No Stress! Prepare for House Guests!

Included in this article:

  • Plan ahead
  • Four simple things to remember
  • Special touches

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your old college roomie, a favorite gad-about aunt or [whimper] your mother-in-law, when you have a houseguest coming you want to make the very best impression possible. And the way to do that is with flawless preparation… I have a few useful tips to get you started. (Read more.)

It pays to plan ahead.

The whole point of inviting friends and family to come visit is so you can leisurely enjoy their company. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, rental movies, family game night, and late night hot chocolate – you’re in it to win it. But the visit won’t be very relaxing if you’re running around the whole time trying to get things done so advance preparation is key.

Think S.T.A.Y

  1. Space. You need a place for your guest to sleep. An extra bedroom is a luxury but if you don’t have one you can even put your guest up on a sofa and make her comfortable. Give everything a good dusting, including sofa cushions. Wash the bedding, and take blankets or comforters outside for a little air. Stash papers and clutter. Arrange things in a way to provide some empty space in the closet and bathroom; this will go a long way to making your guests feel at home.
  2. Taste.  Do a little research. What does your guest like? Is she a morning person who craves orange juice, bacon and the morning news? Or is she a night owl who prefers a good mystery novel and a cup of hot cocoa?  Either way, stock up on her favorite items and she will be amazed at your attention to detail.
  3. Activities. Most visitors will want to do a little sight-seeing in addition to your house or apartment. Make up a list of local activities; include closing times and transportation accommodations in case you won’t be able to go along.
  4. You. Your guest is coming to stay with you so make yourself as available as much as possible. If you can’t take off work during her visit at least try to plan time for special activities.

Special touches

Buy new pillows and high thread count bedding if possible. You can find these things on sale cheap enough these days and it’s more than just a luxury.

Stock up on small versions of toiletries such as toothbrushes, soap and shampoo in case your guest happened to forget these items.  Place an extra box of tissues and additional rolls of toilet paper in an obvious spot.  When getting ready for guests, it’s the small things that make a difference.

Accommodate your guest by having an extra set of house keys made for them so you won’t have to worry about their comings and goings

A welcome communication

Plan a light schedule for down time as well as activities, but prepare to be flexible.  House guests generally only stay for a few days so even if your schedule is interrupted it won’t be forever. Lunch and dinner out can be event driven opportunities.  Plan a stop at a local attraction but skip that movie out.  You can go to a movie anywhere; instead try to show your friends something unique in your community.  Have a guidebook handy and flag places and activities that may interest your guests.

If you like to entertain, and your guests are in the mood for some social interaction, throw a barbecue and invite the neighbors.  For some more ideas see my journal entry on Outdoor Entertaining [].


Most importantly, don’t get too obsessed.  Find time to chat, unwind and laugh.

For other information on getting ready for guests, take a look at this online resource from The Los Angeles Times:  The good host: Think of essentials and more for guests