Tips for Preparing for House Guests

As you all know, or at least as you’ve been able to gather by looking through our blog, we are big on planning.  There are times when planning is less important, and times when it’s the only most important thing.  Trust me on this one: having house guests is one of those times when planning is absolutely essential.  I hope this post and the printable checklist at the end will make this process easy and enjoyable for you.

Most of the useful information in this post is found in the printable.  There you will find all of the tasks that are usually forgotten when hosting guests.  The printable includes all of the necessary tasks such as cooking and cleaning.  It also includes the extra effort you can take if you want to the guests to take back some great memories.

Do some deep cleaning

Whether your guests are coming for a few hours or a few days, one of the most important tasks to start off with is some deep cleaning of the house. No one likes dirt, dust and yellow stains around the bathroom and kitchen. It not only gives a gross feeling but also puts an impression on your guests that you don’t value hygiene. Give special attention to the tiles, toilet bowl, washing area and of course your portico and start your cleaning routine a few days before their arrival.

Check the bedroom

Once you have done the cleaning, it’s time to hit the bedroom and make it ready for the guests. Make sure you change the bed sheets and keep at least 2 pillows per guest. Keep 1-2 light blankets in the closet if you think the night gets chilly. Don’t forget to check if the lamp and night bulb is working. If you have an attached bathroom, place freshly washed towels and toiletries for the guests to worry less. If you wish to redecorate the room, make sure you don’t get over the board with too many things around the room. Keep it simple and useful. You can also make the room special by placing fresh flowers, candles in the room or by keeping your guest’s favourite magazine and snacks on the bedside table.

Sometimes, your guests might not come to spend the night but may want to take a nap or you might want to use the room for the kids to do their activities in one of the rooms.

Upgrade your kitchen stock

The next thing to focus on is the kitchen grocery. Depending on the preferences and duration of your guests visit, prepare a weekly menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Apart from the welcome meal which should be special, it is always my suggestion that you keep the menu consistent in the number of dishes. Don’t present too many things in the first few days and then lower the quality and quantity. Make a schedule and budget it accordingly.

Do your grocery ahead of time, and if possible, do some pre-cooking to save yourself from the last minute hassle. Additionally stock up some sweet and savory evening snacks such as pop-corns, ice-creams, drinks, juices and crisps for late night hunger pangs.

Make a plan

It’s always nice to search for some places where you can take your guests. Make a plan and inform your guests what you have in mind to entertain them. If you want to take them for a picnic or to the beach informing them prior will allow them to bring some appropriate clothes and shoes.  The days you don’t plan to go out, keep some activities ready to make memories at home.

Hosting and Entertaining

Usually, you will not only be hosting the houseguests, but you’ll also be entertaining them and serving as your city’s tour guide.  For this reason, you’ll need to plan both the logistics of having extra bodies to house and activities for them.  The printable checklist will help break down these processes, but you’ll want to remember that planning both is important.

Tips on Entertaining and Hosting House Guests

Visitors can be exciting and fun, but making time and energy for them in your hectic schedule can be challenging, especially if you want them to feel welcome. Whether you’re hosting in-laws, distant relatives, or old friends from college, these suggestions will help you get your home and yourself ready to welcome guests graciously and organize a great weekend that everyone, including yourself, will enjoy.

1. Provide Refreshments Upon Arrival

Food and drink are necessities when traveling. Set out a small snack on board with drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, and light snacks, such as cheese and fruit, so visitors don’t have to search for food and drinks as soon as they arrive at the party. This will ensure they can stay at the party to find something to eat or drink.

2. Offer a little welcome gift

Leave a small welcome present in your guest’s room to show them how much you appreciate their stay. You may include a sachet of tea, a paperback book, flyers of local museum activities, and newspaper clippings with movie listings. A beautiful flower arrangement in a vase is always appreciated. Send them a quick note to say hello.

3. Take the visitor on a tour of your home

Home interior image

After your guest is comfortable, politely open up a conversation about your property and allow them to look around by giving them a guided tour. One advantage of a guided tour is that you can direct guests’ attention to specific points of interest. Passages that have been tastefully decorated with family photos can be a perfect area to stop the tour and bring the guest into a chat about your travels and the milestones in your family’s life.

