If you’ve got out-of-town guests heading in, chances are you’ve had at least one moment of panic. Here are some easy-to-implement ideas for guests of various ages and setting up easy-to-customize meals.
It can happen at any point in time: out-of-town friends or relatives heading into town, and they're asking to stay with you. Well, there's no need to panic (or send them to the crummy hotel on the outskirts of town), because with a little prep work, having houseguests doesn't even have to be stressful. In fact, playing host can be a rewarding way to slow down and catch up with the people you care about.
Here are a few easy-to-implement ideas that will make your home feel more like a cozy B&B.
Make a central calendar for guests and family to check regularly. You can use a chalkboard, whiteboard, or a bulletin board with pushpins – but the idea is to get meal times, outings, and grocery suggestions in a common area. (You can even use Post-it Notes stuck on a door, for that matter – the important thing is that everyone knows to check one single location so they know the day's plans.)
Freshen up bedding before guests arrive. Sheets that have been on a bed for six months get musty, even if no one's slept on them. So a quick tumble through the washer and dryer is essential. Then, help guests' bedding stay blissfully fresh by slipping Food Lion Mountain Fresh or Spring Fresh dryer sheets between the blankets. Another tip: Keep extra comforters and throws sitting out in bedrooms (or living rooms turned into bedrooms) – you don't want guests to have to rummage through closets for bedding if they get chilly at night.
Light a candle. There's few things more calming than walking into a freshly scented home. To create an instantly welcoming atmosphere, use seasonal candles from Glade. Or, go old-school and simmer some seasonal spices (think cinnamon and nutmeg for winter, pumpkin for fall, citrus and vanilla for spring and summer). Your home will smell like a Williams Sonoma ad come to life.
Stock your guestroom with an assortment of books, magazines, and other goodies. Can you think of anything better than relaxing on the couch, curled up with a good book? Neither can your guests. Also, make sure to leave an assortment of goodies by the bedside table (think water bottles, Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea bags, Food Lion Naturals microwave popcorn, KIND fruit and nut bars.) Guests will appreciate having a private stash of late-night munchies, and won't need to traipse through the kitchen looking for snacks.
Place several baskets of fresh toiletry items in the bathroom. Your guests will feel like they've wandered into a swanky hotel when they see this simple but thoughtful detail. It can include: a couple brand new washcloths; fresh, wrapped bars of Nature's Place soap; toothbrushes and travel-sized toothpaste; small bottles of shampoo and conditioner; and soothing lotions like Suave Lavender Vanilla. Don't forget to leave extra towels out where guests can quickly spot them. (Also, clue them in to your preferred method of dealing with wet towels – do you hang them and use over again? Toss down a clothes chute or into a hamper?)
Graciously accept offers of help. Houseguests will feel good about contributing, so have an answer ready when they say “What can I do to help?" Suggest a small task (nothing too time-consuming or gross, like scouring the stove or cleaning gunk out of the shower drain!) Some ideas: Contribute a side dish to a meal, or corral kids' shoes and other belongings at the end of the night. (Best bet is to take an empty laundry basket and do a sweep of the main living area, tossing any loose items into the basket.)
With these tips in mind, you'll be able to relax and actually enjoy your company during the holidays.