Author Topic: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests  (Read 10095 times)

shelivesthedream

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Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« on: January 20, 2017, 04:34:37 AM »
I view this as the sister thread to the already-full-of-awesome-answers "Advice for making your home interior easier to clean and maintain".

My husband and I are moving soon to a new house in a city where we used to live. This means we'll have lots of friends from our old city that we want to come and stay with us, and lots of old friends in the new city that we want to catch up with. We want to commit to being more sociable and having people over more often and more spontaneously - particularly because we'll have a whole house (rather than an itty bitty flat) so if one of us invites a friend over, the other one has somewhere to go if they don't want to hang out with them too! At the moment we have to schedule it days in advance so the other one can decide whether they want to be in or out. (We also both work from home a lot...)

Do you have any advice for making spontaneous/short-notice at-home socialising better and easier? Be it coffee, dinner, or an overnight stay.

The two things that spring to my mind are:
1. Declutter. This came up time and time again on the other thread, but it's true that it makes cleaning so much easier and your house seem so much tidier!
2. Freezer biscuits. Having some homemade biscuits in the freezer that I can bake in fifteen minutes makes having people over for tea really easy and seem so much nicer.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 04:36:34 AM by shelivesthedream »

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2017, 05:36:28 AM »
I have very low standards, so this may not change anything you are doing at the moment -

1.  Agree wholeheartedly on the decluttering, which makes everything easier.

2.  If you can get in the habit of putting everything back in its place immediately after using it the house will always be more or less tidy, and it will be easy to sort out the few things that are out of place.  (The advice I got a long time ago from a skilled handyman is that the job is only done when the tools are back where they belong and ready to be used again: this principle can be applied to everything you do.)

3.  Keeping the bog bowl clean with a daily swish round with the bog brush potentially saves embarrassment if guests ask to use the facilities.  Keep a box of matches there so one is to hand in order to strike: this disperses any smells instantly.

4.  Any unwashed dishes either go in the dishwasher or the sink, rather than being left on tables, chairs or floors (worst) or the kitchen counter (not quite so bad).  Any guest who checks out dishes left in the sink is no friend of mine.

5.  With 15 minutes' notice, rugs can be shaken out and floors can be swept/hoovered: along with disposing of any cut flowers that have died this probably makes the biggest difference cleaning-wise after sorting out the bog and putting the unwashed dishes in the sink.

6.  I don't drink dairy, so always keep a carton of unsweetened long-keeping soya milk on hand for tea/coffee drinkers.

7.  For overnight guests, try not to use the spare bedroom as a dumping ground for things with no other home (ie again with the decluttering).  The bed can be kept made up, but needs to be aired with an electric blanket or hot water bottle in anything other than high summer.  Putting clean towels on top of the bedding make it obvious they are for guests' use.  Curtains or blinds on the window and a bedside lamp are the only other requirements for a guest bedroom.

8.  If a guest turns up at short notice needing anything more than tea and a biscuit, I expect them to assist in providing it and have no shame in saying so.  I need adequate notice if I am to do the full lunch/dinner party thing.

horsepoor

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2017, 05:43:47 AM »
I've settled on the strategy of realizing that people don't care that much, so we might give the house it's normal weekly sweep, but no longer polish the proverbial doorknobs for guests. 


lizzzi

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2017, 05:44:40 AM »
I like to be able to offer coffee, tea, or wine spontaneously. If your dishes are done, beds are made, and bathroom kept wiped up on an ongoing basis, you should be good to go. I'm not interested in being any more spontaneous than that.

But since you asked, I would say have an air mattress or two on hand, with bedding for them. And for a spontaneous dinner, I would say just order some pizza and wings--maybe salad with it, some garlic knots, a bottle of soda if everybody drinks it. Kind of pricey, but easy.

I've never had much luck keeping company snacks or non-perishable food in the cupboard just in case of visitors. It always gets eaten up beforehand.

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2017, 07:41:49 AM »
I like this thread on setting up a guest bedroom, which you have already seen but others may have missed.

Make sure you have at least two decks of cards with all the cards.  It's always a shame to find at a crucial moment that the three of hearts is missing.

If hosting a meal, do you have enough seating for you two plus any guests?  Folding chairs are fine.  What about enough comfy sofa-type seating?

