How Single Mom Chic Preps for Overnight Guests in 7 Simple Steps

guest room

This week as I spent the morning prepping for some family who were coming for a long weekend visit, it dawned on me that it might be interesting to write a post about it. I’m always curious about the thought that goes into how other people prepare for certain events and I know many of my readers are too, so here it goes.

I know its not everyones jam, but I absolutely love to entertain. There is something about hosting that I really enjoy. I like to be on the giving end of ensuring a good time for all. Luckily for me I grew up with parents who were great hosts. There was always something to celebrate, and my  family home would typically be where that celebration would take place. However, prepping for a party, which in my book is oh so much fun, is still a little different than prepping for overnight guests. Instead of focusing on decorating, food and entertainment for one night you have to consider your long game and think of the little things. The same way that a sprint and marathon are different, entertaining overnight guests is a different animal altogether.

Almost two years ago my family relocated to Central Virginia. Thats a good two hours away from our extended family and friends. It’s close enough to visit often but far enough away that its typically an overnight visit, so our home quickly became not only a place for the parties I had grown accustomed to, but it morphed into sort of a makeshift bed and breakfast for close friends and family members too.

If you are expecting visitors or trying to get the hang of entertaining overnight guests and want to create your own bed and breakfast atmosphere, here are my recommendations for a few things to make sure that your overnight visits are a hit.

Keep the Spare Room Spare– If you are fortunate enough to have a spare room, try to keep it that way. Resist the urge to turn it into a storage space or a collection space for loose papers, dust filled books and tchotchkes. Your guest will feel more comfortable if the space looks like it was prepared just for them and not like they are infringing on your christmas ornament collection. If you don’t have a spare room, make sure you clear the clutter wherever your guests are planning to set up camp so that they can make themselves at home.

Make Sure Linen is Freshly Washed– Just because the sheets haven’t been used doesn’t mean they are fresh. Pop sheets into the laundry for that fresh washed scent your guests will love. I always wash sheets, blankets and pillow cases a day before my guests arrive.

fresh linen

Make Guest baskets-This is my favorite thing to do. I purchased a few wicker guest baskets for our guest rooms and I fill them with guest towels (I love to use fluffy “guest only” white ones for a spa like experience) , recent magazines (I always keep a copy of O around) , miniature toiletries, water bottles and small snacks like nuts or crackers. I also place an extra quilt in a basket, in case my guests get chilly during the night.


Share Need to Know Information– This includes: Wifi Passwords,  alarm codes, and quirky things. Make sure you share need to know information with your guests as soon possible. Wifi Passwords can be left on a night stand or given out upon arrival. If you do have an alarm I personally think it best to be disarmed during that time, as you don’t want a guest opening a balcony door in the middle of the night for fresh air and have the entire house greeted by a blaring alarm. However, if you insist that everyone will sleep more peacefully under ADT’s watchful eye, then make the code available in an accessible place while your guests are there. Also, don’t be afraid to share quirky things about your home; if you know your hot water comes out scorching at first,  or that your tub drains slowly, make sure your guests know this as well. I once shared with visitors in my previous home that a window (that I hadn’t yet repaired) didn’t open properly and that they should only attempt to open it if they needed to jump out of it. They got a good laugh out of my candor but I’m sure it saved them the embarrassment of a window pane falling in on them.

need to know.jpg

If you welcome children or pets have some toys and treats on hand– We are pet and child friendly so I make sure I have a few items on hand for my guests if I know they will be traveling with two or four legged children. If my overnight guest has dog I make sure the room has a pet bed and a few toys, for children I usually have a basket prepared with a small train set, a few barbies, a coloring book and crayons or colored pencils. I think this sends a message that helps your guests loosen up a bit. Staying in someone else’s home with small kids or pets can be nerve-wracking, it’s nice to know that your host welcomes your littles too.

dog bed

Schedule an outing or event but don’t overbook- I like to make sure I have an outing or event to offer to my guests. I look up local events ahead of time and offer my guests at least one outing; a wine tasting, festival, county fair, amusement park, casino trip or shopping trip usually fits the bill. However, I try not to pack our agenda too full so that my guests have time to explore on their own or relax..speaking of relaxing, that brings me to my final tip…


Take it Easy– This one had to grow on me. I’m just a wee bit type A. Okay, maybe a little more than a wee.. So,  I’ve had to learn to resist the urge to control everything and have everything perfect at all times. I know now that with a house full of visitors there will be a spill, something might get broken and a pet might misbehave a little. It is more important to me that everyone has a good time than it is that the weekend  goes off without a hitch. I have learned to chill out and enjoy the hitches as much as the hits!

I would love to hear about how you prep for overnight guests too or hear any fun stories about hitches or hits!

Until Next Post,

Lips Signature

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Tonya Parker is a counselor, author and certified life coach who believes in helping women look and feel their best! Ambassador for O, The Oprah Magazine and author of Single Mom Chic

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