Whether you are hosting your first out-of-town guests, or friends and family have been staying with you regularly for years, it’s always a good idea to run through the basics of what you need to set up for your company.

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Savvy hosts will even keep a checklist, to make sure they didn’t miss anything. Here are the big-ticket items to make sure you consider.

Cleaning Supplies

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Your first priority in prepping for company has to be cleaning. It’s the number one task to tackle if you want your visitors to feel welcome and comfortable, which means you need to have all the supplies for cleaning every bit of your home ready to go and easy to access. Think of cleanliness for your company as being in two different buckets. 

First, your home should look, feel, and smell clean when they arrive. The last thing you want is for your company to be worried about eating the meals you prepared because the kitchen is in shambles. This means making sure the kitchen is wiped down, dishes are washed and stowed, floors and furniture are vacuumed, and your stuff is generally tidy. The bathroom should be sparkling clean. You might be fine living with soap gunk in the sink and cat hair on the chairs, but your guests will probably feel squeamish. So, clean it up.

The second type of cleaning some hosts overlook is maintenance cleaning while your guests are with you. This is the cleaning that keeps things comfortable. Remember that your visitors don’t know how all your stuff works, so breaks and spills are going to happen. Limit the stress by keeping the vacuum, paper towels, and some all-purpose spray somewhere easy to access.

WiFi

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Chances are, since you are an adult living in the 2020s, you have WiFi in your home already. A thoughtful host will make sure they have enough bandwidth for guests, who may need it to keep up with the obligations they left back at home. A very thoughtful host will write or print out the WiFi name and password and leave it somewhere for guests to find. 

A Food Plan

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If the people you invited to come for a stay are reasonable people, chances are they don’t expect you to cook every single meal for them. That being said, you are in charge of their care and keeping while they stay with you. This means you need to have at least a general plan for what all of you will eat for the duration of their visit. 

A good plan is to be realistic in terms of how much you enjoy cooking, including what you like to cook and when. If you aren’t a morning person, don’t expect to suddenly enjoy getting up at 5 a.m. to make homemade croissants just because your friends are in town. Guests won’t mind if you keep things simple, as long as they get what they need. Ordering in, buying pre-made food, and serving very simple meals is totally fine. Your guests are coming to see you first and foremost.

DIY Food and Beverage

Another very good rule is to give guests the opportunity to serve themselves. No one likes to have their host hovering and hosts tend to have enough to do without having to wait on people constantly. Keep the set up friendly by showing guests what is available for them to help themselves to. 

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The things people appreciate doing themselves most tend to be things that are habits or comforts. Giving your guests permission to help themselves to your coffee equipment or tea kettle will eliminate you having to ask repeatedly if they want coffee or tea, which people tend to drink on their own schedules. The same goes for snacks. Have a variety of healthy and yummy snacks on hand for your guests to grab as they like. 

Privacy and Comfort

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Your guests are human. They will want to have a place to retreat and have some downtime. Think about what they need to be comfortable. Obviously, they need a bed, but pay attention to the bedding. Make sure it’s clean and soft and that it’s appropriate for the temperature of where they’ll be sleeping. 

Ideally, you will also have a place for them to put their luggage and to unpack the things they’ll use repeatedly during their visit, like their toiletries. Make sure there is plenty of supplies for showering and washing up, in case they didn’t pack everything. 

Time

The most important thing you can give your guests is your time. Do your best to clear your schedule of errands, work, and distractions. They are traveling to see you, so give them the gift of your presence.