(I should know better by now, but I read your first post and thought "Who puts out biscuits for guests?  They are tasty, but... oh, she means biscuits!"  Haha)

Linea_Norway

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2017, 08:38:21 AM »

3.  Keeping the bog bowl clean with a daily swish round with the bog brush potentially saves embarrassment if guests ask to use the facilities.  Keep a box of matches there so one is to hand in order to strike: this disperses any smells instantly.


I am not a native speaker, but I can guess that it is you're describing here. In the 2 countries where I have lived, we tend to use this brush after every "number 2" when necessary. An American friend of mine told me that Americans often don't have a brush, because your toilets are different or use more water. But if this a cleaning issue, why not adapt European habits of the user him/herself using the brush after each visit?

Linea_Norway

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2017, 08:40:18 AM »
I tend not to clean my house for surprise visitors. They should just accept the house as it is. But I try generally to have a quite tidy house. It doesn't cost a lot of time to dry-wipe the floors and wash the guest bathroom. The kitchen we clean after every dinner. Although during the rest of the day, we tend to set dishes on the kitchen bank.

partgypsy

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2017, 08:45:28 AM »
I have very low standards, so this may not change anything you are doing at the moment -

1.  Agree wholeheartedly on the decluttering, which makes everything easier.

2.  If you can get in the habit of putting everything back in its place immediately after using it the house will always be more or less tidy, and it will be easy to sort out the few things that are out of place.  (The advice I got a long time ago from a skilled handyman is that the job is only done when the tools are back where they belong and ready to be used again: this principle can be applied to everything you do.)

3.  Keeping the bog bowl clean with a daily swish round with the bog brush potentially saves embarrassment if guests ask to use the facilities.  Keep a box of matches there so one is to hand in order to strike: this disperses any smells instantly.

4.  Any unwashed dishes either go in the dishwasher or the sink, rather than being left on tables, chairs or floors (worst) or the kitchen counter (not quite so bad).  Any guest who checks out dishes left in the sink is no friend of mine.

5.  With 15 minutes' notice, rugs can be shaken out and floors can be swept/hoovered: along with disposing of any cut flowers that have died this probably makes the biggest difference cleaning-wise after sorting out the bog and putting the unwashed dishes in the sink.

6.  I don't drink dairy, so always keep a carton of unsweetened long-keeping soya milk on hand for tea/coffee drinkers.

7.  For overnight guests, try not to use the spare bedroom as a dumping ground for things with no other home (ie again with the decluttering).  The bed can be kept made up, but needs to be aired with an electric blanket or hot water bottle in anything other than high summer.  Putting clean towels on top of the bedding make it obvious they are for guests' use.  Curtains or blinds on the window and a bedside lamp are the only other requirements for a guest bedroom.

8.  If a guest turns up at short notice needing anything more than tea and a biscuit, I expect them to assist in providing it and have no shame in saying so.  I need adequate notice if I am to do the full lunch/dinner party thing.

These are all very good ideas, especially where everyone picks up after themselves. I am not the neatest person, especially now working full time with 2 kids (in fact the house is getting away from me). The main thing I focus on is keeping living room clean (pretty easy because it is usually kept pretty neat) and the kitchen. That way there is at least 2 rooms to hang out in for socializing. I don't have a spare bedroom. However my plan is to re-organize the study with less stuff and a loveseat with pull out bed, so there is a cozy spot a little bit out of the way if someone sleeps over.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2017, 09:44:47 AM »
1. I always keep tea and coffee on hand to offer people.

2. We are tidy people by default, but this certainly helps with visitors. At most I have to pick up a couple tissues and put a couple plates into the dishwasher- there's really never any 'big clean' that has to happen.

3. Think of any particular needs your guest may have- ex, one of my friends is in a wheelchair so I pick up the area rugs in the hall before she comes over, since they bunch under her wheels. Little gestures like this IMO make the biggest impact. Similarly- if you have vegan friends, keep some almond milk on hand, or if you have friends with diabetes, have some sugar-free snacks available. Obviously you can't prepare for every small thing, and the goal isn't to make people feel singled out, but there are small gestures you can quietly make to make a visit more pleasant. My advice: don't draw attention to the gestures you make. They are things to do for comfort, not recognition. Oh! Another in this vein: I always turn the thermostat up when my mom visits since she's always cold.

4. Getting dressed every morning. Lol. It seems a lot of people who work from home fall into the trap of PJs all day. This leaves you scrambling if you have a surprise visitor. Setting a pattern where you're dressed and tidied up from breakfast before getting on with your day helps avoid 'visitor panic'.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2017, 10:02:53 AM »
One idea is to think about the little things you appreciate at a nice Bed and Breakfast.

