Archive for guests

Comet….it makes your mouth turn green

Posted in Always be prepared with tags , , , , , on December 8, 2009 by sartorialbutch

I’ve got a BUNCH of guests coming through town this week, some from far far away, and some from not so far away, and some from down the street. Point is, I want to be a good host.  I’ve spent the last couple of days spending a few minutes here and there straightening up – as I am somewhat anal-retentive about cleanliness, my house actually doesn’t need much work. I will admit that the real “deep cleaning” doesn’t happen as often as I’d like it too, but having a bunch of guests always kick starts me into motion.

You already know how I feel about kitchens and bathrooms, and since acquiring the “sartorial doggie” I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping floors and the couch vacuumed at least weekly, if not more. Actually, her arrival made me have to go and actually buy a vacuum, as I have hardwood floors and up until that point relied on my broom. I will admit, I’m a sucker for technology, and as I’m not such a dirty person rely on a swiffer mop to go over the floors after vacuuming happens. If you have pets, like I do, it’s really nice to get up as much pet hair as possible, not only to damper down allergens (though do this a day before, not the day of guests especially if you know they are allergic – the vacuum will just stir it all up the day of) but so that pet hair doesn’t get all over guests clothes.

Make sure you’ve got clean towels and sheets on hand. I’ve got two extra sets that I usually use as my bedding but as I am in an apartment and don’t have a TON of room, I don’t have sheets that are “guests only” quite yet. I do have some guest only pillows, and it’s always good to have those on hand.  Same goes for towels – make sure they are on hand and clean.

Just like as if you were planning on having a guest of the….overnight shared sheets type, have some basic necessities handy in case something has been forgotten at home. Toothbrushes, especially are easily forgotten.  I also have a few different kinds of shampoos and soaps in the shower so that there is an assortment. Assortment is nice and isn’t relegated to the bathroom alone. Have some beverages on hand, juice, beer, wine and water are a good start. I also keep a few sodas in the fridge for guests – though admittedly I’m becoming a very big fan of Diet Pepsi. Really, I love regular Coke, it’s my fave, but it’s wickedly bad for me and DP tastes more like Coke than Diet Coke does.  Swear.

Clean the house well. I always kind of think that a bathroom that smells faintly of bleach is super clean. This is not always true but usually it is. I’m not saying burn out your nasal passages or anything, and if you have sensitivities, well use natural cleaners, but make sure the shower/tub is really spotless, the sink is devoid of dried on toothpaste, and the mirror doesn’t have splashes of hair gel or um….more toothpaste splatter on it either. Make sure the toilet sparkles. This isn’t rocket science, but knowing that your house is really clean will take the edge off wondering if that’s the case when guests arrive. It also lets them know that you care enough about their presence to go the extra mile for them. Remember, if you go the extra mile, there’s usually no traffic. Cheesy, but true. Preparing in advance means you’re generally not going to have surprises, like running out of toilet paper.

Make sure that the room your guests are staying in is especially clean. Even if it’s just the couch in your living room (which in my case, it mostly is) make sure the room is clean, and there are some empty surfaces so that your guests have places to put their stuff.  One thing that I do that makes my guests know I care is that I’ve got a bunch of nightlights strategically placed around my house. They’re fairly non-offensive, but it makes life pretty easy when they have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and can just follow the path of lightly glowing least resistance.

Have some plans! You all know how I feel about plans! If you can, have some menu’s from local restaurants and pubs at your avail so that you have suggestions. You can even go the extra mile and email some websites of places you like so that when your guests come they are excited and have an idea of what they might like to eat. If you KNOW what they like to eat – as in one of my guests is gluten-free and I’ve made sure we’ve got plenty of fruits and veggies and protein and rice products on hand – we’ll be able to make a meal together without much issue. I also know that I’m having a very much looked forward to John Waters movie sleepover and I’ve got the makings of midnight snacks as well.

Take an extra few minutes to find out if there are any special happenings going on in your town/nearby cities while your guests are in your home. Heck, you might even find something that you’d really like to do as well!

As I’ve said repeatedly, it really is the little things that you do for people that shows them how much you appreciate and care for them – and when guests stay at your home this is even more evident. A little bit of planning and a little bit of cleaning and a little bit of common sense pretty much ensures that both you and your guests are going to really enjoy the stay.

