As I type this, the Mister is hard at work mopping the perpetually dog-hair, dog-pawprint and dogbone-debris ridden kitchen. His father is coming to town and we get into high cleaning mode whenever we have a visitor.

Other than clean for your impending arrivals, what do you do?
This is what I do:

1. Fluffy towel and washcloth on nicely-made bed. The towel is usually brand-new ’cause all houseguest towels later get used to dry off the dog after a muddy, rainy walk and left to hang-dry on the balcony until they are so soiled that washing them is not an option. Bad for the environment and the landfill, don’t be like me.

And, that’s about it.

I want to be the hostess-with-the-mostess. I do, I do! So what else is there? I looked to Martha for advice.

1. “Keep sets of guest towels together, bound with twill tape or ribbon. When visitors arrive, just transfer a stack from linen closet to guest bedroom.”

Can I please get my life together enough to have a properly functioning linen closet? Please? Or how about a set of towels that do not get used for the dog?

2. “Give your overnight guests the five-star treatment by setting chilled spring water on their nightstand. Choose a vessel, such as a vase or a large julep cup, that is deep enough to accommodate a small bottle and ice. Place a saucer underneath to collect the condensation and protect the surface of the table.”

First of all, I drink Chicago tap water and it is damn good. Damn good. Second, how long does that water sit there? Do I go sneak it in there right before his nightcap? How do I remove it in the morning to refill? How do I keep the dog from trying to drink it?

3. “In a strange room, comfort and space are more soothing than a clutter of unfamiliar things. On a bedside table, place a single flower bloom in a simple glass, a nice clock, and a selection of books suited to your guests’ tastes.”

Books suited to my father-in-law’s tastes? This I can do. A flower? Okay. Clock? Got it. Now, where does the water glass fit on this humongous bedside table?

4. “Make sure there is adequate closet and drawer space. Supply a variety of hangers — at least a dozen good wooden or metal ones — that will hold trousers and jackets, flimsy dresses, and heavy coats. And make certain there is a full-length mirror.”

Chicago-style “vintage” apartment. No closets in the shoebox sized bedrooms and dammit, I repurposed the dresser that was in there. I did, however, hang hooks on the back of the door. I hope this works. Oh, and I have no mirror.

5. “Make up a double bed with four ample sleeping pillows — two medium or firm, and two soft — as well as two smaller pillows to prop up the head when reading. Use cotton or linen sheets, starched and ironed for hotel crispness. Provide both light and heavy blankets, as well as a lightweight throw for afternoon naps.”

I do not own starch. I also do not own four extra pillows. They wouldn’t fit on the twin bed– all that will fit in the room and still allow the door to close– I am having delivered tomorrow at 6pm anyways. I have one quilt and my Grandma’s best friend made it. It is gorgeous and will do just fine, thankyouverymuch.

6. “Guests may be baffled by the nuances of your stereo, climate-control, and burglar-alarm systems. Provide them with a handy guide to using your keypads and remote controls: Type or write instructions, and collect them in a convenient book like the ring binder shown here. Mark sections with tabs for each piece of equipment.”

Just no.

I love Martha but I’m just not up for all of this yet. Tell me what you do to prepare for guests. Any of the above?

All images and fancy houseguest advice from Martha Stewart.


5 responses to “houseguests!

  1. mitzel. first of all great article … very funny. and Martha tried but for any average person her requests are a far far stretch. starch? what is that? anyway when i have guests coming (the boys) i make the room comfortable for them, set up the tv with games and keep more things out of the particular room than full so they can feel free to be relaxed and make a mess! there is my two cents.

  2. make them a “fancy” breakfast.One cup of milk-3/4 of acup of flour-3 eggs-1/5 of a melted butter stick.Mix.U have u crepe dough.Have a nice selection of jams,fruits n whip cream or nutella,good coffee,and hook that breakfast up,sister!I usually keep my dough in a tupperware shaker bottle -my french version of shake n pour-and it will last u 4 a while.change ur doses according to # of guests;)

  3. I take all the fancy unopened toiletry samples I have saved from free cosmetic gifts and arrange them in a basket for the use of my guests. Ladies appreciate it especially!

  4. Holy cow, I am suddenly feeling like the worst hostess ever. Really the people who stay with us have stayed before, so they kinda know the ropes around my house. All I have to do is get them drunk and tell them to make themselves at home. hahahahahaha

  5. Thanks, ladies!
    @ Britzel xxoo Lil Mama
    @ Nadege That sounds delicious!
    @ Heather Color me impressed!
    @ Jennifer I have a case of Pilsner in the fridge. Father-in-law likes his beer 😉

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