Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I'm Having Overnight Guests! Now What?

With Christmas approaching, there is an anticipated weight falling on many a homemaker’s shoulders - having house guests! This doesn’t have to be a dreaded event. With the proper preparation and the right outlook, this can be a positive time for you, your family, and your guests. I personally think house guests are fun!

Today I’m sharing some of my tips and ideas for preparing for overnight visitors. All of this comes from personal experience, so this is tried-and-true stuff! I have personally stayed in over 100 homes throughout the US, so I’ve literally seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to hospitality! Trust me, I could tell so many stories...instead, I decided to turn them into a post preparing you to be the best hostess you can be. :)

1. Have an attitude of hospitality

Not only will your attitude towards guests be visible to them, a good attitude will set them at ease in a strange place. Hospitality is a Biblical command as well, so why grumble about doing it?

Greet your guests cheerfully and genuinely welcome them into your home. They will be able to tell the difference between a genuine greeting and a forced one, I guarantee it!

2. Prepare the guest room...or substitute guest room.

Whether or not you have a formal guest room, you will need to prepare a bedroom for your guests to sleep in. If a “real” guest room isn’t an option, you can put your kids on the living room floor and give their room to the visitors! Although it may seem a bit cruel to kick your own kids out of their beds, this is a good lesson for your children to see real, heartfelt hospitality at work. And chances are, they won’t mind an impromptu “sleep-over” anyway! Your guests will feel appreciated, and your whole family will learn the importance and blessing that comes with putting others first.

Be sure that the bedroom is clean- surfaces wiped down and floor vacuumed. Put clean sheets and guest pillows on the bed, plus extra blankets in the room. Don’t assume that your guest will come with their own pillow!

Be sure that all toys are cleaned up or stowed away, and give your guests room to open their suitcase and spread out a little bit during their stay. And be mindful of pets! Maybe your son lets the dog sleep at the foot of the bed, but guests will NOT appreciate the hair throughout the bedspread. Launder or change it so your guests can sit on the bed without fear of dog hair...or worse!

3. Clean the washroom!
Oh, I can’t emphasize this enough! Get that bathroom spick and span. Polish the fixtures with a dry rag and mop the floor. Generally, germs from other people make anyone nervous! Make it obvious that this well-used room is clean, don’t leave your guests to wonder, “does she ever clean her bathroom?”

Be sure guest towels are laid out, and tell your visitors which ones are for their use. If you buy new towels for this occasion, be sure to launder them first!

4. Don’t forget the small touches.
There are so many ways to go above and beyond in showing your guests they are loved and that their visit was thought out ahead of time. Leave some extra toiletries in a prominent place in the washroom, perhaps with their towels. Put a box of kleenex and a trash can in their room. Leave a basket of snacks or some chocolate on their pillow. Provide them with light reading material or mind games such as crosswords. Leave a note with your wifi password so they don’t have to ask. The possibilities are as endless as your creativity and thoughtfulness!

5. Meal plan
Who wants to spend all their time cooking when they could be spending it with their guests? Not me! Plan ahead at least to give you a general plan for what you will serve. Keep things simple...use your crockpot or order out if that works best for you. Also, take advantage of offers from your guests to help out! Allow them to prepare side dishes, set the table, or help you with the overall meal plan. Be sure to ask about food allergies before they even arrive!

Need some visual help with the meal planning, preparing to host a dinner or party, or just need to make a holiday list? Check out these free Christmas printables that include holiday baking, as well as many others available at So Sew Organized!

Those are the first and most important things that come to my mind...what areas of hosting guests are important to you? Have you ever had any negative experiences? Any other tips to share?



  1. I always try to have meals in the freezer. In a place where space is limited, it helps to keep my kitchen clean and keep my stress level down! :) Plus, I can enjoy the day knowing that a meal is in the slow cooker or can just be popped in the oven at a moment's notice! ~Jess

    1. Great tips, Jess! Thanks! Keeping things cleaned up probably helps EVERYBODYS stress level whether they realize it or not! :)

  2. Great list here! Love the small touches idea - snacks and kleenex!

    1. Thanks Danielle! =) I'm sure you remember how important the small touches are!


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