No dedicated guest room? Make hosting overnighters easier by keeping the essentials in one place.
Your all-in-one-place box for guest room essentials
Tom Stringer Design Partners, original photo on Houzz

Tom Stringer Design Partners, original photo on Houzz

Last month I got in touch with a friend to tell her our family was coming to her city for a few days and wondered if we could get together for dinner. She wrote right back and invited us to stay. They had plenty of room. Her husband would be out of town, but she and her two little boys would love to have us. We had planned to book a hotel but were delighted to accept her invitation, and had such a wonderful visit.

Related: How to be a great host for overnight guests

It occurred to me that had I been in her place with a demanding job, a husband away and two young children, I don’t know if I would have flung open my doors for a family of five to spend several nights. It’s not that I don’t love having company. I do, but to be perfectly honest, I dread all the preparations.

Perhaps it would be different if we had a dedicated guest room.

Related: No guest room? Try one of these stylish and comfortable sofa beds

In our first home, we had a bed in the corner of the basement playroom. I was always fighting mayhem in that space, and every time we had guests, I had to do a massive cleanup, which was less than ideal.

Tom Stringer Design Partners, original photo on Houzz

Tom Stringer Design Partners, original photo on Houzz

Before we moved into our current home, I asked our teenage son if he was willing to have his bedroom also serve as our quasi guest room, and he graciously agreed.

We bought him a queen-size bed, and anyone who stays comments on its comfort. The room has big windows with a beautiful view, so that’s nice, but it’s still a lot of work transforming the room of a teenage boy, who is, let’s say less than fastidious, into a pleasing place for a guest.

My son does all the picking up and vacuuming, but I change the bedding and, since the dogs are frequent visitors, launder his duvet and duvet cover.

Katie, original photo on Houzz

I set aside specific linens and pillows for guests only, but there were times I would go to grab them and find they had disappeared. The last time we had company, I looked for the guest pillows and discovered my youngest had commandeered them to create a bed in a laundry basket for her pug.

That was the last straw. Right then I thought of creating a guest room in a box and got to it.

Alison Hodgson, original photo on Houzz

I decided to start fresh and bought new sheets, towels, washcloths, pillows and a coverlet. I chose white because it’s simple and clean and bright. The coverlet will look right in my son’s room, and I liked the pattern.

Alison Hodgson, original photo on Houzz

Finally, to keep everything clean and organized, I bought an enormous plastic bin and packed everything in it. I shopped sales, but even so, everything added up. Because I don’t shop frequently, it was worth it to me to get it all done at once.

If you have extra linens, you may need only to shop your own linen closet, organize everything and purchase a large container. If your family can be trusted, you may even be able to get away with placing everything on a higher shelf. For our family this is the perfect solution to keep everything we need close at hand and clean and secure.

Now I can’t wait for our next guests.

Keep Reading: