Are you ready for more preparing for hospitality? Last week, we talked about preparing our home for hospitality when we are entertaining for a day or evening event. Today, it’s all about overnight guests.
We love sharing our home. We jokingly refer to it as The Skolrud B&B. There have even been a few times that family has stayed with us for an extended period and our home became The Skolrud “Boarding House.” The fun part of having overnight guests is that you get to delay saying good-bye until tomorrow, and you have time to visit and share more than just the “current events” of your lives.
Before I give you some tips to prepare your home for overnight guests, I want to remind you of Step #2 from last week: “Have a home maintenance plan so clean is a given.” If your home is clean, you can focus on tidying clutter and preparing for your guests instead of frantically scrubbing bathrooms and washing sheets.
Much of what needs to be done to prepare for overnight guests can be done before you even know guests are coming. By preparing before you expect guests, you can spend the time before their arrive attending to the little details that will make them feel special. These steps need to be thought through ahead of time:
#1 – Where are your guests going to sleep?
If you are fortunate enough to have a guest room, this is an easy answer. However, if you have limited space you may have to get creative. There are a lot options like hide-a-bed sofas, inflatable mattresses, a guest bed, or giving up your own bed. (Regarding the last option, I think it is safe to say that many guests do not feel comfortable sleeping in the their host’s bed and may feel that they are invading your personal space.) The key is comfort for both you and your guests. Whichever option you choose, I would suggest that you try it out before you make the decision. If you don’t sleep well on a particular sleeping surface, your guests probably won’t either.You may need to find a way to firm up a mattress that sags in the middle, or you may need to add a feather bed topper to a bed that is too firm. The key is offer the best you can within your financial means. Guests do not (at least should not) expect you to provide the same sleeping accommodations as a luxury hotel.
Other considerations when deciding where your guests will sleep include the proximity to the bathroom. Make sure your guests have easy access to a bathroom, if at all possible, and make sure the path is clear. You will also want to consider where outlets are so they can charge their electronics, and lighting for reading in bed if they desire.
Also, make sure you consider both warmth and coolness of the sleeping space. Provide extra blankets, or consider using flannel sheets on the bed so your guests will be warm. You may also want to make a quiet fan available to help guests stay cool if needed.
#2 – Easy transitions for guest spaces
If you have a guest room, the transition takes place when your guests leave. Wash the sheets to remake the bed. Fluff the pillows and blankets before making the bed. Make the bed and tidy up the room. You’re ready for your next guests.
If your guests will be sleeping in a temporary guest space, have a set of bedding designated and bundled for that sleeping accommodation: a set of the correct-sized sheets and pillowcases, freshly fluffed pillows, a quilt or blanket to make the bed, and a second quilt or blanket for use if they get cold. Keep the bundle where it will be easily accessible when it is time to set up the bed.
Provide a designated space for luggage and for hanging garments. If possible, make sure this space is convenient for your guests but not in a high traffic area so they feel their belongs are secure from snoopy eyes and fingers. It’s also nice to make sure there is a chair handy for guests to sit while getting ready. (Inflatable mattresses can act like trampolines and throw guests on the floor it they try to sit on the edge to put on shoes. And, yes, I speak from experience.)
#3 – Bath and Shower Space
If your guests are sharing a bathroom with the family, make sure you set out towels for your guests or that your guests know where additional towels are. You may want to have a set of towels bundled separately just as you do bedding so you always have towels ready for guests. If possible, leave space on the counter for your guests to leave a cosmetic bag or shaving kit with their personal items in them.
Take a few moments to think about the things that you have forgotten when you are traveling. Consider preparing a guest toiletry basket to make items available in case your guests have forgotten something. Stock up on a variety of sample sizes in shampoo, shower gel or soaps, toothpaste, face cleanser and moisturizers to refill the basket as needed.
#4 – Have an easy go-to breakfast
I have two overnight breakfast casserole recipes that I love to use when we have guests. I can assemble a casserole before guests arrive and put it in the refrigerator. In the morning, I can preheat the oven while coffee brews and bake the casserole while I prepare the simple items to accompany the casserole. I can provide a wonderful, hot breakfast that still allows me to spend more time with my guests than I do cooking.
Choose a recipe that you consistently use so that when you know guests are coming you can quickly make your grocery list. Or better yet, you can keep the ingredients in the freezer so you don’t have to make a quick run to the store. One caution about cooking for guests: ask ahead if there are food allergies or medical-related food needs, i.e. low sugar, no caffeine, gluten intolerance, etc. Adjust your breakfast plan as needed.
These are simple steps that you can do now even if you don’t expect guests yet. Being prepared allows you to relax and focus on your guests when they arrive instead of worrying about unresolved details. Remember, hospitality is defined as “receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, and generous way.” It’s hard to be warm and friendly when you are distracted because the sheets for the guest bed are still in the dryer, or you are texting a last minute shopping list to your husband (hoping he gets it before he gets home) because you don’t have the ingredients for breakfast.
We love sharing our home and I hope that you will enjoy opening your home as well. I would love to hear from you about how you prepare for guests and how your preparations allow you to successfully practice hospitality. I’ll be sharing more details and special touches in future posts. But for now, keeping it simple and being prepared is often the best approach to hospitality.
Sharing my heart 4 home,