An extra set of clean towels.
An extra roll of TP near the toilet.
Decluttered surfaces, except for a few small touches.
Snacks in the cupboard.

I tend to drink tea or water at home, so I've begun sticking a few fancy sodas and juices in the cupboard so I have something else to offer guests.

Keeping your place relatively tidy goes without saying. Perhaps keep a hand-vac and cleaning supplies near at hand so you can do quick touch ups before you leave the house? I agree a friend shouldn't expect Homes and Gardens level of perfection when visiting, but vacuuming dog hair off the couch is good.

SIS


shelivesthedream

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2017, 10:12:45 AM »
Keep 'em coming, guys!

By "ready for guests", I don't mean "OMG I must polish the doorknobs and iron the bedsheets" ready, but just where if you've gone to the cinema with a friend and they suggest going out to a restaurant you can say "Hey, why don't we go back to my place for dinner instead?" or if you bump into someone you can just say "Why don't you come back to mine for a coffee?"

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2017, 10:14:47 AM »
Keep 'em coming, guys!

By "ready for guests", I don't mean "OMG I must polish the doorknobs and iron the bedsheets" ready, but just where if you've gone to the cinema with a friend and they suggest going out to a restaurant you can say "Hey, why don't we go back to my place for dinner instead?" or if you bump into someone you can just say "Why don't you come back to mine for a coffee?"

Re: the dinner. Let this be additional motivation for always planning ahead for your OWN meals =) I also always keep a few ingredients stocked that I can always throw something together- canned beans/canned chilis/canned tomatoes, for example, I can throw together a chili quickly. Or chicken broth and eggs, I can always do a quick egg drop soup to round out a smaller portion of whatever we already had planned to eat. And a side of rice makes any meal stretch to more people =)

herbgeek

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2017, 10:44:47 AM »
We always have some kind of cookies and coffee/tea or cheese, crackers and wine available (depending on time of day and guest preference).  I tend to keep a lot of raw ingredients on hand, so can always whip up something for a meal with some notice (there is always pasta and sauce if nothing else).

For over night guests, I have a basket with an extra toothbrush, pain reliever, chocolate and a nightlight, along with a USB charger and a water carafe.

I try to keep one room relatively clutter free.

ltt

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2017, 10:51:53 AM »
Don't bring a lot of "stuff" into your home.  It's sometimes difficult if you have children.  Keep one bedroom/bathroom for guests.  And don't put much stuff into either one of them--just the basics.

We are hardly ever ready for guests, but after going through a graduation party last year, I've simply kept the area clean because we're having another one this year. :)

Catbert

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2017, 11:18:49 AM »
If you have pasta and jarred sauce you can always put together a quick meal.  In fact if you have dried pasta you can probably quickly create a meal out of random additional ingredients (Bacon+egg+cheese+pasta, or canned tuna+onion+olives+pasts, or greens+beans+pasta).

Bee21

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2017, 01:03:11 PM »
Declutter and minimise your stuff. Keep the living room and kitchen reasonably neat all the time. Not for the guests, for yourself. If you develop the habit for picking up every evening, all you will have to do if sby announces that they are 10 minutes away is a quick vacuum and toilet spot clean. Dust if you have the time. I also have a mess box, for any random stray items i find, which need rehoming, i can just quickly chuck things there.

I have 2 small kids, a neat one (5) and a messy one (7). It is interesting to see that the little one finds mess uncomfortable, so she puts things away. The other one doesn't mind the mess but doesn't like being yelled at. It turns out, she doesn't know how to clean up, once i explained to her that everything has a home and must return there after a visit,  plus we found a home for her stuff, she got much better at picking up. So I guess, we just have to train our families to pick up after themselves.

 I function better if there is less clutter around, and i don't see the cleaning jobs piling up, so it was important for me to keep a certain standard. But if sby is comfortable enough to just drop by, you must be close and they are probably coming to see you not to inspect the house. So chill. Offer them tea and coffee, have a packet of guest bikkies and you are good. Storecupboard pasta or delivered pizza are also good ideas.

Ps. People are horrified that we don't have a guest room or guest bed. We like entertaining, but we don't like overnight visitors, so it will stay that way.

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2017, 06:05:40 PM »
For me I like having snacks ready and a coffee or tea self serve area with everything easy to use.

