This article was originally published at SimpleProductivityBlog.com. It has been updated and expanded.
This article is the first of many on practical productivity. The idea behind practical productivity is using organizational and preparedness techniques to save a made rush later.
House guests…those times when relatives and friends reside in your home, bringing you (hopefully) good times. I keep my house in such a state to have the guest room ready for a visitor with only 10 minutes notice. Here are my top 10 tips for making it simple, and providing things for your guests so you don’t have to search late at night.
(Of course, if you are trying to not have house guests, don’t follow the tips in this article. In fact, do the exact opposite. It should drive anyone away)
Most living spaces, with the exception of the tiniest, have some area that can be set aside for guests: the ubiquitous guest room. Few of us actually set aside space for guests and use it for no other purpose: that would be a waste of otherwise functional space.
In our condominium, we put our office aside as guest space after our daughter was born. That quickly changed when we found a friend’s socks hanging from the printer. In our house, we have a separate room with a bed set up. This room, though, also serves as my crafting room, where my sewing machine and yarn stash live, along with our luggage and camping towels and sheets off-season.
Even with all that going on in the room, it is very easy for us to get ready for guests; here are my top 10 tips:
- Don’t use your guest space as a dumping ground. If you have a spare room, don’t use it as an overgrown junk drawer. Many people stash things that they think they will get to later: mending, things to be donated, outgrown clothing, seasonal decorations. The less you keep to do “later” the less you will have to do to prepare for a guest.
- Keep clean sheets on the bed. If you are using a permanent space with a bed as a guest room, change the sheets after each visit to ensure that there are always clean sheets on the bed for the next visitor. This will save you one last step.
- Use furniture to contain the supplies of other purposes. My sewing items live in one drawer of the dresser, and my yarn stash is in fabric bins in a cube cubby. It is close at hand during non-guest times, but easy to clean up and store during visits. Our camping sheets and towels live in a dresser in the closet during the off-season.
- If you have pets, cover the bed. I don’t know what it is about pets being attracted to the guest room, but all of ours love to roll around on the bed. We keep an old sheet over the bed so that if the animals do happen to get in there, we can remove the pet hair just by removing the sheet.
- Have a stash of supplies in one place. For guests, we keep the little hotel soaps, shampoos etc. on hand. They are in a basket in the guest room.
- Provide the wifi password. You could do anything from a funky sign on the wall to just a piece of paper on the bed; but provide the wifi password so they can hook into your network.
- Keep a power strip handy. It’s frustrating to look for an outlet to charge your phone. Give your guests a power strip to plug their chargers into.
- Air the room regularly. If you keep the room shut up, make sure you air it regularly. That will prevent the funky smell of an unused room. I also burn a cookie-scented candle in the room the day before the guests arrive.
- Leave empty drawers cracked open. If you are going to give your guest a drawer or two, leave them cracked open so the guests know they are empty.
- Provide nightlights. Waking in a strange house can be disorienting. Keeping nightlights in the room as well as the path to the bathroom can save someone from fumbling around.
How I Get Ready
When I know someone is coming, I go into the guest room. I know the sheets are clean, so I set out clean towels on the bed and light the cookie-schented candle. I put away everything on my sewing table (unfinished projects go into the cubby) and do a quick dust. Then I whisk the pet-hair-covered sheet off the bed and send it downstairs for washing. I crack the empty drawers in the dresser, plug in the power strip, turn on the nightlight, make sure the wifi password is visible, blow out the candle, and pull the door shut behind me on the way out.
Yes, it is just that easy.
After the Guests Leave
After I have seen the guests off, I strip the bed and remake it with clean sheets. The used sheets and towels go downstairs for washing, and I put the old sheet over the bed to keep the pet hair off. I empty the trash can, check the drawers to make sure nothing was left. I unplug the power strip, turn off the nightlight, refill the basket of soap and shampoo and I am done.
With just a little planning, facilities for guests are easy to set up. They can also be kept ready to go with just a bit of effort. You can make your home a place of welcome to any guests you have.