When a guest sleeps over, …

My husband and I, and even our son, love inviting people to come over to stay or to have dinner with us. For this reason, we bought an apartment with one extra room for guests.

Now .. guests have different characters. Some do enjoy the pleasure of staying with a friend so they can save hotel cost or simply because they enjoy spending time with you because you’re their close friend or relative.

On the other hand, some guests may not so much enjoy staying over at someone’s house because they feel that they might cause inconvenience to you, or because they feel they will have less privacy. But some times, even this type of people need to stay with a friend because they can’t get a hotel room, or their flight is canceled so they need to stay longer.

Regardless of the characteristics of your guests, there are simple things you can do to make your house more welcoming to your  guests without causing you too much trouble. Moreover, the things we’re sharing below will also serve that need for privacy to your guests even though they’re sharing your space.

Below are the things we usually do before and after our guests arrive:

Before the guests arrive:

1. Put out a clean bed sheet, make the bed, and ensure the room is clean. A guest room which hardly gets used would collect dust, so don’t stop at just making the bed. Make sure the bed, counter tops and floors are dust-free . Furthermore, if you keep some of your belongings that you might need in the guest room (we keep our extra hangers and iron there), take them out and keep them in your room for a few days. This way, you don’t need to knock on your guest’s door just to get an extra box of tissue or hair dryer :-

2. Prepare a clean set of towels and a set of toiletry kit. We usually collect hotel toiletries so we have soaps, shampoo, conditioner, shower cap, body lotion and dental kit for our guests’ use. We also put out towels for them, so just in case they forget to bring a toothbrush or a towel and there’s no shop around the house, they don’t feel like they’re troubling you for using your towel or making you take out a new toothbrush for them.

3. Make sure your house is clean and tidy. A clean and tidy house will make the house feel welcomed. If your house is messy when the guests arrive, the guests can feel that their presence is not really wanted there, or that you don’t have time to do housework – let alone entertaining an extra guest. Guests who feel like this won’t feel at your place, and might end up moving to a hotel. We have actually experienced having our guests moving to a hotel after three days because. The house was indeed a mess when they arrived, and they came at a time when my son was sick so I couldn’t really pay much attention to the guests.

After the guests arrive:

4a. Ask them what their plans are in your city. If they’ve figured out what to do (which means … they don’t ask you to tour them around):

  • Tell them how to go from your place to their destinations and back. We usually give our guests a printout of our house address and how to get there, taxi booking number, bus and subway routes / numbers that pass our house
  • If possible, give the guests a key to your house so you don’t have to wait for them to go home every night, or be in the house every time they say they will return home
  • Provide a tourist map in the guest room. This can be super useful

4b. If you and the guests have agreed that you will tour them around, discuss the following:

  • The things they want to do and see (museum? Stage plays? Shopping? Beach? Lazying around in the house?), then work out a tour-around schedule that will match your other commitments (work, kids, school, etc.)
  • Whether or not you and your guests will always leave the house and come home together. If there is a possibility that the guests would have to meet you at your work place / school / somewhere in the city, tell them how to get there. The same principle applies if you can’t drive them home afterwards … let them know in advance, and tell them how they can get home from the place where you’re going to drop them off

5. Show them where you keep your coffee, tea, bread, cups, plates, etc. We always do this to our guests because we are not early risers, and chances are our guests will get up before we do. We don’t want them to starve while waiting for us to get up (because we don’t usually have breakfast!), so we let them know that they are free to use anything we have in the kitchen to make breakfast. In addition, since we do receive guests quite frequently, we now label every drawer and cabinet in the kitchen so our guests know where to find the cooking pots, plates, bowls, spices etc. without having to knock on our door.

6. If you have some important rules in your house, let them know about it before / once they arrive. For example, people absolutely can’t smoke in our house. People will not get drunk in our house – we will limit the amount of alcohol we serve to ensure that no one gets drunk. No swear words. If everyone dines at home, it will usually happen around 7pm. It is important to pass on this info to the guests especially if you have children, because if you impose these rules on your kids but not on the guests, they might think that you are inconsistent (at best), or just downright mean (at worse) 🙂

7. If you live in an apartment complex that has a pool, gym and other facilities, let the guests know about it and tell them how to use them (do you need to book? What’s the operational hours? Do you need to bring an ID? Etc.)

The above tips seem a lot and a hassle at a glance. But trust me, these are all routine activities that will only take a few minutes of your time but will benefit you in a great way. For sure, your guests will feel more at home when you do this, while at the same time you won’t be overburdened by extra tasks.

Try them and let me know how it goes! 🙂

~ by elinski on February 24, 2009.

One Response to “When a guest sleeps over, …”

  1. Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.

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