Tis the season where an inordinate number of guests seems to descend upon us, particularly if we live near water or have a pool and it’s Fourth of July weekend. Get a system down so that rather than wearing yourself out before the guests even arrive, you’ll be ready to greet them with a smile and a Mojito.1. Bedding. I don’t know about you, but my most hated thing about prepping for guests is making up beds, particularly trying to wrestle a large duvet cover onto a duvet. As soon as a guest leaves, strip their beds and do the wash. Then keep your bedding in ready-to-go packs. What I mean is, throw the coordinating fitted sheet, top sheet and cases into one of the pillow cases for each bed or sofa you’ll need to make up.
Make it easier on yourself by getting all one color for each size of bed. Say white for twin/blow ups, gray for double/queen. That way when the linens come out of the dryer it’s that much easier to put your sets together. If you hate making beds so much it keeps you from asking people over, leave the set on top of the stripped bed and tell your guests they just came out of the dryer moments before they arrived, which will sucker them into helping your make up the bed.
2. Give them room to hang. Clothing. Towels. Coats. Et. Al. Space for guests is usually tight, and chances are your closets are stuffed. Wall hooks are an efficient way to add maximum storage. I like train rack-like style like this one from Artek because they can add folded clothing and bags on the top. In a pinch, over-the-door hooks outfitted with hangers will do.
3. Have the bathroom prepped. Leave out a pile of towels, a fresh bar of soap and keep some extra toothbrushes in your supply closet for those who forget their own. If you’re sharing a bathroom, try to keep your own stuff stashed away so that your guests can have some counter space.
4. Make a mi casa es su casa policy in the kitchen. Let your guests know where the glasses and plates, pitcher of spiked Arnold Palmers and snacks are so that they can serve themselves. Leave out a bowl of fruit (or Halloween candy, depending on your guest) and snack-size bags of pretzels, nuts or whatever you know they like.
5. Create a swim supply station in a mudroom, cubbies near the backdoor or coat closet if a pool or beach is involved. Keep fresh beach towels and sunscreen here for people to grab on the go. You may want to keep extra reusable shopping bags here to serve as beach totes for those who didn’t pack one. Let them guests know your towel policy from the get go, i.e. hanging them on the line to dry or throwing them on top of the washer on the way indoors.
Bonus points: Add frills. A carafe of water, fresh glossy magazines and a sweet bouquet by the bed — you’re Martha Stewart league now.