You’ve finally found – and moved into – that insanely hip apartment in the city and now your family and friends want to come visit you and check out the new scene. While the thought of houseguests may send you into an anxiety-filled panic, believe it or not, visitors can be an enjoyable and fun experience if you take a few steps ahead of time in preparation. You can feel ready and relaxed and your guests will feel warm and welcome in your awesome pad.
You already know the obvious – the linens need to be clean and you should have some food and drink in the fridge. But beyond the basics, there are some very simple things you can do to make the event stress-free and even a pleasure!
Make a Checklist
The ultimate way to feel in control of the situation and keep track of your preparations for your impending guests is to make a guest checklist. Put on this list everything you need to do before arrival day (hint – like the things listed in the rest of this article). Some no-brainers include those linens, clean towels, a working lamp, a trash can, and maybe their favorite teas and snacks.
Make sure to also write down or program into your device any relevant travel-related information – do you have to pick your guest(s) up from the airport, and if so, what day and time? Also, record any information on plans for shows you’ll see or other events you’ll attend during the visit.
Now, on to the information to add to your all-important list:
- Have an extra key made – make sure that if you have a doorman, they know who your guests are and when they’ll be arriving and leaving. If possible, choose a spot to hide your spare key so that they can get in if they arrive while you’re out of the house.
- Ask about dietary restrictions or preferences – you don’t have to provide an entire complex menu for that friend who’s doing paleo, but having a few appropriate snacks available that are on their “yes” list is an easy and touching gesture that will mean a lot when your guest gets the inevitable munchies.
- Test out the air mattress – if you don’t have a spare room and your guest will be sleeping on an air mattress, it’s time to pull it out of storage or the closet, or wherever you stuck it after the last time you used it and blow it up to make sure there are no leaks. If there are, you can purchase patch kits at any major chain big box store.
- Have extra toiletries available – whether you’ve collected hotel extras or you have to run to the drug store and pick some up, those little travel shampoos, conditioners, and soaps make life a lot easier for both you and your guest. Be sure to have an extra brand new toothbrush on hand as well.
- Create a list of functional details – if you’ll have to be at work during the day, leaving your guest to their own devices, make sure you leave a list with information such as the WiFi password, instructions for the remote control, and directions for turning the alarm system on and off should they want to step out while you’re away.
- Phone numbers – leave a list of these as well. It might seem like overkill but in the event of an emergency your guest will need quick access to things like the nearest urgent care, and even the phone number of someone else close to you in case they can’t get in touch with you in a serious situation.
- Local 411 – also useful if you’re heading out to work for the day – subway maps, local attraction brochures, good eats nearby, anything that might be of interest or useful should your guest fancy some wandering.
- Reading material – supply the nightstand with a few books or magazines. It’s hard enough sleeping when away from home, but trying to be quiet while rifling through someone else’s house for reading material can be a very uncomfortable feeling. Take the awkwardness out of it for them by providing some interesting reading.
- Free up outlet space in the guest area – it seems like a simple touch but is something we don’t really think about right offhand. Particularly after traveling, those devices will need charging and guests are often left in a pickle wondering “Which thing should I unplug in order to plug my phone in?” Having this step taken care of is one thing that will make your guest feel more at home.
- Take your guest up on their offers of help – while you shouldn’t unload the entire housekeeping routine onto your guests, most people offer to help out around their host’s home because they genuinely want to make a gesture of gratitude for the hospitality being extended by you. Don’t go crazy assigning chores – that would be in slightly bad taste – but do allow them to, say, unload the dishwasher, or fold some clean towels.
Finally, perhaps the most useful thing you can do in preparing for your guests is to put yourself in their shoes. It’s easy to feel territorial and get picky about the way we want things in our royal abode – after all, you are the king or queen of your castle and it’s a position you cherish – but think about how you feel when you’re an “intruder” in someone’s home.
What things could your hosts have done in the past to make your experience more comfortable? Use those experiences and this handy printable checklist to offer your guests special little touches that will surprise and delight them. Most of all, enjoy your visit with your loved one or ones!