Good house-guesting


Like ‘Good Housekeeping,’ but for when it’s not your house

By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor


You can find a million articles and archived books online informing you on how to be a good host. Articles like “how to make your guests feel welcome,” and “easy entertaining” are a dime a dozen. What is talked about very little is how to not be a complete asshole when you’re staying at someone else’s place for an extended period of time.

I will admit, I am very rarely a houseguest. As someone who spends a lot of time pent up in the apartment writing, I am very much a homebody. However, even I must sometimes leave my dwelling to go on wondrous adventures for fun and profit. In this case I went about four blocks away to stay with a friend during renovations. So, here’s some advice from me to you, and how to be a good houseguest, and not a giant poo—that’s a limerick, I think.

If you eat a lot of their food or drink a lot of their beverages—replace it! This is especially important to keep in mind if they usually live alone. They might not be used to budgeting for the expense of having an extra person in their domicile. I’m not saying do this for everything, but if you’re a big coffee drinker, maybe at the end of your stay buy them a bag of coffee beans as thanks, or treat them to dinner. It’s really just the polite thing to do.

Clean up after yourself. Maybe in your own home you tend to toss dirty clothes around and forget to make the bed, and that’s perfectly fine; but when you stay with someone else you want to limit your intrusion as much as possible, so they don’t regret having you staying there. Keep your mess contained and maybe think about what you would like to see if the roles were reversed. Generally speaking, a houseguest who tidies up enough to keep everything somewhat presentable is preferred. Just don’t go overboard. You don’t have to wash their floors or vacuum their couch cushions. Don’t be weird.

In the same vein as the last point—wash the bedding before you leave and before they return. In my case, I was staying at a friend’s while she was away for work. She didn’t return until the night before I was going to be leaving. During my stay I slept in her bed because she lives in a studio apartment—so naturally, I washed the sheets before she returned so that she’d have a fresh, clean bed when she got back. For me, this is common courtesy, and it should befor you, too.  If you’re staying in a guest room, just think of this as being the ultimate way to clean up after yourself.

My last tip might sound a bit weird, but because I was staying in someone else’s space while they were not there, I wanted to try to maintain that space as much as possible. What I should have done is take pictures so I’d know how they liked their throw pillows set up and how they liked their bed made—what I actually did was try to decipher it all from memory. So, take pictures! Especially if you’re house-sitting, staying at an Airbnb, or even if the host just won’t be there with you for a few days.