With the holidays approaching and lots of family and friends coming into town, you may be soon opening your home to guests & playing hostess. Here are some tips on creating a space that will make their stay…..well…….”feel like home”……
· Bedding: Purchase new sheets (or at the use clean unworn matching ones, lol) and pillows. You can find affordable pillows for the low at Kohl’s dept store or stores like TJMaxx, sometimes as low as $9. Having a bed with at least 4 fluffy pillows and if it’s in the budget and you want to go all out, a mattress topper!! I recently stayed in a downtown Chicago hotel that was thee most comfortable bed ever. I believe it was due to the mattress topper. If you don’t have Kohl’s charge, get one. They always have sales, ALWAYS. And you’re allowed to use the coupons they send you for 15, 20 or 30% off on clearance items as well. So using those incentives on a mattress topper, sheets and pillows from there will save you a ton.
· Toasty Room: if it’s a room that doesn’t get much use, natural light or is in a part of the house that’s always cold, put a space heater in the room & an extra blanket (or snuggie).
· Lighting: Ever stay some in a room and there weren’t enough lights? Its worse in someone’s apt because often times they don’t have overhead lighting in the bedrooms so you’re doing everything via lamps. Well the least you can do, not only for guest but for all of your rooms is have adequate lighting.
· Storage: I’m probably in the minority but when I travel, I live out of my suitcase, with the exception of toiletry items. But most people prefer to put their stuff in drawers or hung up so clean out a drawer or two and have some space in the closet for them to hang their coat. If the closet is stuffed, have a coat rack available or wall hooks. Make sure there are available outlets or purchase an extension cord (Dollar Tree).
· Nightstand: Obviously a lamp, but don’t forget the alarm clock, Kleenex, some reading material (newspaper and a variety of current magazines based on their interests). If it’s someone you know really well, purchasing a novel and leaving it along with a bookmark as a keepsake is a surefire way to show them you put in some real thought. Like the idea but not sure what they read? Casually inquire and pick up notes from there. Place scents of the season (cinnamon, pumpkin spice, etc) like candles or potpourri here or a plug-in.
· SNACKS: I put this in bold because face it, we always get munchies when we travel. The worse thing is being stuck in a room where the overpriced vending machines have everything you don’t want. So again, inquire about the specific kinds of things they like to munch on beforehand so you can have it handy in a little basket on the bed upon their arrival. Make it a movie night basket with popcorn, cookies, m&ms, twizzlers, other typical candies. Leave a few bottled waters & beverages in a small cooler so they don’t have to walk in the dark to the kitchen in the middle of the night. Have ample napkins & a few cups along the side as well (not everyone drinks out of a can). Of course you want to make the guest feel welcome to your home and not excluded to the bedroom but this idea is simply a matter of convenience, like their own mini bar. If you’re not planning on cooking a feast in the morning time, at least have some store-bought danishes, pastries and muffins so they can go into the kitchen and help themselves daily. Have everything out by the coffee machine (sugar, creamer, etc) so they don’t have to look through your cabinets (saving you the embarrassment if they’re messy).
· Dietary Needs: Do they eat meat? Are they diabetic? These sorts of things play a huge role in what they can and won’t eat.
· Bathroom: There’s no feeling like getting out the shower and into a ginormous cozy towel, esp. a warm one. If it’s in the budget, a towel warming rack would be a nice investment, not just for guest but to create that spa feel that most of us want for our bathrooms. However, new towels will suffice. Make sure you have two face, 1 hand & 1 bath towel per set. Having one or two decorative soaps tied with a pretty bow is a nice little touch. You can purchase soaps from Pier 1, World Market and Marshalls for a couple bucks each if not on clearance. Have air freshener in an open spot so there’s no embarrassment when asking for it after the fact….if you know what I mean. Additional toilet tissue (in a visible spot). Think about the toiletries you’ve forgotten on a trip. Go to the store and purchase those in the travel sizes and have those handy in the event it’s needed.
· Obligations: Sometimes you’re not going to be with your guest the entire time. You have other responsibilities that may include picking up and dropping off kids to school/extra curricular activities or maybe even work. Leave them with #s and menus to different take out restaurants, local maps, directions to the nearest malls, sight-seeing options, public transportation numbers (cab service) & schedules in case they want to explore the city on their own while you’re out. (Work out the key situation beforehand, whether you want to give them a spare or be back to open the door)
· Restaurants: the holidays are all about good ol’ home cooking. For me, that’s SOUL FOOD!!!!! But sometimes you may need to dine out. So try to think of ones that are unique to the area or restaurants they don’t have in their city. Whenever I travel, I refuse to dine out at places we have here in Milwaukee . I love to try new things, even fast food places. For the life of me I don’t understand why we don’t have a chick-fil-a so when I travel I go there!!!