Around the House: Prepare Spare Rooms to Treat Guests with Comfort and Respect: Part 1
By Yehudit Garmaise
Offering or agreeing to provide overnight guests with a place to stay is one small part of providing comfort and kavod to visitors.
By making efforts in advance to prepare guest rooms and bathrooms, hosts can show they are eagerly anticipating their guests.
Just as hosts should take care to put away their phones and welcome their guests with a friendly face and full attention, guest rooms themselves should be prepared to exude care and good cheer.
Provide a designated space: Hosts can provide more breathing room and peace of mind to guests by first clearing out unused items that may be stored in extra rooms. Perhaps now is a good time to donate or toss anything that is collecting dust and going unused.
Make sure to remove any personal items you think you might need during your guest's stay so as to protect your visitor's privacy while they are staying with you.
Prepare new, cheerful, and/or relaxing bedding and fresh, plush towels: Outdated sheets and worn towels with strings hanging off them can be thrown away with your old paperwork and unused exercise equipment. Guest linens should be chosen with care, as they say, a lot about how hosts feel about having guests.
Keep it spotless: Before guests arrive, ensure guest rooms are swept, vacuumed, and made up with clean sheets. Neatly lay fresh bath towels on beds.
Provide the essentials on a clean night table. Ensure you provide: a working clock, a Shabbos lamp already turned on, negel vasser wash cup, bottles of water and seltzer, a tissue box, a magazine or a book that might be of interest to your guests, and a few parve snacks.
Make space in your closet and dresser: If you keep off-season clothing in your guest room, move it over to make space for your guests to hang their clothing. Provide the appropriate hangers for shirts, skirts, jackets, and pants. To create welcoming aromas, try a dresser sachet that provides a pleasant scent, like lavender, rose, jasmine, ocean, gardenia, and lily.
Buy a small luggage stand for suitcases.
If guests are from out-of-town: print out a little map of the immediate neighborhood, and highlight where they will walk to shul, to parks, or other places they might go over Shabbos.
Provide the combination to your front door lock written on a piece of paper, or leave an extra key so guests can come and go without worrying about disturbing anyone.
Make sure the bathroom is clean and stocked with: All necessary paper goods: plus extras such as plastic cups or a tumbler, soap for the sink and shower, shampoo and conditioner, pleasantly scented lotion, fresh hand towels, Q-tips, cotton balls, and a hook on the door for towels and clothing.
Fresh, colorful flowers in a vase also says, “Welcome. I am so glad you are here.” For fun, your kids can also prepare signs with drawings for the front door that say, “Welcome” with your guests’ names.
Stay tuned for next week’s “Around the House” for tips on how to keep your guests feeling comfortable after their arrival.