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6 Tips for Surviving House Guests

6 Tips for Surviving House Guests

If you’re expecting guests this summer, take a cue from Gardenista editor Michelle who has ample experience in hosting. Here she offers a few tips on how to offer hospitality while encouraging guests’ independence. As she writes, it’s all in the art of teaching: “It’s not that I don’t love my friends. Or my children’s friends. Or my children’s friends’ parents, or their friends. It’s just that I don’t want to see most of those people at breakfast. Much less cook it for them. I am very much of the “teach a man to fish” school of guest management. I encourage their independence and believe that being a good guest, like everything else in life, is something everyone must learn. It is the host’s duty to teach.”

Here are six of Michelle’s tips for surviving house guests.

Above: House guest rules, via Scandinavian Deko.

No. 1: Greet them at the door by saying, “Let me put your things in your room,” so you can corral all their stuff and keep them from littering their shoes, sunglasses, sweaters, handbags, and car keys around the house.

Above: Photograph by Cade Martin.

No. 2: Show them the coat closet so they will hang up their jackets and fleeces instead of draping them across couches and chair backs. Blame yourself for being a “neat freak” and say you don’t expect them to line up their shoes perfectly in the closet, although you do.

No. 3: Tell them the best places in town to walk to for breakfast and say “Don’t worry that you might wake me—I’ll sleep through anything.”

Above: Photograph via Paris Parfait. 

No. 4: Give them a street map; circle all the museums, subway stations, and liquor stores where they can buy wine for you. If you live in the country or near the beach, tell your guests, “Feel free to use our bikes.”

Above: Photograph by Alexa Hotz.

No. 5: Serve cocktails at 5 pm sharp to put everyone in a good mood. Serve a snack—hummus and crackers are filling—to hold them over until dinner.

No. 6: Give them specific jobs. When they ask if they can help with dinner, don’t say vaguely, “That would be great.” Say: “Thanks, here’s a knife and a cutting board you can use to strip the kernels off these eight ears of corn.”

Are you stocked and ready for your summer house guests? For more tips, visit: 5 Essential Items for Every Guest Room.


Read more: Holidays, Home, Household Hints, Life, Remodelista, , , , ,

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Remodelista is a one-stop sourcebook for the considered home, guiding readers through the design and renovation process. Founded by four friends with a shared design DNA and appreciation for intelligent design, Remodelista counts architects, design professionals, and style-conscious consumers among its daily audience. The Remodelista aesthetic favors classic and livable over trendy and transient, well-edited interiors over cluttered environments, and thoughtfully designed products over mass-market, disposable goods.


+ add your own
11:30AM PDT on Oct 30, 2013

A few handy tips..but a couple that sound like you just don't want to be bothered with guests. If you really don't want to spend time with guests...DON'T invite them to stay with you!

2:49PM PDT on Aug 29, 2013

Thank you Remodelista, for Sharing this!

7:26AM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

I have no problem asking guests to help with meals or whatever. It's either lend a hand or I go on strike, too.

5:38PM PDT on Aug 12, 2013

thanks, but I have to say I would have missed the article if Eternal Gardener's very funny comment hadn't caught my eye.......

5:30PM PDT on Aug 12, 2013

Don't have them?

8:22AM PDT on Aug 12, 2013

Thank you for sharing

5:23AM PDT on Aug 10, 2013

Last weekend we threw a family bbq and ended up with 27 people, not including ourselves. We set up a miniature tent city on our property and prayed for good weather. It worked out surprisingly well.

10:18AM PDT on Aug 9, 2013

Wow that's organized. I like it specially the maps so they can entertain themselves if you're busy.

8:30PM PDT on Aug 6, 2013


6:24AM PDT on Aug 4, 2013

Enjoy and treasure our environment

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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