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Thread: What is positive house guest protocol

  1. #11
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    1. What parameters do you follow when a house guest?

    2. What do you wish your houseguests would follow? Need male input here as well please.


    1.Parameters that I follow:

    I don't ask people if I can stay at their house anymore. When I was young and foolish, I invited myself to people's houses, and even brought my kids! I did that to my brother/SIL and to a couple of friends of mine until I realized that I wouldn't want anyone inviting themselves to my house.

    So now I even book a hotel when I go to see my kids in Burlington. My son who owns a house will then strong-arm me into cancelling the reservation, or he will say "[Wife's] sister is in town and using the guest room." If I'm totally comfortable that they truly don't mind my staying, I'll go.

    When I do go, I clean/tidy the kitchen, take them out to dinner, go to bed early and get up late, and wash the sheets and make the bed before we leave.


    2. Parameters that I wish to be followed:

    Feel at home. In other words, please feel free to make your own meals, using my food, so I don't have to cook or think up dinners
    Try to replace in kind if you use the last of something
    Be grateful.
    Tell me I have a nice house, even if you don't think so. Compliment my decorating. It will put all my insecurities to rest.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  2. #12
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    Something else I noticed: some homes don't have a single clear flat surface in the guest bedroom or bathroom.
    It's not cluttered, it's just full of knick-knacks that people like to display; however, guests need somewhere to put their phone, wallet, eyeglasses, tablet, etc. in their room, as well as their own toothbrush, hairbrush and other toiletries in the bath area. I deliberately keep any decoration in these rooms pretty sparse so there's plenty of surface space available.

    And maybe it's just getting older, but a magnifying mirror would be a welcome touch.

  3. #13
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    I actually find the concept of a "guest room" sort of weird. Especially on a board where a lot of people are into downsizing and minimizing.

    How often would you have to have guests to justify maintaining this extra space in your house just for them? I technically have a "guest room" - dh calls it "the guest room" and I hate it. I was really looking forward to having that space when ds moved out, and dh insisted on putting a queen sized bed in there and now it is basically the room where we store the queen sized bed and three shelves of dolls and books. There are no surfaces for guests to use except the top of the small short shelf next to the bed, because there is only room to walk between the bed and the walls/shelves. Ds stays there when he visits and he likes the bed and hates the dolls, and the room is pretty much unused about 85% of the time. If the room had useful furniture, we would have extra hands to carry it out the few days every month we have visitors and could replace it with an inflatable bed. Or fold down a futon. Dh says that isn't nice for guests, so we lose part of our house 85% of the time?

    we are discussing this.

    (btw, I sound very grouchy, and I do not put myself out in my own home, but people LIKE to come here. We hosted Dd's sil one weekend and she told dd that being here was amazing.)

  4. #14
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lainey View Post
    Something else I noticed: some homes don't have a single clear flat surface in the guest bedroom or bathroom.
    It's not cluttered, it's just full of knick-knacks that people like to display; however, guests need somewhere to put their phone, wallet, eyeglasses, tablet, etc. in their room, as well as their own toothbrush, hairbrush and other toiletries in the bath area. I deliberately keep any decoration in these rooms pretty sparse so there's plenty of surface space available.

    And maybe it's just getting older, but a magnifying mirror would be a welcome touch.
    I don't have those expectations, personally. If I'm getting a free bedroom, I recognize that I may be staying in an office/guest room, junk room/guest room, exercise room/guest room. I don't expect amenities. When I sleep at my son's, they only have one nightstand for their full size guest bed. DH has a cpap, so he gets the nightstand. I drag my duffle bag over and lay my phone/glasses on top.

    As for the bathroom, I've stayed in an en-suite once, at the home of my affluent friend whose 5-bedroom, 6-bathroom home is just one of her three places. That was nice, better than any hotel. But most people don't have more than one en-suite. I usually carry my toiletries 1970 dorm room style into the bathroom, and take them out when I finish dressing/washing so I don't clutter their space with my stuff.

    But I do pride myself on our guest room that has NO clutter whatsoever, and empty dressers and pretty empty closet.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    I actually find the concept of a "guest room" sort of weird. Especially on a board where a lot of people are into downsizing and minimizing.

    How often would you have to have guests to justify maintaining this extra space in your house just for them?
    I looked at smaller homes but to qualify for a standard mortgage I needed at least 3 bedrooms, so I have an extra room that is the guest room.

  6. #16
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    I actually find the concept of a "guest room" sort of weird. Especially on a board where a lot of people are into downsizing and minimizing.
    I never bought a home with the idea of providing a guest room. I simply had 4 kids that eventually moved out. And our space needs were far less than the needs of today. I had 4 kids and 3 bedrooms. And one bathroom.

    It's kind of nice having one of those unused bedrooms available for guests ("Guests"=returning children on vacation and holidays). And my dog has commandeered the tiny bedroom my DD used to occupy.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  7. #17
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    The concept of guest room is history in my family. In my grandmother’s generation, relatives would travel and stay with one another for weeks at a time so houses had guest rooms which was usually the biggest bedroom. It was their version of our modern day vacation. When I was young we had a guest room because my grandmother had a guest room and because we had a lot of ‘company’ that would spend the weekend or a few days. My husband and I live in a house with 6 bedrooms so we have 5 guest rooms. Now that I think about it we just have 5 extra rooms with beds that are not used for anything else, always kept neat and clean just in case. Kind of silly when you think about it.

  8. #18
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I have 3 BR, mine, the spare upstairs, the front which is my quiet room with an extra twih n and a downstairs BR and bathroom, my TV and my sewing room. I use them all, love them all as my family each has a space to curl up and relax when visiting.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  9. #19
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    Chicken lady, sounds like a day bed would work better than a queen bed in your guest room, especially if it's mostly singletons who are visiting. That would free up a lot of space.

    If you have adult children, or adult children with spouses and their own children, who live out of town, then a guest bedroom will be a welcome thing. Even though budget hotel chains are everywhere, it's still pricey for any stay longer than a night or two. But I agree that making that room a multi-purpose room is the best possible use. My siblings and I are all over 55 and the time has long past when we'd all sleep on each other's couches, so having a clean quiet space of their own to use is something I'm glad to be able to provide.

    Can I add one other protocol item? Some guests are traveling many hours through different time zones, so their meal schedule is off from yours which means it would be nice to have snacks and drinks available when they arrive to tide them over.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    I've noticed two types of guests: those who visit to see us and those who visit to see the area and want a free place to stay. And they are very different experiences.

    People who want to visit us will call and say they want to see us and would like to come down and want to know when would be a good time and suggest some times that work well for them. The visit is planned together - time frame, activities, etc... These visits are a lot of fun. They are usually planned when we can all take time off from work to enjoy the visit and it is usually not very long, maybe 3-5 days. During the visit itself, everything is casual, meals are usually taken together (with breakfast being a self-serve buffet) and we make time for some activities as well as downtime spent at home. These guest usually bring a small token gift and will offer to provide at least one meal. They offer to help with meal prep and cleanup and make themselves comfortable without taking over the house. Their focus is on enjoying our company.

    People who want a free place to stay will tell us when they will be arriving without providing very many details, often including what time they will arrive. Recently dh's friends arrived at midnight on a weekday. Dh waited up for them; they arrived very energetic probably from lots of caffeine, ate some pizza we bought for them and kept dh up until past 1 am. Dh had to get up the next morning at 5:30 for work and they knew that. They had a 6 hour drive to our house so there was no reason for them to arrive so late. They just 'got a late start' and felt no qualms about it and about how that would disrupt our evening. We have dogs so they knew that they would not be making a quiet entrance.

    We often don't know how long they will stay and we are not included in any decision making or plans. We don't know their agenda so we cannot plan meals or activities. These visits usually include weekdays when dh is at work and are usually much longer. We've had dh's family stay here up to three weeks at a time. Dh's family will often ask to borrow my car. Dh's family tries to provide at least a meal or two and often will bring a small house gift (chocolates or a hat recently) but they often stay for long periods of time. Dh's friends bring nothing, offer to provide nothing, eat whatever food we have in the house but balk at leftovers, and generally treat the place as a rental. For these guests, the focus is on their own agenda and our comfort does not seem to matter at all. This is the type of guest that I'm sick and tired of.

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