We usually keep apples or pears and cheese around, so a  suggestion that has helped us is to always have a few nuts and crackers in the cupboard, only for guests. 

Cut up some cheese and apples, and put out the nuts and crackers and you always have a semi nice snack

I have a thrift store sugar bowl and small creamer, so I set them out by the coffee and mugs and kettle on the counter. It's all in one spot to help themselves. . No worries about leaving a big pitcher of milk out for the beverages.

snapperdude

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2017, 11:47:19 PM »
Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests

1) always park in the garage
2) put blinds on any windows near the front door that they could look in
3) keep your cellphones on vibrate in case they try calling while standing at the front door
4) use headphones for watching TV
5) keep the house as dark as possible at night (eg. blackout curtains)
6) an exterior camera so you can see when they are about to give up
7) well aimed on demand sprinklers for the stubborn ones

MBot

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2017, 08:41:28 PM »
For guests staying overnight, I typed up a nice "What to do in ______ town" sheet - double-sided, one page.

It has a few suggestions for restaurants, cafes, hiking, and our cultural/tourist attractions, as well as websites for each (where they can find hours for the market, a map to the hiking trail, etc.)

Goldielocks

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2017, 12:09:35 AM »
I like the idea of keeping a guest room 100% ready to go and clean at all times.   so the mess of my everyday is not a big deal, as there is a sanitary Oasis for the guest.


The other one, is that I really notice when I visit someone and they didn't take out the trash, or trash is left in the home for a little while.   So, I would suggest removing kitchen trash daily, and other trash once a week or more if it gets more than "paper" use...  That way you are always ready.

Oh,  and pick up underwear left in common rooms as you exit the room.   [wink]


Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2017, 05:44:14 AM »
FlyLady is some pretty useful tips for keeping a house everyday clean (like giving the bathroom a once over quickly, and getting a loo brush in a watertight container, and into this pouring a mix of bleach, soap and water so that you can clean the loo pan in a heartbeat).

I don't like all her stuff, a bunch of the stuff that she considers essential I wouldn't do unless the queen was visiting (and even then, probably not), but she has some clever tips.

EDIT: I've now found http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com which is much more my style, so I'm canning this recommendation (Content SFW but domain name may be blocked).
« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 05:16:55 AM by Playing with Fire UK »

Poundwise

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2017, 07:47:45 AM »
Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests

1) always park in the garage
2) put blinds on any windows near the front door that they could look in
3) keep your cellphones on vibrate in case they try calling while standing at the front door
4) use headphones for watching TV
5) keep the house as dark as possible at night (eg. blackout curtains)
6) an exterior camera so you can see when they are about to give up
7) well aimed on demand sprinklers for the stubborn ones

Tee hee!  :D

My golden rule for staying guest-ready is: Keep the bathroom clean
The idea being, you can always do cooking and some light tidying  while your surprise guests are there, but scrubbing the toilet shouldn't happen in their presence.

So basically, I try to keep our ground floor tidy in the following order: bathroom, front room (the one everybody sees when they step in the front door), kitchen fridge (nobody wants to eat from filthy fridge, but probably don't mind some amount of clutter on the counters). The ground floor is vacuumed, too, if there's time, since it's hard to vacuum and talk to guests.  Otherwise I might do a bit of sweeping in their presence.

Everything else can be tidied on the fly.

ohsnap

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2017, 07:55:58 AM »
...

My golden rule for staying guest-ready is: Keep the bathroom clean


Yes, as several others have mentioned, this is the MOST important thing.  I have a friend who loves to entertain but doesn't love to clean house.  I literally won't use the bathroom at her house - I "empty out" before I arrive and then if I have to go when I'm there, well, it's time to leave.  Honestly, it's as bad as gas station bathrooms I've been in.  Filthy floor and toilet, sometimes no soap, a hand towel that's been hanging there for who knows how long.   Please please please give your bathroom a tidy-up for guests!

shelivesthedream

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2017, 08:09:44 AM »
My golden rule for staying guest-ready is: Keep the bathroom clean
The idea being, you can always do cooking and some light tidying  while your surprise guests are there, but scrubbing the toilet shouldn't happen in their presence.

So basically, I try to keep our ground floor tidy in the following order: bathroom, front room (the one everybody sees when they step in the front door), kitchen fridge (nobody wants to eat from filthy fridge, but probably don't mind some amount of clutter on the counters). The ground floor is vacuumed, too, if there's time, since it's hard to vacuum and talk to guests.  Otherwise I might do a bit of sweeping in their presence.

Everything else can be tidied on the fly.

Oh yes, I like this. An achievable minimum and optional further priorities.

Villanelle

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2017, 08:11:00 AM »
I think having the guest bedroom 100% ready to go would be toward the bottom of my list.  Most often, drop-in type guests aren't going to end up spending the night.  If they do, it doesn't seem terribly important that the room be ready for them without 20 minutes of fussing around.

In addition to biscuits, I'd also always have something like a bag of tortilla chips and salsa, or Chex Mix, or something along those lines.  Unless you have reason to think you are going to have lots of drop-in overnight guests, I'd worry more about what to do to feed and occupy people for 2-4 hours.  Shelf stable snacks, cards and/or board games, etc.  Coffee and tea (as well as the additives), even if you don't drink them, and perhaps even a few cans of soda.  I also always have at least 2 bottles of red wine and a bottle of white in the house.  I can pop them open for guests, and they also make good last minutes gifts if I have to run somewhere.

That said, I basket for your guest bedroom with toiletries (take the ones from your next hotel stay), a WiFi plug and cable, a few small snacks and a couple bottles of water, etc. is always a nice touch for overnight guests.  If you want to be fancy, a robe and slippers in the closet is a nice luxury.

Beyond supplies, generally if your house is kept to a decently clean standard, you'll be fine.  Guest don't care that the lamp shade is dusty, or even if there is a dust bunny in the corner. 

Linea_Norway

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2017, 08:16:05 AM »
...

My golden rule for staying guest-ready is: Keep the bathroom clean

<...>   a hand towel that's been hanging there for who knows how long.

I fully agree and have also been horrified with the age of that towel at other people's house. But I would like to ask you others, how often do you clean the hand towel in the bathroom?

I hang up a clean towel every time I clean the bathroom, on average once a week and always the day before I get an announced guest.
I should also mention that I often use my own bathroom towel for drying my hands after washing them. So the hand towel is not used very much. We live with 2 adults in the house.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2017, 08:33:00 AM »
...

My golden rule for staying guest-ready is: Keep the bathroom clean

<...>   a hand towel that's been hanging there for who knows how long.

I fully agree and have also been horrified with the age of that towel at other people's house. But I would like to ask you others, how often do you clean the hand towel in the bathroom?

I hang up a clean towel every time I clean the bathroom, on average once a week and always the day before I get an announced guest.
I should also mention that I often use my own bathroom towel for drying my hands after washing them. So the hand towel is not used very much. We live with 2 adults in the house.

We do it weekly. If I have guests staying, it's nearly daily- we have white towels, and it astounds me how bad people are at washing their hands. Discolored majorly within 1 day. =\ But hey, that's why I have white towels, so you can see they're clean.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2017, 08:54:33 AM »

We do it weekly. If I have guests staying, it's nearly daily- we have white towels, and it astounds me how bad people are at washing their hands. Discolored majorly within 1 day. =\ But hey, that's why I have white towels, so you can see they're clean.

I have cream towels, I wash my hands well, and my hand towel still gets grubby by the end of the week.  I am guessing that some residue off my hands (hand oils, most likely) stays on the towel and attracts dirt particles in the air. They get dirty faster in  summer when there is more dust in the air.  My bath towels stay clean looking much longer.  Oh, well, when the hand towel needs washing everything goes in the wash.  Or "when it's time" even if they look OK.

With This Herring

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2017, 09:04:20 AM »
<...>   a hand towel that's been hanging there for who knows how long.

I fully agree and have also been horrified with the age of that towel at other people's house. But I would like to ask you others, how often do you clean the hand towel in the bathroom?

I hang up a clean towel every time I clean the bathroom, on average once a week and always the day before I get an announced guest.
I should also mention that I often use my own bathroom towel for drying my hands after washing them. So the hand towel is not used very much. We live with 2 adults in the house.

We do laundry every two weeks (at a laundromat), so the hand towel gets tossed in the wash then.  DBF and I tend to use our bath towels to dry our hands most of the time.  If one of us needs to grab a towel quickly to mop something up, we grab the hand towel and replace it with a fresh one afterwards.  (We don't have pretty hand towels.)  So, generally it is two weeks, but it could be two days if there is an odd spill.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2017, 09:54:43 AM »

We do it weekly. If I have guests staying, it's nearly daily- we have white towels, and it astounds me how bad people are at washing their hands. Discolored majorly within 1 day. =\ But hey, that's why I have white towels, so you can see they're clean.

