Organize & Clean

How To Prepare for Out-Of-Town Guests

published Dec 9, 2015
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(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

Winter is upon us, and it’s the time of year when many family members and friends are on the move, ready to make the most of your spare room, fold-out bed, and/or sofa. If you’ve agreed to be a host this year, here’s a checklist that will help you stay on top of your guest preparations.

Obviously, depending on the size of your home and the (in)formality of your guests, your hosting style will differ. The items on this checklist may not all apply, but they will hopefully offer some helpful reminders.

  • Tidy the house. Sweep the floors, do the dishes, wipe down the surfaces, and clean the bathroom that your guest will be using. If you don’t have time to clean your whole place, focus on common areas that will be shared.
  • Freshen the linens. Put fresh sheets on the bed, and leave some fresh towels for your guests.
  • Have a spare key ready. If your guest wants to explore, go for a jog, or take care of an errand, it’s nice to have a spare key for them. That way you aren’t sitting around waiting on each other all the time.
  • Buy some breakfast food. When I’ve had guests stay, I’ve noticed that they tend to be more resourceful for lunch and dinner, so even if you aren’t planning on eating all your meals together, having some breakfast foods handy is always a good idea. Stock up on fruit, juice, eggs, bread, jam, and extra coffee to offer your guests some simple options.
  • Prep an info sheet with vital information. You don’t have to go whole hog, providing maps and restaurant recommendations—after all, you aren’t running an Airbnb. But it’s a nice and efficient gesture to leave a slip of paper in the guest’s room with the WiFi password and any important phone numbers.
  • Check your toilet paper supply. Having an extra roll on hand (and in a visible location, not stashed away in a closet) will ensure that your guests don’t run into any awkward private moments.
  • Address any unwanted odors. When you live in a place, you inevitably get used to the ambient odors—but your guests will come into your home with a fresh sense of smell. Make sure that you’ve addressed any pet odor issues and that you’ve taken out the trash before they arrive.
  • Corral any toiletries, supplies, or trinkets that you want them to have. If you’ve got spare shampoo, travel guides, or candies that you’d like your guests to have access to, make sure they’re handy.

For more tips, check out these helpful posts: