This is a collaborative post
We love having guests coming to stay, it is why we bought a house with a spare bedroom. We wanted relatives to come for the weekend, to be able to stay over at Christmas, friends who have moved away to be able to come back. Or for friends that come for dinner and enjoy more than one glass of wine to be able to crash out and not have to worry about drinking and driving.
The trouble with having a spare bedroom though is that it can quickly become the family dumping ground for piles of laundry, suitcases and stuff that has been cleared out of bedrooms. Hardly very welcoming for any last minute guests.
So we have devised a plan for how to prepare for last minute guests that doesn’t leave me doing all the cleaning, or guests fighting off a pile of junk that needs to go to the tip.
Regularly tidy and clean the spare room
That might seem like a basic solution but for the first five or so years that we lived in this house we kind of ignored it. We would just open the door, fling stuff in, and then shut the door on it. Which meant when somebody did come to stay it was a huge task to get it tidied and cleaned. And funnily enough nobody was ever around to help. Now we make sure that it is only the usual rota of bedroom and bathroom cleaning so it is tidied regularly. That way there is only ever a week’s worth of junk to sort out, not months.
Write down all that needs doing
If you are anything like me and you want things to be just so, it is likely that you are the only person who can see those things and other people won’t. Just because you can see the pile of empty loo roll middles on the window sill in the downstairs loo doesn’t mean that your kids can. And if you don’t want guests to see them you need to write down that you want them removed. I write down a list of all the things I need to get done and a deadline and then invite everybody to pick off the jobs they want to do. No ifs or buts. They all have to do something by the deadline. Gets it done in a fraction of the time.
Pretend you have made an effort
You know how you when you wander into a hotel room you spot the swan made out of towels on the bed? Well I always try and recreate that feeling. I have a spare white dressing gown that I “save for guests”. It is washed and folded as soon as the last person leaves so it is always ready for the next. I get it out and leave it folded on the end of the bed, along with a clean towel. I also keep toiletries from hotel rooms and put a selection in a basket in the bathroom with a note saying “please use me” and get a small bunch of fresh flowers for the window sill. That way I figure people will ignore the fact that the skirting boards all need painting.
Make sure the room smells nice
Somebody once told me that if you don’t have time to dust a room just spray furniture polish onto the light bulbs. That way when the lights are turned on the room will smell like it has just been cleaned! Not an approach I often follow as I like my room scent to be a little more subtle, a bit more natural. I keep some room mists and diffusers on hand that I bring out to make the room smell fresh.
Remember if your guests have got any allergies
Nothing shows how much you love your friends or family than by showing you have remembered they have an allergy or are vegetarian. We have a couple of friends who are coeliac so on the list of things to do I write down grabbing a couple of loaves of gluten free bread or croissants so that for breakfast the following morning we have something our guests can eat.
I know if friends did this for me it would be a home I would feel welcome at and really want to visit more often. In friend if somebody got gluten free croissants for me I might struggle to go home.