*Hmm, I guess rock stars probably don’t host on their own that much. More appropriately titled “How to host like a highly paid rock star’s assistant who is used to getting things done and putting up with unreasonable demands.” NOT to imply in any way that any of my guests have ever made unreasonable demands. This post is really more appropriately titled “How to atone for making our parents sleep on an air mattress when visiting for way too long.”
This spring we have all the guests. I’m psyched. But it can be hard to have people in your space for extended periods of time. It is also hard for guests to be up in someone else’s space for extended periods of time. Here is what I’m doing to try to maximize enjoyment of all of our delightful guests this spring.
But first, let me refer to this helpful Venn diagram of guesting that I just whipped up. (Thanks picmonkey!) I think there are two types of guest categories, guest “camps” if you will. Some guests want to see you, or more truthfully, your adorable children. This camp is more family and close friends. At the other end of the spectrum, you have guests who are generally using you as a crash pad to see your awesome city. This camp is more casual friends, acquaintances, and people who actually took you up on your enthusiastic “you should TOTALLY come visit” offer. Most people fall somewhere in the middle. They want to see you, but would also like to experience the wonders of your city. I can’t blame them at all. I mean, my kids are cute, but I live in ROME. You could live here for 500 years and never run out of things to see.
All of this to mean that my approach changes slightly depending on what sort of guest you are. Here to see us? I’ll clear our schedules (hey, don’t laugh) and make plans for some fun togetherness. Here to see the city? I’ll ramp up the “freedom” items I mention below and let you do your thang.
Without further adieu, these are the “gifts” I like to bestow on my guests.
The Gift of Comfort. I want our guests to be comfortable. We aren’t the Westin, and I do not have a Heavenly Bed, but I want people to feel at ease. (Again, I’m really really sorry about our overly long usage of the air mattress.)
Before we left, we engaged in some delayed upgrades. After not buying many towels since, uh, our wedding, we bought a new matching set. (These actually.) We have some fancier bath sheets from Frontgate, but those don’t come out as much, even for our personal use, because I can only fit like one in the washing machine at a time. We have been obsessed with our Comphy sheets for years, and we finally got some for our guests to enjoy as well. (If you need new sheets, you will NOT be sorry with these.)
I try to do little touches as well. Things that you don’t really notice their presence, but you might note their absence. The guest bedroom has its own trashcan. There is a box of tissues. Plenty of TP. There are Q-tips in the bathroom. I also have some spare toiletries in the bathroom. I’m sure these seem like no-brainers, but I haven’t always been great on them. (True story: in our early years of marriage I told James we didn’t need to buy tissues because we could just use toilet paper. #minimalismgonewrong Then I finally used tissues again and was all “This is like sneezing onto angel wings!!” We buy tissues now.)
The Gift of Space. Our apartment has three bedrooms. When guests are here, someone shares so that guests have a dedicated room. Thankfully, our guest room is a nice size so guests can have their own space. We also have two bathrooms. During normal life, we use them indiscriminately (although we only shower in one), but for guests, we dedicate one bathroom for their exclusive use.
In the guestroom, we’ve also made space for guests. There are two dressers that are 90% empty. There are hangers with plenty of empty space in the closet. The room is not stuffed with furniture. Guests have room to spread out and actually unpack. Because who likes living out of a suitcase for a week?
The Gift of Freedom. Even though I love to see people, I want them to be able to come and go as they please. This means we have spare keys for guests. We also try to make things like coffee and breakfast easy. I have the coffeemaker and fixings in plain view. I stock up the fruit basket and buy extra cereal and yogurt.
I don’t always buy breakfast cereal, but when I do it has off-brand Nutella in it
I’d like to get even better about having maps to offer, lists of favorite restaurants, spare bus tickets, etc. Right now I’d probably just be like, uh, check out the blog for recommendations. You didn’t turn on data for overseas? I got nothing. For at-home interneting, I did put the wireless password in a cheapie picture frame. It is much easier to hand someone the frame instead of writing it down. AGAIN.
But, like so frequently happens with my Christmas shopping, I can’t get presents for others without getting myself a little something too. These are the “gifts” I’ll be giving myself.
The Gift of Time. I am finally mostly realizing that everything takes longer than I think it does. This is absolutely true for guest prep. I’m trying to give myself time to wash the towels and sheets, empty the trashcans, and actually do some cleaning. Your bed still may not be made up by the time you get here, but I probably finished a few other things instead of leaving absolutely everything to the last minute.
The Gift of Setting Expectations. I don’t think anyone shows up expecting me to cook all the meals and have daily itineraries planned. But, particularly with guests who are spending more time with you, they may assume that there is some kind of master plan. Particularly if I have lulled them into a sense of security of always having a master plan. I’m working on clearly communicating what is what, sooner rather than later. Picture me practicing saying: “hey, peeps, I don’t have a lunch plan, you’re on your own.”
The Gift of Asking. I’m not talking about putting guests to work. They are guests, after all. But, people do usually want to help. Better for me to ask rather than expecting someone to read my mind. (Something you’d think I’d finally know after ten years of marriage.) “Hey, sis, can you put together the sandwiches for our picnic?” “Can you guys grab some plates for the food?” “Can you detail my Maserati?” Haha, clearly one of those is a joke. I don’t have a sister. (Haha, I have two sisters! Wow, I’m punchy this evening. This is why I should really stick to naptime blogging. Can’t hack it right now though because I’m too busy having fun with all my guests.)
The Gift of Remembering to Wear My Bathrobe. I would not call us a naked household. But, like many good TV shows, there is incidental nudity. Crap, my clean shirt is in the laundry room. Argh, it is 4:00 am and I need to pee but I don’t feel like putting my pajama pants back on which I took off because it is crazy hot in here for May. Definite PG-13 situations.
Enter the bathrobe!! Just slip your arms in and you have a super fast problem fixer. Now I can go forth and deal with that screaming child without fear of awkward moments with my guests. I’m not really a robe person and my robe is a little too satiny to be very functional (I’m eying this as a pinch hitter), but it has been great to have on the back of my bedroom door.
Now if only the robe could remind me to shut the bathroom door . . .
Wow, it really is like Pinterest up in here, totally not gross at all. Any tips to further up my guest game? Sadly, eliminate all early morning screaming is not an option. #iwish