Hosting Hints: How to be a Responsible Guest
In this 6-part Q&A series, Domestic CEO and Modern Manners Guy tackle thorny questions about proper hosting (and guesting) etiquette. Today: What are the responsibilities of an overnight house guest?
Ask the Experts: If you are an overnight guest at someone’s home, what are you responsible for in terms of clean up, bed linens, etc.?
Domestic CEO: During your visit, it is your responsibility to keep the areas you use tidy. Remember that your hosts may need to enter your room, and the last thing they want to see are your dirty undies on the floor. Keep your clothes contained to your suitcase, or if you are staying for a few days, ask if your host has an extra hamper or basket you could use while you are there. You don’t need to make your bed with hospital corners every day, but at least pull the covers up to give the appearance of a neat room. And, in the bathroom, keep your items contained to your toiletries bag as much as you can, especially if you are sharing the bathroom with any member of your host family.
Follow the lead of the family in the kitchen. If they immediately put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher, then you should do the same. If they immediately hand wash and put away their dishes, you should too. If they leave their dirty dishes in a big pile around the sink, you can too. If you eat at the house, always look for ways you can help with the duties in the kitchen. Offer to help with the meal preparation, washing the pots and pans, or unloading the dishwasher. This will give your host the opportunity to take you up on your offer or shoo you away. Either way, your kindness will be appreciated.
Finally, when you are packing up, check with your host for direction on what to do with your dirty linens and towels. At the very least, you should bring the sheets and towels you used to the laundry room, or if they don’t have in-house laundry, leave them in a neat pile in your room. This way they know exactly which items need to be washed and they have one less step of stripping the bed.
Modern Manners Guy: I'm certainly not expecting a houseguest to treat my spare room like Lincoln's Bedroom, but it's also not a fraternity room solely designated for random hook-ups. A) That's gross and B) There are such rooms; I watch a lot of MTV.
The proper thing is to always leave someone's property in better shape than you found it. If you borrowed their dress shirt, have it dry cleaned. If you borrowed their pots, make sure you really scrub them clean. And if you borrow their spare room, just tidy up behind yourself. Even though the sheets will be washed, fold them before you leave. And even though the carpet will be vacuumed, that doesn’t give you reason to drop peanut shells all over the floor like at some bar. Using some good old fashioned common sense and extra attention will go a long way.
Check out More Tips for Happy Hosting:
Messy bed photo from Shutterstock