Hosting guests is a responsibility and it is tiring. The pressure of entertaining, plus the work involved in taking care for them, if they stay longer than a short visit, can be quite challenging. Many a times, friction and displeasure arise after a few days of their arrival, when boundaries are blurred and crossed with the home spaces. Here are few ways to organise your home well so the visit from the friendly intruder doesn’t put a damper on your relationship with them and doesn’t topsy-turvy the comfort levels.
Common area tricks
Take a look at your house to see which all common areas need prepping for your guests. Easy access to necessary things and ample sitting space is the goal here. Some pointers that can help:
Keep extra slippers in different sizes at the entrance if you don’t allow shoes inside the house. Using slippers of the same colour and design but different from the ones your family uses will make it easy for your guests to know which one they can use.
If your guests are coming with children, it would be a good idea to shift the fragile pieces in your living room to out-of-reach areas.
Find a spot in the living room to place magazines, books and newspapers for your guests to read. Create a reading spot, where they can independently spend some time.
Put a small tray next to the TV or on the coffee table and place all the remote controls in it. This is a subtle way of indicating the designated spot for these pieces which have a higher tendency of being misplaced in the room.
Your guests will be more at ease if they don’t have to keep coming to you for tea or snack requests. In the kitchen or dining area put tea bags, coffee, sugar and milk along with a few cups and an electric kettle or coffee maker in an easily accessible area. Keep a couple of jars of snacks (sweet and savoury) so that your guests can help themselves. A fruit basket on the dining table or at a convenient spot in the living room (if you don’t have a dining table and your kitchen is too small) helps too.
Guest bedroom basics
If you have a spare room to offer the guests, there is nothing like it. A day before they arrive, go for a thorough dusting and vacuuming of the room. Extra pillows, sheets, quilts that you keep in storage tend to develop a certain odour; air them out in the sun for a couple of hours.
Prepare four sleeping pillows – mix medium, soft and firm ones, and a couple of throw cushions for the bed. Use clean and ironed bed sheets and covers for pillows and cushions. For winter time, keep light and heavy blankets on the bed, and if possible, even a light throw for daytime use.
A side table next to the bed with some essentials is one of the best ways to make your guests feel at home and will get you good brownie points. The list of nightstand must-haves includes a bottle of water, two glasses, small lamp, a table clock, a pen/pencil and a notepad. If there is space you can also place a small open box or a plate to keep watches and jewellery. Don’t forget to clear a few shelves of the closet or the chest of drawers in the room for your guests.
Tip: To make the room smell heavenly, place a vase of fresh flowers; you can also add potpourri or scented candle with a mild fragrance.
Not all homes have a separate room for guests, so it’s either the children’s room or the living room that doubles up as the guest bedroom.
If it’s going to be the living room, a good sofa cum bed can be really handy. Set up the side tables next to it as your guest’s nightstand and move the coffee table to a corner at night. Keep a foldable bench/stand in the house. This can be used by your guest to put their luggage. This way they will be able to access their belongings without too much hassle.
Make sure there are night lights around the house, especially in the passage and areas near the common bathroom. It will be easier for the guests to access the areas at night without any mishaps.
If there is an attached bathroom with your guest room, stock it up with fresh towels (bath and hand) and toiletries, such as toilet paper, hand wash, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, face wash and body lotion.
In case the guests have to use a common bathroom, you need to make sure they can navigate around it with ease. Here are ways you can achieve this:
Set aside bathroom essentials in small bottles in a tray or a basket next to the sink.
Put a laundry basket/bag for them either in their room or in the bathroom.
For the days they are staying at your place, let them use the pegs in the bathroom to hang their clothes. If there are more than one set of pegs, show them the ones they can use.
Also, let them know the working of the faucets for hot and cold water.
Keep fresh towels in different colour from the ones your family uses, and let them know these are for them to use.
For their convenience keep the bathroom clutter free, so that there is space for them to put their things while using the bathroom.