I have cream towels, I wash my hands well, and my hand towel still gets grubby by the end of the week.  I am guessing that some residue off my hands (hand oils, most likely) stays on the towel and attracts dirt particles in the air. They get dirty faster in  summer when there is more dust in the air.  My bath towels stay clean looking much longer.  Oh, well, when the hand towel needs washing everything goes in the wash.  Or "when it's time" even if they look OK.

Well, our typical use they get 'dingy' after a week- a little off color, a little greyed. Somehow my mystical visitors (typically family) succeed in having them be blackened and matted within 24 hours. *that's* what I meant by being surprised, lol. Required oxyclean to restore to white, whereas our typical use just some laundry soap returns them to normal. I do wonder if things like hand lotions play a role? We don't use many products, and the stuff we do is like, apricot kernal oil and similar hippy-ish things.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2017, 11:16:30 AM »
Well, our typical use they get 'dingy' after a week- a little off color, a little greyed. Somehow my mystical visitors (typically family) succeed in having them be blackened and matted within 24 hours. *that's* what I meant by being surprised, lol. Required oxyclean to restore to white, whereas our typical use just some laundry soap returns them to normal. I do wonder if things like hand lotions play a role? We don't use many products, and the stuff we do is like, apricot kernal oil and similar hippy-ish things.

Wow.  With family I would just ask them what they have on their hands that the towels get so dirty.  After all, they have eyes, they can see them turning black.

Also, I have heard of people not using decorative soaps in guest bathrooms because the soaps are pristine and they don't want to be the first to use them, so they just rinse and dry.  Weird but understandable.  I am assuming you don't have this drawback to soap use?

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2017, 12:00:16 PM »
Well, our typical use they get 'dingy' after a week- a little off color, a little greyed. Somehow my mystical visitors (typically family) succeed in having them be blackened and matted within 24 hours. *that's* what I meant by being surprised, lol. Required oxyclean to restore to white, whereas our typical use just some laundry soap returns them to normal. I do wonder if things like hand lotions play a role? We don't use many products, and the stuff we do is like, apricot kernal oil and similar hippy-ish things.

Wow.  With family I would just ask them what they have on their hands that the towels get so dirty.  After all, they have eyes, they can see them turning black.

Also, I have heard of people not using decorative soaps in guest bathrooms because the soaps are pristine and they don't want to be the first to use them, so they just rinse and dry.  Weird but understandable.  I am assuming you don't have this drawback to soap use?

That towel issue is really gross.  Also, every bathroom I've seen with decorative soaps also has standard soap out to be used, which is nice.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2017, 12:14:15 PM »
Well, our typical use they get 'dingy' after a week- a little off color, a little greyed. Somehow my mystical visitors (typically family) succeed in having them be blackened and matted within 24 hours. *that's* what I meant by being surprised, lol. Required oxyclean to restore to white, whereas our typical use just some laundry soap returns them to normal. I do wonder if things like hand lotions play a role? We don't use many products, and the stuff we do is like, apricot kernal oil and similar hippy-ish things.

Wow.  With family I would just ask them what they have on their hands that the towels get so dirty.  After all, they have eyes, they can see them turning black.

Also, I have heard of people not using decorative soaps in guest bathrooms because the soaps are pristine and they don't want to be the first to use them, so they just rinse and dry.  Weird but understandable.  I am assuming you don't have this drawback to soap use?

Excellent thought, but not in this case. It's pump soap, that I always keep full.

Two of the relatives who I know are main culprits (BIL and Brother) both have extremely slovenly homes that reflect similar levels of tidiness, so I can't say I'm surprised. Just grossed out =( And infinitely grateful that I have such a clean and tidy husband.

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2017, 01:03:22 PM »
I, um, used a Pinterest printable file and a thrift store frame to put the wifi password in the guest room in a reasonably appealing way. For something that cost all of 50 cents, you wouldn't believe the number of people who have commented that it was SO nice and SO welcoming and SO great to have that there.

If people are staying overnight in a place with very limited cell signal (yes, I do in fact live in the middle of nowhere), it seems nice to ensure SOME access to the wider world, especially once people start settling into bed. And given the number of people who've commented, it's an appreciated courtesy.

ariapluscat

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2017, 02:46:10 PM »
I like to be able to offer coffee, tea, or wine spontaneously. If your dishes are done, beds are made, and bathroom kept wiped up on an ongoing basis, you should be good to go. I'm not interested in being any more spontaneous than that.