4. Enjoy some fresh air and enjoy some outdoor activities

It’s normal to feel stressed when unexpected guests arrive at your home. Find out when shows, concerts, movies, and museum exhibits will play. Plan an outside activity like a lengthy hike, bike ride, ice skating session at the local rink, or a picnic in the nearby park if the weather permits. If it’s too cool to go outside, take a trip to a nearby town and have lunch at a quaint cafe; go for a walk around the mall, or go to a recreation facility where everyone can use the equipment or participate in the activity they like.

5. Showcase some of the items in your collection

It takes significant dedication to make time for collecting and maintaining a collection in this age of smartphones and hectic job schedules. But if you have one, you should show it to your visitors. Choose a beautiful area of your home to display your collection before hosting guests. Any hobby, from stamp collecting to origami adventures to a passion for model cars, can be a window into your past and present.

6. Be Ready for Happy Hour, Anytime

Guests who have spent the day visiting, shopping, or playing sports will appreciate a well-stocked bar. But free to stock up on only some possible alcohol and mixer combinations; the standard drinks, such as beers, will do. Mixing drinks, you may need gin, dark rum, whiskey, scotch, bourbon, vodka, vermouth, and Cointreau. You may let your visitors play mixologist by providing a selection of fruit juices, tonic water, club soda, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, and diet and regular cola as mixers.

7. Enjoy a wonderful music selection

You can set the mood when entertaining at home with a mix of your favorite songs or some professionally performed instrumental music. There will be no awkward silence when you leave the room because your guests will continue talking and having a good time without you. Music, like other aspects, can be used to spark a discussion.

8. Provide a Cozy Space for Socializing Outside the House

Gather a few patio chairs around a small table or fire pit to create an outside lounge for morning coffee or evening drinks with friends and family. Alternatively, guests can use this quiet space to do private business, such as making or taking a phone call or checking email.

9. Involve the guest in preparing a simple dessert

Most visitors invited for a casual meal are happy to pitch in with some light housework, such as setting the table. It’s a great way to transition from “guest” to “friend” status while expressing appreciation to the host. When a visitor offers to help with dessert, the kitchen is a lovely spot to enjoy a quiet chat. Invite them over for a visual feast to build up their appetite for the delicious treats they will soon be consuming.

10. Prepare Buffet-Style Light Lunches

fruits and drinks image

When you have a big dinner planned, it can be helpful to have a simple lunch spread ready, such as a variety of bread, cheeses, deli meats, fresh fruit, vegetables, and a shared dessert. You may satisfy your hunger with this quick, easy dish that is nonetheless satisfying and light.

Don’t be too busy

The best way to make your guests uncomfortable is to do everything right in front of them and not give them time or attention. While you will try to do lots of things before the guests arrive, there will always be a lot more to do right on the spot. If your guests offer you some help, let them join in and you can enjoy the time together while the work gets done.

Emergency numbers

If you continue to work while your guests will be at home, make a list of helpline and emergency numbers to avoid panic. Either handover this list to your guests or keep it near the telephone for immediate use.

People chilling around fire in backyard

Household instructions

Guests that intend to stay for long eventually become part of your living and are a big help in your daily chores, especially when you are out for work. There is no harm to allow them to share your work if they are doing so willingly. Share with them the instructions as to how your home appliances work, what time the mail boy comes or how the alarm system works. Also, if there is a timetable that you all follow at home, inform the guests about it so that they prepare themselves beforehand.

Prepare kids at home

If you have children at home and they haven’t met the guests before, talk to them and tell them about the guests. Make them familiar even before they come and instruct them how you would want them to behave.

Train the pets

Not all pets like guests and not all guests like pets. If you are a pet lover and you have one at home, inform your guest about it. If you can’t keep the pet away for some time, train them for the guests to come and take special care for their maintenance.

Dog in the house

Keep welcome/good-bye gifts ready

If you wish to give your guests a welcome or good-bye present, think beforehand what you wish to buy, purchase it and package it before they come. Running to the mall, searching for a gift once they have arrived will definitely embarrass your guests.

A Note About Last Minute Guests

In this case, obviously, there’s less planning you can do.  The best bet here is to always be prepared for house guests, especially if you have teenagers.  When you’re able, keep extra snacks, clean sheets, clean towels, and extra hygiene products on hand (especially toothbrushes).  Doing this will alleviate a lot of the stress of last minute overnight guests.