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Posted by Kevin Stevens | Jul 03, 2012

Preparing for Family House Guests

Wine can really help in keeping thing running smoothly.

The family approaches with their overnight bags. Would you be ready? (Photo: Franco Giovanella/sxc.hu)Tick tock, tick tock: The clock is running and the in-laws will be here in one week! For those that live far away from family, these visits have more significance than those who might get a visit every week or two. Here is how I prepare my house for a visit from the in-laws.

Busy Lives and Priorities

Like most people life can get pretty busy and taking on some extra chores means something else has to give. In both of my brothers’ cases it might mean the cleaning service comes in for an extra day; for me it means a little less sleep since our Denver-area cleaning service is my sweetie and me. This is one of a handful of differences in how people prepare for guests. 

For us being mountain recluses, overnight guests are pretty rare and chances are the guest room has transitioned into its more natural state of entropy. We still call the guest room “shipping and receiving” as it tends to collect boxes and packaging from what might have arrived from UPS in the last few weeks or months. It also contains some of the overflow from our pantry.

As the least used room in the entire house it tends to take the lowest priority. The saying "out of sight and out of mind" holds true here.

The Deeper Clean

It is not like we are slobs or anything; our primary living spaces are clutter free and virtually spotless. Day to day vacuuming and dusting comprise the majority of our routine cleaning. When guests are scheduled we get down on our hands and knees and get the dust bunnies from under the couch and behind the doors. Depending on how many guests are coming and the length of their stay, we may even stock up on paper products and wine. (Wine can really help in keeping thing running smoothly.) 

In addition to the in-laws next week (their first visit) we are playing host to my partner's sister and her husband. This will also be their first visit, so the household head count will be up to 8. Overflow sleeping will be accomplished with an inflatable bed in our library.  One of the guests in next week’s group suffers from MS and is wheelchair bound. My home is not ADA compliant as all of my door thresholds are a bit higher. One of the tasks on my list is to construct a ramp that will allow a wheelchair easy travel in and out of our sliding doors. Fortunately, I'm a carpenter and I have the skills to build such a ramp.

 

Keeping Them Entertained

My parents were here recently for a visit. They come out once of twice a year. Since their visit was just a few weeks ago a good deal of the “work” involved with cleaning and prep has already been done. While spending a lot of time face to face with your guest is good, it is also nice to be able to let them do their own thing. To that end we had the brilliant idea of relocating our one and only TV into the guestroom. We only watch an hour or two of TV each month via streamed internet content (we canceled our satellite service over 18 months ago), so for us not to have the TV in our bedroom is not a sacrifice at all. Knowing that our guests watch TV every day, it would make them feel more at home to have it available. 

One added touch we like to do for guests is to bring in a large bouquet of fresh flowers for the dinning room table. It adds certain flair and highlights the special event of their visit.

It is good to be able to share our lives now and then with family…but we are also thankful that these visits are infrequent and short-lived. It may not be that way for others, but we have gotten used to our simpler lives, and it works for us and for our guests.

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