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Hosting Out of Town Guests

stack of old suitcases from guests

Does the idea of hosting out of town guests bring you crazy stress during the holidays? You’re not alone! According to an article published on November 17, 2021 by Dr. Afton Kapuscinski, the director of the Psychological Services Center at Syracuse University, hosting out of town guests is one of the top common stressors of the holidays. I want to help decrease that stress by giving you some tips to make your guests feel welcome and make the whole event less stressful for you. Not only that, but I will give you actionable items that will get your house ready, complete with instructions on making your own all-natural carpet powder, all-natural room spray and all-natural linen spray!

If you’ve ever watched “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, you remember that Clark Griswold became insane due to hosting their out of town guests. the visits of his parents, in-laws and cousins for the weeks leading up to Christmas. So, if you haven’t watched that movie, this is the time. It will make you laugh and realize that your guests probably aren’t as bad as Clark’s.

Tip #1 – Remember to Laugh

The most important tip, in my opinion, is to keep your sense of humor right now! Do things to make yourself laugh as much as possible over the next few weeks, because it has been proven that laughter decreases stress. Everyone feels better after laughing. Watch some funny movies, take a night off and go to dinner with friends, play some fun games with your family. Whatever it is that makes you laugh, do it! There’s a reason that ‘laughter being the best medicine’ has been a saying for, like, a million years.

Tip #2 – Stay Organized With Your House Cleaning

It’s important to stay ahead and organized in your house cleaning, or you will become more and more overwhelmed as it gets closer to your guests’ arrival. If you can afford to hire a house cleaner to do some deep cleaning before the guests arrive, all the better, but if not, don’t despair! I will help you. Not literally, of course, but in spirit and in advice. First, go back and read my post about Holiday Cleaning Lists. You can print out the lists that I made to keep you on track. Also, here’s a tip from an old pro (not THAT old): When you are expecting guests, running out of time, and realizing there’s laundry, toys and books or papers laying all over your sofa, floor and coffee table, find a closet that nobody will open and toss it all in there. I know it sounds like I’m joking, but desperate times call for desperate measures! Don’t feel guilty about that. Just don’t forget to take it all out and put it away after they’re gone.

Tip #3 – Freshen Things Up

Aside from tidying up, everyone wants their house to smell clean and fresh. While you are vacuuming your house, you can use an all-natural carpet powder that will leave your house smelling amazing, and maybe even give yourself some stress relief at the same time. Listed below are instructions for a lavender carpet powder, essential oil room spray and lavender-vanilla linen spray. I can tell you that if you have dogs, like me, any extra thing you can do to help the smell of your carpets is worth a try. I love my dogs, but, yes, they smell! (Max, our Maltepoo is not pictured, but the other 2 smelly dogs are below. Cute, but smelly.)

Below, I am including links to products I used.

yellow laborador retriever laying down
Hank, our laborador retriever
brown and white dog with head cocked to one side
Whisky, our tree-walker coonhound

Homemade Lavender Carpet Powder

Lavender is renowned for its ability to create a relaxing atmosphere. In fact, one of the main benefits of lavender is that it can calm without sedating. This carpet powder is perfect for bringing an inviting fragrance to your home.

In a small non-metal mixing bowl combine 1 cup baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon lavender essential oil. Stir (with non-metal utensil) until all baking soda clumps have dissolved. Then pour carpet powder into an airtight container to store or distribute into handy mason jar shakers.

Yields: 1 cup

How to Freshen Carpets Naturally

Sprinkle lavender DIY carpet powder over rugs and carpeted areas. Then, let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Vacuum to reduce odors and release the fresh clean fragrance of lavender.

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are my own. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain other affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission from. Read full privacy policy here.

yellow mixing bowl, dropper of lavender oil, box of baking soda, measuring spoon, clear plastic container with lid
Ingredients for Carpet Powder
clear plastic jar containing baking soda, scattered lavender buds, amber dropper bottle with lavender oil
Lavender scented carpet powder

lavender essential oil

baking soda

shaker jar

Essential Oil room spray

On that same note, I have an all-natural room spray that you can use to make your entire house, including your guest room, fresh and clean. This is made with distilled water, essential oils and vodka. Did you know that vodka is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial? So if you are over 21 years old, when you finish cleaning your house, a nice vodka based cocktail may be in order! I never realized that while I was drinking a Cosmo, I was basically getting rid of fungus and bacteria. (I hate that I have to even say this, but that was a joke. Don’t drink vodka to get rid of fungus and bacteria in your body!)

