7 Things The Best Overnight Guests Always Do, Every Time They Stay Over

published Dec 8, 2019
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Credit: Liz Calka

Holidays mean time with loved ones, and sometimes, staying with them. This is usually a welcome way to spend time together, but it’s also intimate, and can run the risk feeling like a bit too much of a good thing. Hopefully you don’t know this from experience, but the only thing worse than having difficult guests is being a guest who feels like an imposition.

It’s a delicate balance of consideration and graciousness on the side of both the guests and the hosts, but being mindful, no matter what side of the equation you find yourself on, goes a long way in avoiding friction.

Here’s a list of ways to make sure you’re doing your part to be the best guest you can be:

Leave the bathroom clean

Whether it’s a dedicated guest suite or one shared with regular members of the household, make sure to pick up after yourself in the bathroom. Look behind you after taking a shower and swipe up any hair with a small wad of toilet paper. Keep toiletries in your bags or neatly arranged on the counter if there’s space. Hang wet towels, and keep dirty clothes with your suitcase.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh

Observe what your hosts do, and do the same

If everyone takes off their shoes at the door, even if you haven’t been asked to do the same, do it. The same goes for any other ways of the household.

Contain your things

Do your best to keep your things confined to the space your hosts have given you. This includes not only coats, shoes, and suitcases, but also your laptop, phone chargers, and water bottle. At the end of the day, or as soon as you’re done with them, take your things out of the common areas. The idea is to keep your host’s space as clutter-free as it was before you got there. If you must leave some of your things in your hosts’ space, like storing something perishable in the fridge, make sure you ask if it’s okay and see if your hosts have any preferences about how and where you keep your stuff.

Communicate your plans

Your hosts want you to have a good time and they want to take care of you. They may plan meals or outings. If you make plans to do things on your own or meet another out-of-town friend for brunch one day, make sure to give your host as much notice as possible so they can make their own plans. Remember to consider the amount of time you’re spending with your hosts; you don’t want them to feel like you’re treating their house like a hotel.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

Ask before you pitch in

You definitely want to help out at the house by joining in household tasks like clearing the table and doing dishes. But check before you make yourself too at home, even if you’re helping. Asking something along the lines of, “How do you like the dishes done?” shows you’re serious about pitching in, but considerate of not overstepping. It also gives your host a graceful way to let you know how they prefer to have things done so your help is actually helpful.

Credit: Minette Hand

Empty your own trash

Before you leave, empty your bathroom garbage can and any other trashcans you used into the main trash bin. It’s nicer not to leave trash behind for your host to take care of and it’s one less thing for them to do after you’ve left.

Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Apartment Therapy

Check before you strip sheets

Some hosts prefer to leave guest beds made and wash bedding on their own timetable. Others appreciate it when guests strip their own sheets and toss bedding and towels in the washer before they leave. The key here is communication. Ask what they prefer instead of making assumptions.