What do you do to make guests feel at home?

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Practical Magic

Posted in Home Decor with tags , , , , on November 12, 2009 by sartorialbutch

We’ve come to the first post that isn’t about clothing, but about home decor. We’ll get into more specific details as time goes by, going over certain rooms in your house and how you can make them more….suited to be convenient and stylish at the same time. For now we’ll  just poke our heads into the world of home decorating and how you can make your place accomplish the three large goals that a personal dwelling should achieve. First, you should be comfortable and happy. Second, it should be welcoming enough that your friends  like to spending time with you at your house. Third your home should be inviting enough that a special friend might want to spend the evening.

Your home should show your personality and likes. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to make your place both stylish or homey or some combination of the two. Even just a coat of fresh paint can make a blah room become one where people gravitate.

For me, I get skeeved out when I go into a home where there are no visible books or art. You can keep your books hidden in bedrooms or offices but even just a coffee table book makes me feel like there’s more than just watching tv going on in a home.

As for art? Unless you really do live in a dorm room, get rid of the posters. Yeah, I know, you love “Persistence of Memory,” but it’s time to grow up and be original. And original art doesn’t need to be expensive. Look out for sales at local art schools, or artist studios. And, for G-d’s sake, you’re  (I’m using an umbrella term. I know this doesn’t apply to everyone. Really.) queer. Odds are really good you know a talented artist (or four) who probably wouldn’t mind if their work was on display in the home of a friend. You might even be able to barter your skills, whatever they may be, for some original art. If you absolutely HAVE to keep the “Pulp Fiction” movie poster, at least frame it, okay?

Make sure that your house is clean. I can’t stress this one enough. It is relatively easy to keep kitchens and bathrooms fairly spotless.  It’s ok if there’s a dish or two in the sink but your bathroom needs to not be grody. At all. Your friends won’t want to come over because of it and no one else is going to want to stay over if they have to shower in a gross, mildewy, nasty shower.

You don’t have to be completely anal-retentive (like me) and have a fairly spotless house most of the time. A little bit of clutter is fine and well, kind of makes things a little homey. Just don’t be dirty. Vacuum. Mop. Dust. When you can’t see over piles of stuff? That’s when your clutter has officially become your mess and you need to fix that asap before you become one of those OCD pack rat hoarders that they make tv shows about. Take 10 minutes a day and keep up your place. It makes a huge difference.

Your home should be warm, no matter how big or small it is. I don’t mean heat wise (in that regards I’m a total conservationist) I mean comfort wise. There should be rooms that people want to gravitate to, and you should recognize that and make it easy for them to stay there. I love to cook and entertain. Naturally, people end up in my kitchen eating, talking, and helping me out. I noticed pretty early on that people who weren’t helping out were just standing around and not knowing where to hang while in the kitchen and so I remedied this with a couple of low bar stools that I picked up at Ikea.  Voila. Guests had a place to sit and be included in everything that was going on and it was an instant improvement.

I also keep a bunch of extra folding chairs hidden away for when parties become bigger and groups of people end up sitting around my dining room table chatting into the early hours of the next day.  There’s also enough seating in my living room that a pretty good sized group of people can chill out and watch a movie or play video games. Having places for people to get comfy themselves will totally make them want to hang out at your place more often.

As for potential overnight visitors? For goodness sake make sure your bedroom is impeccable. Clean sheets. Bed made. Floor clean. Good music (if you can handle music while, you know…I can’t. The songs get stuck in my head and I lose concentration, but if it works for you, go for it)and…supplies…should be at the ready. Also, if its going to be an overnight, prepare in advance. Have extra clean towels and maybe even an extra robe hanging around. Don’t be all rico-suave about it and have it on the door ready to go, be cute about it in the morning, “I may have an extra robe, lemme check” style. Additionally, extra toothbrushes are never a bad thing – and will also remind you to change yours out more often.

Have good coffee and juice and cold water ready to go. You don’t need to come across like a player to be prepared for company even without much notice. Trust me, your guests will notice the care you’ve taken in making them feel welcome in your home and will both want to come back, and also invite you to spend more time with them as well.

What do YOU do to make guests, overnight or otherwise, feel comfortable in your home?