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Cup Of Jo's 6 Tips For Hosting Overnight Guests

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Being a good party host is a skill that doesn't always come naturally. Now multiply that skill by 1000 and maybe you've got the chops to have a friend stay with you for a weekend. In the interest in learning new things, we polled Joanna Goddard of Cup of Jo, consummate host if ever there was one, about having guests make your casa their casa. Follow along:

When I was 22 years old, fresh out of the University of Michigan, I moved into a tiny apartment in Manhattan. Because New York is on everyone's destination list, I immediately had a steady stream of visitors, even though my apartment was so small I slept on the living-room sofa. Now—one wedding, two babies, and a move to Brooklyn later—I still love having guests come stay. Hosting out-of-towners can be tricky, though. Where do they sleep? Do you leave a chocolate on their pillow? Or just...let them do their thing? After a decade of trial and error, I think we've finally figured it out. Here are six tricks we've learned over the years:

  1. Before anyone arrives, sleep in your guest bedroom (or on your couch) to try it out. Then you can fix the frustrations you never knew existed, like buying a sound machine to block out noisy early-morning garbage trucks.

  2. Avoid awkward conversations by keeping each bathroom stocked with extra toilet paper and a plunger, just in case. Because CAN YOU IMAGINE?

  3. Cooking dinners are a big enough deal, so make lunchtime easy. Fill the fridge with deli meats, cheeses, mustard, mayo, and tomatoes, plus crusty bread and potato chips.

  4. Make a spare house key so guests can come and go as they please. No one wants to feel like they have a curfew on vacation.

  5. Putting a carafe of water, a magazine, and a note with the WiFi password on the bedside table will make your place feel welcoming. (This cute carafe is only $5.)

  6. Last but not least, keep the drinks flowing. Open a bottle of chilled rosé (or iced tea) when guests arrive to take the traveling edge off. Nothing's better than being met at the door by a friend with a glass in hand.

What are your tips for hosting guests? Anything you've learned the hard way?

—Joanna Goddard

Photos courtesy of the author.

Read about room scenting without a match in sight here, and for more on entertaining at home, check out Joanna's blog A Cup of Jo.

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