Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Prepping for Guests

There are a lot of posts out there about how to make your guests feel comfortable.

Here's a confession.  This one is kind of bad. . . .

I don't worry too much about making them comfortable.  I'll put forth an effort, but not a huge one.  I worry more about being inconvenienced.  I have a routine and I like it.  I also don't much care for change, which is why my living room furniture is still arranged the same way it was when we moved into the house eight years ago.

Here's what I do for guests so that they're comfortable and I'm not inconvenienced.

First, we are lucky enough to have a spare bedroom with its own bath.  Someday, when the kids are older and I decide they shouldn't share a bathroom, I will probably move one of them in there.  For the time being, neither one can keep a bathroom neat and tidy, and I don't care to have one more mess in the house, so they are sharing.  This helps so that I don't have guests wandering the hall at night looking for a place to pee.  I'm a light sleeper and this would seriously freak me out.

In an effort to keep the guests from wandering at night, we have a television in the room.  They can shut their door, turn on their TV and be entertained. . . and I don't have to participate!  There's no awkward "whatever you want to watch" moments and I can go to sleep when I want to, instead of staying up and keeping them company in the living room while they watch David Letterman.

I also put out clean towels and have bottled water in a basket.   Even though I keep a stack of clean towels under the sink, I put out clean towels because we've had guests who refuse to go looking for things, even if I make a point to tell them where things are.  It's actually quite polite but I have to admit I'm a snooper.  I will look under your sink if I need a towel!

If I don't have bottled water handy, I will put a stack of dixie cups by the sink.  Guests get thirsty and having water in their room will keep them from wandering at night and freaking me out.

My sister can not see without her glasses.  After her first visit with us, she told me that I need to have a place next to the bed for guests to put things like glasses.  She used a chair while visiting us and, shortly after, I found this gem at a garage sale.  I've been meaning to refinish it (that's solid wood!!!) but I haven't gotten around to it.

I also stuck a lamp there because I know that I hate getting out of bed to turn out a light.  I also added a clock radio.  That probably isn't necessary but I had it.  Am I a great hostess or what?

One of the "necessities" is a power strip.  Everyone has a cell phone that needs charging.  Usually they have a laptop or tablet with them.  I don't have that many exposed outlets in the room and I used to have guests pulling out the furniture to get to an empty outlet.  A power strip fixes this.

I have another confession.  I get grossed out pretty easy.  I don't share my towels.  I wash my sheets and my pillows once a week.  I won't re-wear clothing without washing it.  I won't share my earrings, even with my daughter.  I also don't like sharing my bar soap.

I don't keep a big bar of soap in the guest shower because I don't like the idea of a communal bar of soap.  I keep these little samples on the sink for guest to help themselves to.  After they are gone, I toss the sliver that is left behind.  I will admit that I take the mini bar of soaps from my hotel room.  I know I'm not the only one. . . I've seen stacks of them at garage sales before.  If you don't travel or don't take the soaps when you do, you can get travel sizes at WalMart or buy in bulk on Amazon.
I also try to leave room in the closet.  The spare bedroom closet stores our off season clothes and, during the summer, has stacks and stacks of the blankets that are on our beds in the wintertime.  I always make sure to clear a space, just in case.

Sometimes, I will try to clean the closet but, generally, I don't bother.  Most of my guests know I'm a closet pig.

I also keep a spare blanket and pillows handy.  We keep our house cold in the winter and in the summer, the fans are all on.  I actually bring an extra blanket and pillow to homes I stay in because, often, I need an extra pillow and I'm cold.  Since it's summer, the spare blankets are stacked in my closet.  In the winter, I'd leave one out in plain sight.

Try to provide your guests with a place to hang wet towels.  If you don't have an extra bar in your bathroom, put up some hooks in the room.  Finding a place to put wet towels is hard; you don't want people draping them over anything that dampness could ruin or warp.  We've hung up cheap, 99 cent hooks in the wall behind the door.

My last suggestion for you is to make sure to put a plunger by the toilet that your guests will use the most.  My husband can tell you from experience that it is very embarrassing to have to quickly pull the back off the toilet, hold up the little dipper thingie and yell for someone to bring a plunger, especially if you don't know your hosts very well.  (Yes, it was pretty funny.)   If you have a plunger by the pot, you won't have to ever decide which bath towels to sacrifice to cleaning up the mess on the floor from an overflowing toilet.  There's just some things bleach won't take care of.  Ever.
That's about it!  Like I said, I don't worry too much about making guests comfortable. . . they may want to stay longer!  I do love a good visit but I also love the moment after everyone leaves and you can drop the smile, quit planning the next meal, and listen to the quiet. 

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