Be My Guest

18 August 2009

{All images from Boatshed Chic}

So this evening J and I are expecting our very first non-family overnight guests. Being the type of person I am, I’ve been excitedly making preparations for the last week or so. My first step? Running to my over-stuffed files of magazine clippings filled with advice and just WAITING until I had a house of my own. I thought I’d share with you a few pieces of houseguest preparation wisdom I’ve saved over the years.

1. If you don’t have a spare bedroom, invest in an air mattress or a feather bed mattress pad that can be unrolled in an out-of-the-way corner.

2. Collect complimentary toiletries from hotels or stock up on sample sizes at the drugstore. The basics: a new bar of soap, shampoo, toothpaste, a toothbrush, a razor, and body lotion.

3. To keep track of towels and washcloths, provide a different color set for each guest so everyone can always identify his own.

4. Set out a selection of local maps and attraction information so your guests can explore on their own.

5. On a bedside table, place a single bloom in a simple vase, a nice clock, and a selection of books and magazines suited to your guests’ tastes.

6. To outfit the bed, Martha suggests: “Make up a double bed with four ample sleeping pillows — two medium or firm, and two soft — as well as two smaller pillows to prop up the head when reading. Use cotton or linen sheets, starched and ironed for hotel crispness. Provide both light and heavy blankets, as well as a lightweight throw for afternoon naps.”

7. Provide a small desk or cleared tabletop and stock it with pens, pencils, notecards, postcards, and stamps.

8. Place a pitcher of spring water and a glass or a water bottle in the room.

9. Consider your guests’ food preferences, and make sure your kitchen is appropriately stocked. Show guests where to find snacks, drinking glasses, and utensils, and encourage them to help themselves.

Most important? I love what Martha had to say about hosting houseguests: “Creating spaces for guests in your home involves more than providing a comfortable place to sleep; it’s an opportunity to make people feel welcome and ensure that their time spent with you is memorable.” Obviously some of these tips are more basic and some are more elaborate, but the intended effect is the same.

So how have I done with these tips, you ask? Let’s see:

I’m lucky enough to have a spare bedroom and an air mattress, though I don’t quite have Martha’s collection of pillows. I made sure to provide an extra throw at the foot of the bed. I’ve set out a bowl with sample sizes of my favorite toiletries, though I don’t have extra toothbrushes or razors. I washed, folded, and arranged washcloths and towels, and have put a luggage stand at the side of the bed for easy suitcase access.

I LOVE the idea of setting out postcards from local attractions but haven’t had the chance to pick any up yet – I might just set out some notecards, instead, though I don’t think that’s quite as fun. I picked some flowers for the table on our evening walk yesterday.

And my personal favorite? Our guestbook is ready and waiting. My family has always had guestbooks at our summer cottage, and we have spent many hours over the years looking back at what we and our guests wrote and how our handwriting changed. So, so fun.

Check back later today for one last project I undertook to get ready for our guests.

Most tips from Real Simple and Martha, I think, though some of the sources have been lost.

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August 18, 2009 3:47 pm

I wish I was your guest!

August 18, 2009 8:21 pm

Um, who is your guest? And how come only non-family gets the royal treatment, huh?

August 19, 2009 4:03 pm

All guests get the royal treatment! I just meant it was exciting to have non-family guests… as WELL as family guests! You just wait until October…

Anna M
August 21, 2009 5:49 am

As the guest, I must say the execution of this post in real life was exquisite.. I used the extra toiletrees multple times during my visit and siging the guestbook at the end of the visit was the perfect ending to a great visit!

Emily W
August 21, 2009 4:24 pm

As guest number two, I also enjoyed welcoming and warm atmosphere created by our blogger. It was a great visit, and I hope to come back again soon!

August 25, 2009 4:59 am

Y'all are too cute. Come back soon, okay?