Making Your Apartment Habitable For Visitors

Yayyy! Your friends are visiting!! Step one: where is the air mattress? Under a pile of junk in the corner. Good. You have things in order. Step two: stay calm. Obviously you are excited, because you have missed these people like crazy, but there is no need to act like a hyperactive seventh grader just because this particular friend happened to BE THERE in seventh grade, when you danced with a boy for the first time and meh, it was not that great. Because he wore too much hair gel and ended up dancing with another girl the rest of the night anyway.

You have lots of things to plan. And clearly your friends will be staying on your futon, because your place is free, and, duh, they love you and do not care about all the weird features of your apartment that don’t exactly make it the Hilton. Like for instance, the fact that the hot water in the shower is “intermittent.”

But even though you are broke and cannot exactly afford to offer your friends cable TV, their own rooms, or any “privacy,” you can still be an excellent host! Here are some ways to prepare.

1) Wash the whiskey/ beer stains out of your futon cover

A human being is going to have to sleep on that thing, so make sure it is clean. And for god’s sake, in the time between when you clean the futon cover and your friends arrive, do not spill on it again. Washing a futon cover is a huuuuuge pain in the ass, so you won’t want to do this again for at least a year. To clean it properly:

- Remove the futon cover; balk at how truly gross it has become. Consider a more stain-camouflaging color than “oatmeal”.

- SOAK overnight in your bathtub in water and detergent. Warn your roommate that the thing in the tub is not a dead body but the futon cover.

- Wring it out, wash in the industrial-sized machine at the laundromat with more soap and hot water.

- Dry halfway, but get cut off because the laundromat is closing. Hang on your roommate’s door to air-dry overnight. Warn him that it is a futon cover and not a dead body on his door.

2) Clean the apartment in general

You can’t subject other people to the level of filth you may or may not live in. Or. I guess you can, but at some point it might be awkward, like when it takes you five minutes to find a safe place for them to sit.

Basic cleanliness should include: taking out the trash and recycling, doing the worst of the dishes, and swiffering the floor. Which, let’s face it, is fun anyway. Fucking love my Swiffer. Also, if the mold colonies in your shower are organizing and inventing primitive tools, clean your shower. It might be normal to you, but to other people that’s just scary.

3) Sheets and towels

If your friends are guys, they probably won’t care if you just tell them to sleep on a pile of dirty clothes on the floor. But as a good host you should have some clean bedding ready! They don’t have to be Egyptian cotton, just something not completely thread-bare.

4) Have snacks at the ready

Normally, your fridge might be all condiments, leftover takeout, and beer, but this is a special occasion. They’ll need breakfast in the morning! And snacks the minute they get in from the airport! I like quality bread for toast, hummus, cheese and crackers, some sort of juice (which will double as a mixer), grapes for health, and ice cream. That covers most of the basic food groups.

5) Alcohol!

Obvs, stock up.

6) Copy your apartment key

It’s often handy to have an extra copy of your keys so that when you have to go to work, they can lock the apartment after you. Just make sure to clear it with your roommate first. Otherwise you’re liable to have one of those moments where your roommate accidentally threatens your friend with a frying pan because they thought he/she was an intruder!

7) Construct a Google map of crucial points of interest

Each standard map should include a good cheap bar, record store, liquor store, coffee shop, laundromat, pharmacy, and 24-hour take-out place. Specific points of interest will of course vary, depending on the friend group. Some of my friends want to see museums and libraries, while others want skeazy bars where they can fail to pick up or sleep with women. They will need guidance here!

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About the author

Katy B. - Economic Inexpert

Katy B. grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the home of Gerald R. Ford, Andy Richter, and, at one point, the guy who wrote Mr. Holland’s Opus. She moved to NYC for her degree in library science, and is now in the Media Studies program at The New School. She hopes to one day be a film studies librarian. Ask her anything about Dewey Decimal – anything! – and she will roll her eyes because academic libraries use Library of Congress. Durrr.