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How to Prepare Your Home for Houseguests

Written by Savannah Marie, Community Blogger | Feb 24, 2014 2:26 PM

Being able to host family members and friends who pass through town is one of the greatest joys of living in a new city. In the next few weeks, my sister will be visiting me during her spring break from Cortland College. When I first heard the news I was like, “Awesome! Sisters reunited once again!” Then I realized that my apartment was in no shape to play host to anyone – including my little sister. My apartment is currently in a state of disarray. My dining room table is covered with equal parts newspaper and greasy car parts thanks to my husband’s desire to buy a “fixer-upper”, my guest bedroom doubles as a cluttered office and my storage closets are filled to the brim with boxes from my move. I know what you must be thinking: “She’s been living here for 5 months, when is she going to get organized?” Well, my friends, the answer is sometime between now and when my sister visits. Here are some tips to get me started!


Clean the Guest Area

This probably goes without saying, but there’s no better way to welcome guests into your home than with a fresh-smelling place to rest their heads. Clearly, this means that you should launder all of the bed and bathroom linens that they’ll be using.

But you should also be sure to vacuum — especially if you have pets, like my white-haired lab, and regardless of whether you have hardwood floors or carpets — dust off the furniture, and clean the bathroom they’ll be using. When you’re finished, place a scented candle on the nightstand and in the bathroom to waft a gentle yet noticeable scent for the duration of their visit.


It’s probably best to clear out at least a portion of the closet so that visitors can hang and organize their clothes


Empty Closet or Drawer Space

Many people designate the guest room’s closet as their own personal storage space – I’m guilty of this; however, when your guests roll into town, it’s probably best to clear out at least a portion of the closet so that visitors can hang and organize their clothes. Alternatively, if there’s not a closet, clear out the chest of drawers or dresser so that they can use them instead.

Of course, your guests could be catching their Z’s on a couch or air mattress in a room that hasn’t got storage available. There’s no need to call in a construction crew to build you a new closet, though; consider investing in a garment rack that you can roll out when someone’s in town; collapse and store it the rest of the time.

Outfit the Bedroom

Your guests will certainly be grateful for whatever you give them to sleep on, whether it’s a top-of-the-line memory foam bed or an air mattress. Regardless of where they’ll lay down each night, you should be sure to have two pillows for each guest: one soft and one firm, so that they can create a combination that they find comfortable. It’s also a good idea to invest in a few thin blankets to put in your guest room so that each visitor can layer as many or as few on as they deem necessary for cozy sleeping.

Another nice gesture: Decorate the bedroom with thoughtful accessories, such as potted flowers and a handful of magazines that you know your guests will enjoy leafing through. Finally, if the bathroom isn’t directly attached to the room where your visitors will be sleeping, you should be sure to invest in a few nightlights to softly light the way should they need to pop into the restroom in the middle of the night.

Stock the Kitchen

While most of your preparation will take place in the guest bedroom and bathroom, you shouldn’t forget to stock your kitchen before people arrive. It’s always a good idea to have an array of beverages on hand. For example, breakfast alone could incorporate milk, orange juice, coffee, and tea, not to mention the fixings that finish off the latter two options.

To make this process easier on yourself, you could ask your guests before they arrive what kind of beverages they prefer to drink, what they like to snack on, etc.; it’s also imperative that you ask if they have any food allergies so that you can avoid potentially dangerous reactions. What you purchase also depends on which meals you plan on preparing in-house and which you will enjoy at a local restaurant.

Alright Saige, the linens will be fresh, the fridge will be stocked, the closets will still be full of my boxes but you wear my clothes, anyway. I hope you’re ready to spend spring break ’14 in central PA!

If any readers have suggestions on things to do during my sister’s visit, please share in the comments!

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  • claudzilla5 img 2014-03-06 09:53

    Check out hiking trails in the area, in hopes of decent weather for outdoor activities. And of course check events calendars for bands and other types of performances. Between Harrisburg, York and Lancaster, you'll find things to do every day.

    You offered some good tips - both for guests and just in general. If you aim to have your house close to "guest-ready" all the time, there will be less clutter in your everyday space, which always makes me feel less stressed and more able to be productive.

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