But since you asked, I would say have an air mattress or two on hand, with bedding for them. And for a spontaneous dinner, I would say just order some pizza and wings--maybe salad with it, some garlic knots, a bottle of soda if everybody drinks it. Kind of pricey, but easy.

I've never had much luck keeping company snacks or non-perishable food in the cupboard just in case of visitors. It always gets eaten up beforehand.

this is the best advice.
always having clean sheets and a blanket for a surprise overnight guest, even if it's just for the couch is A+ host(ess).
always having wine and some type of snack, which can range from 3 potatoes to make homemade fries or a pack of oreos, is a great way to lure people over rather than go out. it's really amazing how surprised the young recent college grad group is by a host making delicious roast veggies. and how happy they are too :)

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2017, 02:53:18 PM »
Yes, as several others have mentioned, this is the MOST important thing.  I have a friend who loves to entertain but doesn't love to clean house.  I literally won't use the bathroom at her house - I "empty out" before I arrive and then if I have to go when I'm there, well, it's time to leave.  Honestly, it's as bad as gas station bathrooms I've been in.  Filthy floor and toilet, sometimes no soap, a hand towel that's been hanging there for who knows how long.   Please please please give your bathroom a tidy-up for guests!

This is my brother's bathroom.  So horrifying.  On Christmas, my family was hanging out at my brother's in the morning while my husband and I were at his family's.  Then everyone was converging at my house.  My mom held it until she arrived at my house.  Don't blame her a bit.

Really, it doesn't take that long to clean the bathroom.  As a non-overnight guest, I don't care what your shower looks like - just please take 15 minutes to scrub the toilet, clean the sink and counter, ensure there is soap, change the hand towel, and empty the trash.  That's it.

ariapluscat

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2017, 02:53:42 PM »
I, um, used a Pinterest printable file and a thrift store frame to put the wifi password in the guest room in a reasonably appealing way. For something that cost all of 50 cents, you wouldn't believe the number of people who have commented that it was SO nice and SO welcoming and SO great to have that there.

If people are staying overnight in a place with very limited cell signal (yes, I do in fact live in the middle of nowhere), it seems nice to ensure SOME access to the wider world, especially once people start settling into bed. And given the number of people who've commented, it's an appreciated courtesy.

++ having the wifi available written down and having multiple chargers for phones. also having a spot available for friends to plug in their laptop/own electronic device. ppl get really happy when rescued from 10% battery

an aunt of mine has a "shoes off please" sign in a little frame in her condo. i just tell people when them come in.

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #37 on: January 23, 2017, 03:02:55 PM »
But hey, that's why I have white towels, so you can see they're clean.

I have white towels too.   How do you get them white and bright?  a service tech used my powder room and must have wiped his sweaty head and neck with the white hand towel.  I've bleached it and sprayed it with stain remover and the stain is STILL there. 

Do these High Efficiency washers actually clean things? 

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #38 on: January 23, 2017, 03:09:24 PM »
A soak in oxygen bleach (the powdered stuff, not normal bleach) has worked wonders for me in the past. If only I could be bothered more often.

Also, WTF?! People have special soap just for decoration and then additional soap to actually be used? That is INSANE.

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #39 on: January 23, 2017, 06:02:21 PM »
But hey, that's why I have white towels, so you can see they're clean.

I have white towels too.   How do you get them white and bright?  a service tech used my powder room and must have wiped his sweaty head and neck with the white hand towel.  I've bleached it and sprayed it with stain remover and the stain is STILL there. 

Do these High Efficiency washers actually clean things?

Well, up until uh... 4 hours ago, it was achieved by washing with oxy clean in a 24 year old washing machine. Sadly, that machine can RIP, because a part went that no longer exists.

That being said, in the past I've gotten some NASTY stains out with stripping in boiling vinegar water.

Be sure you apply some good chemistry to it too- the stain type really determines what will work. Ex, if I get blood on my scrubs (nurse), I'm gonna go for hydrogen peroxide. Lubricating oils are unfortunately one of the hardest stain types to remove =( Especially once they're set in.

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #40 on: January 23, 2017, 10:02:01 PM »
Also, WTF?! People have special soap just for decoration and then additional soap to actually be used? That is INSANE.

