Thursday, January 8, 2015

How to Prepare for Long Term Houseguests

My family is in town for a week!  Will I survive?!

There's nothing like having a baby to draw people over to your home to visit you.  In our case, both sides of the family live out of state, so when we learned that we were pregnant with baby #2, we knew that we'd have out of town visitors.

In the end, my mother-in-law was with us for a whole month (it's a good thing I like her!) and my family is now here, for a week.  I spaced out the two sets of visitors so that I could have two days as a breather.  As our second set of houseguests share our home with us, it's had me reflecting: what's important to consider when you have people in your home for an extended period of time?

Here are a few things to consider/plan for if you'll have people staying with you for longer than a three day weekend (regardless of the reason for their stay):

1. Talk to your houseguests before they arrive.  Share expectations.

Whatever the reason for your houseguests' visit, have an honest chat with them and set expectations.  Listen.  What are they expecting their stay to be like?  Are they expecting a grand tour of your hometown?  Have they declared themselves to be available at your every beck and call no matter what you request?  In return, let your guests know what you are thinking.  Be realistic.  You may have your own life to tend to and you may not be available 24/7.  I talked to my brother and sister before their weeklong stay and we agreed that they would help out with the new baby (and the household).  I agreed I would give them the car so that they could do some sightseeing on their own (and not succumb to cabin fever).

2. Establish some time for everyone to do their own thing.

It would be wrong to presume that everyone sets up an itinerary of things to do the entire time their guests are in town, but let's say that's precisely what you do.  Make sur eyou give your guests the opportunity to do their own thing, whether it be an afternoon on their own to go sightseeing or time alone at a nearby coffee shop.

3. Make sure there's enough space in the house for everyone.

If you can repurpose a space in your home (besides the guest room) and give your guests a place to call their own, that might be a good idea.  Our basement contains a separate living space that house guests can claim all for themselves!  If your home is small or space is a premium. see if you can creatively declare an area by rearranging furniture or putting away some furniture temporarily.

4. Get introspective and accept any eccentricities you might have.

After having my MIL stay with us for a whole month, I learned that I am very particular about how my kitchen is organized.  My MIL did her best to keep the order I had established but I still found myself sneaking into the kitchen late at night and rearranging items I found misplaced.  I think it would have been easier if I had just made a deal with myself to let everything go until my MIL went home.  I accept that I am a type-A person and I need help.

5. Evaluate the importance of your relationship to your guests.

The longer your guests are staying, the more important it is to answer this question.  In my case, my relationship with my MIL is fairly important.  After all, my kids are only 6 weeks and 3 years old.  Well be seeing alot of each other in the future.  So while I had my moments where I wanted to be done with having a houseguest, I reminded myself (in those very same moments), that my MIL was doing us a favor leaving her own life for a whole month to help us out.

These are just ideas to get you brainstorming on how to prepare for long term houseguests, should you be lucky enough to host any.  I'm linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons and her weekly Thinking Out Loud series -- because that's what's been on the brain lately (for me): how to get comfortable with house guests!

Have you ever had to host long term houseguests?  What's your limit on how long you have people stay with you?


  1. You have had quite the parade of house guests! You are so considerate and I love the idea to plan a space for them to claim. I always feel so much pressure to entertain when people come to visit, so it is a great idea to talk to them first to see what they want to do.

  2. Great advice! You've definitely gotten me thinking, especially in my weird house guest-y situation haha. My grandparents are visiting now, too, which is definitely awesome, but it's also reminded me how we do some things very differently and I didn't 'warn' them about it. Like our Montessori activities :)

    I totally feel you on the kitchen thing. I can't deal with things being 'out of place', but the kitchen is where my obsessiveness comes out most. That's my 'place' and if someone puts something away in a different spot, it's not only super annoying, but it's just not as easy to find things when I need them, then they're lost, or if my son needs to get something, he can't get to it, then everything is a gigantic mess. It's been a challenge being like that and being the house guest AT my MIL's so we've been working a lot on communicating :)


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