Don’t over plan the visit if your guests are planning their trip primarily to visit with you. Leave lots free of time to sit around and catch up. If your guests are on vacation, they probably want to relax anyhow.
19. Have extra house keys. If you need to be away from the house and your guests want to run errands at the same time then you need to have extra keys available for them.
20. Let your guests help out. Most guests will offer to help clean up the kitchen, or to take you out for dinner. Accept these offers gracefully, you are opening up your home and your guests appreciate it!

If you are reading this and laughing at it, knowing that there is no way I can pull this all off…believe me I know. It’s not easy. We have been living in three bedroom houses with our three kids since they were born. No guest room for us…not yet. Definitely no guest bath; I dream of one, but my youngest daughter would have the guest toiletries painted all over the walls in five minutes. One of these days though…


Popular posts from this blog

20 Things…you learn after moving to Florida.

20 Things…you learn after moving to Florida.
1.There is a big difference between a roach and a palmetto bug. Real roaches are the guys from New York. They infest, they are spooky smart, they are dirty and nasty, and you have to work really hard to get rid of them. Palmetto bugs however, are big and creepy and dumb. You usually see them outside at night and they will fly right at your face. They don’t infest because they are native and they can’t survive in our AC temps. 2.Every public indoor place will always be frigid. Most of your friend’s houses will be as well. I take a sweater with me almost everywhere that I go, and if I forget to I regret it. 3.Outside of weather emergencies, weathermen are superfluous. In the rainy season, which is most of the time, there is an eighty percent chance of rain, every single day. The weather man has no idea what time it will rain, how hard, or for how long, and there is no way for him to predict it. You just have to go out there with your fingers cr…

Resolve to be Happy

1. Stay In

2. Read Books

3. Let it go to Voice Mail

4. Write a Letter

5. Dance

6. Invest in Mood Lighting

7. Have Dinner with Friends 

8. Take Walks

9. Bake

10. Breathe Deeply

11. Enjoy your Morning Coffee

12. Play Board Games

13. Hug your Pillows

14. Adopt a New Ritual

15. Look Around

16. Give a Gift

17. Happy Cry

18. Smile at Strangers

19. Cuddle

20. Savor Small Portions

21. Stretch

22. Take Pictures

23. Use Profanity Freely

24. Give Hugs

25. Listen Carefully

26. Beautify your Space

27. Share your Favorite Movie 

28. Laugh Generously

29. Accept Gifts Gratefully 

30. Give Thanks


I actually really dislike Oprah Winfrey as a talk show host and television personality.

I was home with my kids when they were babies and I had her show on a lot. Then at one point I remember her and her friend going into a Walmart and just cracking up over the fact that they were so frigging isolated by their current wealth that they didn’t understand how things worked there. Like the way that the plastic hangers operated or something…

I remember being absolutely disgusted at their behavior. Not only that someone who presents her life story as having grown up in poverty would turn around and make fun of the fact that she doesn’t understand how people who are not as well off as her would live, but additionally to think that her audience is so much less intelligent than she is that not one of us would be offended by her behavior.

Well I was, and I haven’t watched a thing that woman has put out in the past ten years.

I do think she is a brilliant actress though, even so, I couldn’t watch …