People?  Yes.  Me?  No.  If present, usually they sit in a little dish on the edge of the sink next to the heavily embroidered pair of matching hand towels that color-coordinate with the dish of potpourri on the back of the toilet next to the lace-covered tissue box.  There will also, invariably, be a wallpaper border.
Seashell soaps, dusty seashell soaps, heart soaps

I think that this froo-froo bathroom with decorative soaps thing must have been popular at some point in the last fifty years, as I still see occasional houses with guest bathrooms going the whole nine yards, but don't ask me to pin it down better than that.  The family in such a house uses a pump soap and a separate, hidden hand towel.

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #41 on: January 24, 2017, 12:01:37 AM »
Be sure you apply some good chemistry to it too- the stain type really determines what will work. Ex, if I get blood on my scrubs (nurse), I'm gonna go for hydrogen peroxide. Lubricating oils are unfortunately one of the hardest stain types to remove =( Especially once they're set in.

This might be too late, but I've had luck using Swarfega to get the oil out and then washing up liquid (rather than clothes liquid) to get the Swarfega out. But sometimes the towel is still destined to become flannels or rags.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #42 on: January 24, 2017, 12:51:41 AM »
I, um, used a Pinterest printable file and a thrift store frame to put the wifi password in the guest room in a reasonably appealing way. For something that cost all of 50 cents, you wouldn't believe the number of people who have commented that it was SO nice and SO welcoming and SO great to have that there.

If people are staying overnight in a place with very limited cell signal (yes, I do in fact live in the middle of nowhere), it seems nice to ensure SOME access to the wider world, especially once people start settling into bed. And given the number of people who've commented, it's an appreciated courtesy.

Smart. Guests indeed want to use the wifi. From us, they get the normal password. But making a separate guest password and hanging it on the wall is smart and a nice gesture.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #43 on: January 24, 2017, 02:34:54 AM »
Also, WTF?! People have special soap just for decoration and then additional soap to actually be used? That is INSANE.

People?  Yes.  Me?  No.  If present, usually they sit in a little dish on the edge of the sink next to the heavily embroidered pair of matching hand towels that color-coordinate with the dish of potpourri on the back of the toilet next to the lace-covered tissue box.  There will also, invariably, be a wallpaper border.
Seashell soaps, dusty seashell soaps, heart soaps

I think that this froo-froo bathroom with decorative soaps thing must have been popular at some point in the last fifty years, as I still see occasional houses with guest bathrooms going the whole nine yards, but don't ask me to pin it down better than that.  The family in such a house uses a pump soap and a separate, hidden hand towel.

Don't worry, I didn't think it was you! My grandmother has always had a carpeted bathroom, which I thought was the height of impracticality, but additional decorative versions of functional items... My world will never be the same again.

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #44 on: January 24, 2017, 05:29:43 AM »
After buying my first multi-family property, we downsized to move into one of the apartments. Talk about freedom! We have less stuff now (still need to get rid of more things) and are getting used to living in a smaller space. Living room seating can be adjusted for guests by bringing in the ottoman from the mudroom which can seat two, or pulling out two sturdy end tables for seating.

The challenge now is managing all the paper that comes with the property, but after tax season we will start scanning the important papers and seeing what we can live without.

NDQ

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #45 on: January 26, 2017, 01:54:41 PM »
Also, WTF?! People have special soap just for decoration and then additional soap to actually be used? That is INSANE.

How about an entire bathroom that is just for decoration?  The first time I visited my college-boyfriend's family, I used the guest powder room while his mom was getting ready for dinner.  boyfriend freaked out and started scrubbing and polishing the sink (black sink, shaped like a shell).  I asked what all the fuss was about and he said "that bathroom's only for guests".  I AM A GUEST!!!!  Anyway, they also had two complete kitchens and only the mom was allowed to use the upstairs kitchen and I think she only used it for company.  They also never sat in their living room. 

Bizarre!  (But, hey, that's New Jersey for you)

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Re: Advice to make you and your home always ready for guests
« Reply #46 on: January 27, 2017, 05:17:58 AM »
FlyLady is some pretty useful tips for keeping a house everyday clean (like giving the bathroom a once over quickly, and getting a loo brush in a watertight container, and into this pouring a mix of bleach, soap and water so that you can clean the loo pan in a heartbeat).

I don't like all her stuff, a bunch of the stuff that she considers essential I wouldn't do unless the queen was visiting (and even then, probably not), but she has some clever tips.
I've now found UFYH which is much more my style, so I'm canning this recommendation (Content SFW but domain name may be blocked).