Getting Ready for Out-of-Town Guests: A Host’s Checklist

“Entertaining With Betsy Bloomingdale” was published in 1994. Though the book is about entertaining with food, it contains a comment about house guests. Every occasion has a purpose, according to Bloomingdale, whether you are having a dinner party, birthday party, or out-of-town guests. She devotes an entire chapter to setting the stage for entertaining.

When you get ready for out-of-town guests you are also setting the stage. For Bloomingdale, part of setting the stage was a placing a bouquet of calla lilies by the front door. You may put a jar of daisies or pot of geraniums on the kitchen table. This checklist will help you get ready for out-of-town guests and make them feel welcome.

* Make the bed with your best sheets.

* Place an extra blanket within easy reach.

* Check bed pillows for wear. If the pillows are soiled buy new ones at a discount store.

* For a fresh look put new pillow protectors on existing pillows.

* Replace a tired-looking mattress cover with a new one.

* Clear out the closet and empty some hangers.

* Clean the tub (or shower) and sink. Make sure all drains are working properly.

* Remove any mold from the shower or tub.

* Place new bars of soap in the tub and/or shower and on the sink.

* Put out clean towels (bath sheets if you have them) and a bath mat.

* Place a basket of travel-size shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, and a new toothbrush by the sink.

* Make sure the tissue box is full. If not, put out a new one.

* Put a clock and a small radio on the bedside table. You may wish to put a television set in the guest’s room, too.

* Inform guest(s) of any quirks — a door that sticks, a window that won’t open, noisy pipes, and similar things.

* Provide adequate lighting. Move a lamp from another room to the bedroom, if necessary.

* Add a comfortable reading chair. If there is not room for a chair, pile more pillows on the bed.

* Place reading materials (the latest magazines, a book you loved) by the bed.

* Ask your guest if he or she has any food allergies.

* Show your guest(s) where you keep the coffee and tea and demonstrate how to work the coffee pot.

* Leave late night snacks on the kitchen counter.

* Update guest(s) on your schedule, such as getting up at 6 a.m. and leaving for work at 7:00.

* Give your guest(s) an extra key to the house and a map of your town or city.

* If you live in a large city give your guests a map of the skyways.

* Suggest places to see and offer to take your guest(s) on a mini tour.

* Just before your guest(s) arrive put a flowering plant, bouquet, or single rose bud in their room.

Copyright 2007 by Harriet Hodgson