Love 'em or hate 'em, overnight guests, even if they are family, mean extra laundry. Of course, most of the guests arrive during the holidays when there are so many other things going on in addition to routine household chores.
But, there are ways to ease the laundry loads of extra people (and maybe their pets) in the house. By planning ahead, you won't get left holding the stuffed laundry bag when the visit is over.
And, to the guests:
While a hostess gift of chocolates, flowers or wine is lovely, being a considerate guest is always the right choice. Talk to your host or hostess and ask what you can do to help during your stay. Then, do it!
01 of 07
Plan Laundry Needs Before Guests Arrive
Most of the time we know when guests will be arriving. Do your best to plan ahead and get bed linens ready. Make sure that all the sheets are changed and that blankets, pillows and bed coverings are as clean as possible. If the sheets aren't really clean, there will be unpleasant odors and stains for your guests.
Check your inventory and if you don't have enough bed linens for everyone, call family and ask them to bring their own linen. Be sure to give them bed sizes so they will bring the correct sized sheets.
If you live near a lake or the ocean or have a pool, encourage your guests to bring their own beach towels.Continue to 2 of 7 below.
02 of 07
Laundry and Visiting Pets
If your home is not already pet friendly, there are some things you should consider to make your home safe for the visiting animal and to protect your bedding and furniture from stains when they arrive.
Before the animal arrives, be sure all laundry supplies are safely stored away. Laundry chemicals and dryer sheets are harmful to pets. When a strange pet is around, always check laundry appliances before using them to be sure it has not crawled inside.
Use an old bed sheet to cover comforters, especially those that are labeled as dry clean only, and upholstery. The sheet can be easily tossed in the washer.
Hopefully you and the pet owner have had an honest, open discussion before the visit on sleeping arrangements and the clean up of inevitable accidents, shedding, and messes. Be prepared for the unexpected!Continue to 3 of 7 below.
03 of 07
Ask Guests for Help
If your overnight guests are family or really good friends, ask them to help you make beds when they arrive and change sheets at the end of their visit. Most will be very happy to help. This is particularly important if you are having back-to-back guests.
Stack correctly-sized extra sheets and blankets in each guest room closet so they can make the changes themselves. This is a simple task that they can do even if you don't want to ask them to wash a load of sheets.
One more thing off your to-do list.Continue to 4 of 7 below.
04 of 07
Assign Each Guest a Towel Color
You've provided each guests with a set or two of clean towels. These can be placed in bathrooms or on the guest's bed. To reduce the number of towels that must be washed during the visit, assign each guest a specific color of towels.
That way, there can be no mix-ups and the towels can be used more than once. If you do not have enough towel rods in the bathroom to hold damp towels and bathmats, set up a collapsible drying rack in the guest room.
It's also a good idea to have a laundry hamper or basket for guests to use in the bathroom or each bedroom. They can place their soiled laundry in the basket and bring it to the laundry room when they leave. Even if you do the washing, it's one less step that you'll have to do after the visit.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Use Table Linens More Than Once
The easiest way to avoid having to wash extra table linens is to use paper products. But, if that just doesn't suit your style, assign each guest a specific napkin ring. That way, cloth napkins can be used for more than one meal.Continue to 6 of 7 below.
06 of 07
Prep Your Laundry Room
If guests are staying more than a day or so, they may need some clean clothes and need to do laundry so your laundry room should be ready. Do a quick checklist.
Continue to 7 of 7 below.
- Is the laundry room clean and clutter free?
- Provide a step-by-step guide for washer or dryer use. This is particularly important for high-efficiency washers that use much less detergent. Your guests may not know how to use these correctly. Nothing is worse than a laundry room full of suds!
- Do I have the essentials (detergent, stain remover, and dryer sheets) on hand?
- Do I have an empty laundry basket available that guests can use?
07 of 07
Laundry Time Can Be Family Time
If grandchildren are visiting, it's the perfect time to teach them to do laundry. Most grandparents have a bit more patience (and, perhaps, experience with laundry) than parents when teaching a pre-teen or teenager how to do laundry.
Sharing activities makes a family closer and gets a few chores done as well!