Getting your home in shape for your guests takes some work – a little or a lot, depending on its size and condition. But we’ve found a real upside to welcoming guests into our home once or twice a year. Thinking about strangers living in our home motivates us to fix leaky faucets, replace burned-out bulbs, clean out the pantry – all those pesky tasks we’d never get around to doing otherwise.
Your Basic Task List
- Fix anything that could be dangerous
- Repair damaged and worn-out items
- Clear away clutter and make room for guests’ things
- Secure your valuables and private papers
- Stock up on basic supplies
- Decide how to handle the phone, mail, and newspapers
- Arrange for someone to answer guests’ questions and deal with problems
- Prepare a “user guide” that explains how things work
- Alert your neighbors that people will be staying in your place
- Scrub and polish so the place will be spic-and-span when guests arrive
Home Prep Tips
- To keep the job from feeling overwhelming, set priorities and focus on what actually needs to be done. Maybe the bathroom could use a paint job, but it’s more important to fix the broken stairs that someone might trip on.
- Create checklists to help you remember everything important you need to do. (I find checking things off oddly satisfying!)
- If you’re very busy, get help. Consider hiring a fix-it person and/or a cleaning service.
- Leave extra time for the unexpected, like the washer breaking down the day before guests arrive (it happened to us). A last-minute rush will leave you exhausted, and that’s not a great way to start a trip!
What’s Next: What to repair, replace, or remove