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Creating a home away from home...

Sometimes our homes are so familiar to us that we overlook basic essentials. By placing yourself in your guest’s shoes, you can best address their needs. Here are some tips to being a gracious host by creating a home away from home:

Bedroom: Is the bed comfortable? Are there enough pillows? Is it dark enough? Are there strange bumps in the night? Purchasing a foam mattress topper, firm and soft pillows (one each per guest is ideal), a pair of room darkening shades, and a white noise machine or fan would create a sleeping sanctuary for your guests. Throw sheets/comforters in the dryer with a fabric softener sheet to freshen them up before guests arrive. A few blankets for layering might be handy in the winter months, too. Bathroom: Guest baths rarely get used, so be sure to give it a once over. Run the shower; pay attention to water pressure, temperature, and whether the water drains properly. Set towels and washcloths out. Stock the shower with shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Have spare toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, etc. for their convenience. Also, make sure there is ample toilet paper! A nightlight in the hallway and/or bathroom would be helpful, too. Kitchen: Ask your guests what their favorite foods and snacks are so you can have them on hand. Are they welcome to help themselves? If so, point out where the basics are - and maybe give a quick tutorial on the coffee maker. Heads up: Let your guests know about any “quirks” in your house. Do you have a gurgling toilet or sink? A noisy sump pump? Air in the pipes? I once called the police at 1am in our new home because I thought someone was breaking in… the culprit? Our ice maker! Again, we become immune to these sounds but they will be loud and clear to your guests!

Going the extra mile: There is a reason why my family calls me "Sarah Stewart" ;) I usually have organza bags on hand (I get packs of them from the Dollar Tree in their baby shower section). I put a pair of ear plugs and a chocolate or mint in them and set them on the pillow. I also have a bottle of water on the bedside table. I'll add a little welcome note and place it on the bed as well.

Happy hosting!

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