When was the last time you were a guest in your own house? And I mean, slept in your guest bed? Showered and prepared for the day in your guest bath? I’m going to take a stab at your answer: Never.
I travel and stay in guest rooms a lot. I have a packing routine, a car-loading routine, and a move-in routine. I feel like I’m prepared for almost any daily need, but occasionally I’ll have to go on the hunt for a hair tie or contact case or nail clippers in the guest bath. And I usually come up empty. So then I have to track down my host, make my request, watch them search frantically, or even make a late-night trip to the nearest store. It’s difficult for everyone, because we both feel unprepared.
So here’s what I recommend: Be your own guest.
Start with your guest bedroom/suite. I’ve had to very gently tell a few hosts their guest bed is extremely uncomfortable. I usually make a suggestion, like, “You might look into a gel mattress topper. Walmart has some great options!” Most guest beds naturally have the oldest mattress in the house. I mean, who sleeps there? Not you! Ah…but you’re gonna.
Climb into that bed one night. Is it comfortable? Are the sheets, blankets and pillows appropriate for the season? Flannel in the summer = misery. How’s the bedside lighting? Do you have to get up to turn it off, then stumble back to bed in the dark? Tricky. Do the blinds/curtains close? Is a fan—overhead or portable—handy? How’s the noise level? Can you hear the washer/dryer running? Is the morning smoothie maker like a jackhammer in your head? Do doors slam? Dogs bark? Children shout? Do you just want to move into a hotel? Then we have some work to do.
Get ready in your guest bath one morning. How’s the lighting? Glaring? Dim? Could you shave or put on makeup quite happily? Lighting is a pretty easy thing to fix. And here’s a good tip: No one, not even a vampire, looks good in fluorescent lighting.
Use the guest shower. Does the water barely trickle out? New shower heads are pretty affordable and easy to install. Is your towel handy? Ditto for wall hooks and over-the-door hangers. Do you step out onto a slick floor? Bath mats are available everywhere. How’s your toilet paper supply? Down to the last two squares? Sooooo awkward. Restock immediately!
All of this—every bit of it—is easy and affordable to remedy. Half the battle is just being aware of what’s working/not working, handy/not handy, comfortable/cumbersome. Make a plan to fix everything within the week. You’ll be prepared the next time your college roommate pops into town, your favorite aunt comes to visit, or your best friend needs a place to crash for the night.
And you might just create such a wonderful oasis that you’ll hear yourself tell your family, “I think I’ll be my own guest tonight. See you in the morning!”
A Michigan farm girl transplanted to the South offering hospitality hacks.