Sunday, July 22, 2012

Let's Talk: Prepping for Guests

Despite the fact that I live in a one-bedroom condo, I absolutely love to entertain and host overnight guests while they are in town or just stopping by. I have a really nice queen-sized aerobed that I can pull out in a minute to set up a temporary bedroom in the living room, and tons of great pillows and sheets, too. Some guests are planned, like my cousin Erin who was just in town a few weeks ago, and others are more spur of the moment. My brother and his friends frequently crash here after a late night on the town, and sometimes the girls nights go all night, literally!

Even if this place isn't huge, I like to make it seem so by setting up a hotel-like environment for guests, no matter who they are. I straighten everything up, giving the house a quick vacuum and putting away extra clutter, and have the kitchen stocked with cold sodas and coffee for the morning. I have a "what's yours, is mine" mentality with house guests, and so I make every effort to set things up just right in advance so that they can enjoy their stay here. I want my guests to feel like they are at-home ... or better yet, at a hotel!

The only area where quarters are a bit tight when guests are here is the bathroom. While a generously-sized master bath, there's just one in here, so we all have to take turns with showers and getting ready. Last summer, I was lucky enough to host my BFF's bachelorette weekend here, and after an afternoon at the pool cabanas, all of the girls rotated in and out of the bathroom and master bedroom, prepping for dinner on the town. It was quite a production, but so fun to spend time with everyone while getting gussied up!

I was excited when this opportunity came up with Kleenex because no matter how big or small your bathroom, I think it's a really important area to have ready for guests! Here are some of my tips for readying this space, whether it's a main or guest bath.

Keep it fresh: Fresh flowers add so much to a space, and the bathroom is no exception. I love to put a small vase or bowl full of freshly-cut blooms next to the sink. Along with their fresh scent, they look pretty, too, and can make even the smallest space look fancy. This is a great idea if the in-laws or your parents are visiting -- they will definitely notice this nice touch. I love the blooms from Trader Joe's for an inexpensive bouquet.

Make like a hotel: You know how when you are a hotel, they stock your room with supplies, just in case some of your personal items got snatched up at airport security or left behind at home? I like to do that in my own bath, too. This is a trick that I learned from my mom. Whenever I travel, I take the complimentary samples of shampoo, conditioner and lotion home with me (unopened, since I usually also bring my own!) and then keep a basket stocked with these goodies ready for guests to use if they need them! A bonus, if you have room, is to add in extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, soaps, razors and face wash.  The bonus items from Clinique are perfect for this basket for any of your gal pals spending the night. Point out the basket and let guests know that they can help themselves to whatever they need. Sure enough, my poor cousin forgot her toothbrush amidst her travels, and thankfully, I had an extra one on hand for her to take!

A basket of toiletries makes any bathroom feel hotel-quality!

Light it up: Candles are a clutch accessory in the bathroom when guests are visiting. Since this condo sees a lot of dinner or late-night parties with all the girls or other couples, I make sure to light a candle in the bathroom before guests arrive to add a fresh scent and also provide some extra mood lighting. My favorites are the Yankee candles -- I am out of my favorite summer scent, Sand and Sun, but with my favorite season right around the corner, soon I will be able to pull out the Pumpkin Spice one :)

Pick your favorite scent to add mood light and freshness to the bath!

Provide the little extras: I usually overlook my bathroom cleanliness for longer than I probably should when it's just me here (don't we all??), but we've all got to step our bathroom games up for the guests. I like to spray the sink faucets with Windex to give them an extra shine, and while I take my own shower before guests arrive, I take the opportunity to spray down the curtain and tiles and give them an extra scrub down, too. A quick wipe-down of the counters gets things ready, and all of my everyday items get stored away in the cabinets, out of sight.

What things do you do in your bathroom to prep for guests? Do you have just one bathroom like me, or do you have a guest bath, too? Join the 14 million people who have already joined the Clean Hands campaign by using Kleenex Hand Towels, and click here for savings and more!   

I was selected for participation in this campaign as a member of Clever Girls Collective.