So it’s your turn to host this year’s Thanksgiving or Christmas get together? Never fear! I’ve got you covered with an overnight guest SOS kit that you can have ready all year long.
We were blessed to have lots of family visit us this year and I especially enjoy welcoming them into our home and pampering them as if they were staying in a charming B&B. Here is one of the best pieces of advice I received from my mother-in-law:
"Spend a night in your guest room so you know exactly what it needs."
Whether you know well in advance that you will have overnight guests or if they happen to drop in last minute, here is a an easy guide for the key essentials to always have on hand with a few added touches that will make your guests feel at home.
Just like a hotel will provide bathroom toiletries, I always have a basket of soaps, lotions, toothpaste, nail clippers and other essentials on hand in case they forgot to bring their own. I keep everything they need in my guest room closet for easy access. You probably already have extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and other samples you’ve kept from your trips. For convenience, place regular sized shampoo, conditioner and soaps in the shower area. Some people prefer liquid shower soap and others prefer bar soap so I always make sure they have both.
This is one of the things I find guests really appreciate. People commonly rely on hotels to provide this and it’s one less thing your guests will need to pack.
I like to set out guest towels, hand towels and washcloths so they don’t have to rummage through a hall closet for them. Add a hook or two to your bathroom door or wall, so guests have a place to hang up used towels and robes.
Robes & Slippers
One of the best small investments I’ve made over the years was to buy plush, His & Hers white robes for guests. Not many people have room in their suitcase to pack a robe and it is a wonderful little luxury item that goes a long way. Providing slippers or fuzzy socks is a fun, unexpected touch as well!
Blankets, Pillows & Air Mattresses, Oh My!
Because everyone has their own preferences for room temperature, having extra blankets and pillows helps keep everyone comfortable. If you’re expecting a crowd, air mattresses are wonderful. If you don’t have one, don’t be shy about borrowing one from a friend or neighbor. You might want to make sure it doesn’t leak – I recently had guests who ended up pancaked on the floor in the middle of the night and were too shy to let me know until the next morning. Oops.
Something to Read
When you’re staying away from home, it can be hard to get to sleep and putting a few assorted magazines, crossword puzzles or books are a way to let your guests relax and escape a bit. I invite them to browse my book collection if they would like to pick out something. It's also nice to give them a local magazine that highlights popular things to see and do in the area, especially if you’re guests are the type to go out and explore things on their own.
Milk & Cookies
Well…I don’t exactly provide this, but having bottles of water or a pitcher of water and glasses in the room is always appreciated. Placing a few pieces of chocolate or another sweet treat on a tray along with a welcome note is a lovely touch.
Wake up and Smell the Bacon (Please)
Although most people these days use their cell phones as an alarm, I still put a small clock on a side table and an alarm clock in a drawer just in case. Before going to bed, you may want to ask your guests what time they wake up so you can be prepared for early risers. It helps to anticipate breakfast plans in the morning and keeps you from banging pots too loudly in the morning if they are sleeping in. However, if you need to nudge them out of bed, brewing a pot of coffee and cooking bacon is a sure fire way to let guests know it’s time to get up.
Pictures of You & Your Guests
To really make your guests feel special, I like to set out a fun picture of the guests and ourselves in a frame. It always makes people smile and everyone will enjoy reminiscing about that time spent together.
Fresh Flowers & Plants
There is nothing more welcoming than fresh flowers. Plants and flowers have been known to boost mood levels and encourage sleep. Exactly what you want for your guests, right?
Here are more simple things you can add to your guest room or guest bath:
Extra hangers in the closet
Room freshener spray
Candles and matches
Be The Hostess With the Mostest
The beauty of being guest ready is that you only need to gather all of these items ONCE and then store it all in the guest room so you are always ready for overnight guests at a moment's notice. They will appreciate all of the special details and you will have more time to enjoy this special time together.