1. Clean and wash ahead of time. Anytime anyone stays in our guest bed I try to wash the sheets right after they leave and re-make the bed. This way the bed is always ready, even for spur of the moment guests. Also, keep in mind what day your guests are coming and plan to clean your house a few days before they get there. Do the most urgent things first, and anything you don't finish, forget about.
2. DO NOT apologize for the cleanliness of your house or the things you haven't done. All this really does is make your guest feel like they have stressed you out. If you don't point out the few things you didn't accomplish chances are they won't even notice, but by going on about how crazy things have been you make them feel like an inconvenience rather than a special and exciting visitor.
3. Make a comfortable area for your guests. I like to make our guest room (which doubles as an office when we don't have guests) mimic a hotel room. I leave mints on the pillows and on the nightstand I have a cup and coaster, as well as some mini toiletries. I like to put a few magazines or a book that I feel like the guest might enjoy on the night stand as well.
Even if your guest is just sleeping on a couch or a blow up bed you can still make their area nice. Clean out a drawer for their things in the bathroom (even if you just have to empty your stuff into a bag for a week). You can also do a makeshift nightstand. The nightstand in our guest bedroom is actually an old TV tray that Bryce's grandma gave us. I have seen them at thrift stores for a few dollars. They are easy to move and store and would be ideal for an irregular guest area.
4. Plan meals in advance. I assume when we are going to have company that we will be going out for dinner at least once and maybe more and make sure we save room in our budget for it. However, the majority of our meals will still be eaten at home and if you plan ahead you are far less likely to to spend more than you had hoped. Meals can still be fun at home, and they can still be special for a guest. Make your guests favorite meal. Have a barbeque. Make yummy breakfasts. Plan a few desserts. All these things make the time feel special without spending nearly as much as you would going out.
Also, be sure to plan for your guests dietary needs if there are any. My sister is deathly allergic to nuts, so when she comes I am careful about putting any we do have away, and checking ingredient labels on anything I buy. My parents eat super healthy. Anytime they stay with us I try to have lots of fruits and veggies and minimal treats. I know that if they eat a bunch of crap and feel sick every time they come they are less likely to visit frequently :).
5. Show them what you love about your town. Do all your favorite "normal" things while they are visiting. Take them to the best local park. Where we live, it is pretty warm year round, so guests like to do things like swim and hike. It can also be fun to show them the touristy things by where you live so that they feel like they saw everything there is to see. You can also research free concerts and activities that might be going on in your area.
6. Add a personal touch. Make or have your kids make a welcome sign for when your guests arrive. Write a thank you note after your visitor leaves letting them know how much you appreciated the visit and that you love them, etc.
If you make an effort your guests will be able to see that and they will feel welcome and loved whether or not you have a ton of space or spent a ton of money.
Have fun hosting!
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