Ingredients for Room Spray:

1/2 cup distilled water

2 tablespoons vodka

1/2 teaspoon epsom salt

6 drops orange essential oil

6 drops grapefruit essential oil

1 spray bottle, 5 ounces

Using a funnel pour half a cup of distilled water and 2 tbls of vodka into a spray bottle. Add ½ tsp of Epsom salt and 6 drops each of orange and grapefruit essential oils, however, use any combination of your choice. I think citrus is best for this purpose, but use what you like. Close the lid on the bottle and shake well to combine. I recommend you use a spray bottle with a fine mist.

Yields: 5 ounces

Orange essential oil

Grapefruit essential oil

5 ounce spray bottle

epsom salt, bottle of vodka, pyrex measuring cup, white funnel, 2 essential oil droppers, amber colored spray bottle
Ingredients for the Essential Oil Room Spray

lavender-vanilla linen spray

Get your guestroom ready for guests by making this lavender-vanilla linen spray. You can spray this in your guest room on the drapes, sheets, blankets, towels, pillows and any furniture that has cloth upholstery. And this might be another perfect way to take some of the pet odors out of their pet beds.

 IMPORTANT NOTE:  Please test the spray first in an inconspicuous area to make sure it doesn’t stain the fabric in anyway.

1. Using a funnel to pour 1/4 cup vodka into a 5-ounce spray bottle. Add one teaspoon of lavender essential oil to the vodka. Combining these first will allow the oils to emulsify before adding the other ingredients.

2. Next, add half a teaspoon of clear* vanilla extract or 15 drops of vanilla essential oil and carefully swirl to combine. If you use standard vanilla, it is more likely you could stain fabric.

3. After, top with a 1/4 cup distilled or purified water. Place the spray nozzle and cap on the bottle and shake well to combine.

 * I’m going to be completely upfront here – I didn’t have clear vanilla extract, but I still wanted to make this spray, so I used regular vanilla extract. To test it out, I took a white paper towel and sprayed quite a bit on it and I couldn’t see any discoloration. I think because such a small amount is used it didn’t really affect it, but use with caution.

5 ounce spray bottle

lavender essential oil

small funnel

Clear Vanilla Extract

Field of Lavender

Tip #4 – Make it Pretty and Inviting

Now that we have the house clean and the guest room smelling inviting, you can add the final touches to show your guests that you want them to feel at home. I like to add a small vase with some fresh flowers to the room, either on the nightstand or a dresser. If they are staying for more than 2 nights, try to clear out a drawer in the room they are staying in, and clear some space in the closet, leaving a few empty hangers. Place a set of fresh towels on their bed (bath towel, hand towel and wash cloth) so they feel free to freshen up when they get there, and then let them know where extra towels and blankets are kept. I always leave a throw blanket or extra blanket folded at the bottom of the bed, because there is nothing worse than staying at someone’s house and freezing during the night because you weren’t left enough blankets. Make sure that the bathroom they are using has plenty of soap and toilet paper.

Tip #5 – The Cherry on Top

The final touch, and my favorite thing to do, is to leave a little gift basket on their bed or somewhere in the room for them to see when they arrive. Some items you can leave for them (and some convenient links) are listed below.

Mini shampoo and conditioner

Some Tylenol, advil and Tums

A fragrant candle and matches

Hand or hand/body lotion

Some kind of mints or gum

A few snacks, like granola bars, crackers, an apple, cookies

I also usually leave one or two magazines and one or two books. Yes, your guests can ask you for any of the items above, however, it’s just going that extra mile to show your guests that you’re truly happy they’re visiting. It makes them feel special and who doesn’t want to feel special?

Travel Size Shampoo and Conditioner

Travel Size Tylenol

Travel Size Advil

Travel Size Tums

Travel Size Votive Candle

Travel Size Lotion

Now you have some tools to help you through the rest of the holidays! Let’s summarize:

Laugh as much as possible!

Follow a cleaning schedule to clean your house.

Make it all smell nice.

Make things look welcoming.

Make them feel special.

I hope this helps break it down for you and give you some ideas on how to host house guests, so that it doesn’t feel so overwhelming and helps you feel prepared. It’s actually fun to open up your home to friends and family, especially around the holidays. They are taking time away from their own home to spend time with you, so make them feel welcome. And when all else fails, always go back to Tip #1!

Thank you for taking the time to visit my website and read my hosting tips. Celebrate your week, celebrate your guests and celebrate your beautiful home that you are sharing with people you love! As always, if you enjoyed reading this post and found it informative, please click one of the buttons below to share on your social media. It may not seem like a big deal, but it really does help me out so that I can continue using this website to share my ideas and information. And I would LOVE to hear any comments, questions or suggestions that you might have, so leave them below in the Comments section. Thank you!

xoxo Teresa


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