Hospitality for a Crowd - Part III--Bedding and Bathing

Our guest room.
It took me awhile to figure out how to provide 18 of us with a place to sleep and how to make the bathroom routine run smoothly. Technohubby and I kept our bedroom. Another couple took the guest room (shown above). Max gave up his room to another couple. He and three other young men slept on the floor of the family room. Two younger girls slept in the schoolroom. And Felicity and Colette shared their attic bedroom with four other girls.

Everyone needed bedding. Yikes! That’s a lot of pillows, not to mention everything else that goes on a bed. I have a difficult time asking people (even children or young men) to sleep on the floor, especially for 1-2 weeks, so everyone who wasn’t sleeping in an actual bed had an air mattress. The young guys all had sleeping bags and pillows to go atop their air mattresses. The girls all had sheets, a single blanket, a pretty quilt, and a pillow. I found it best to buy inexpensive, plain white, twin sheets and cream colored cotton blankets. I opted for the neutral linens to allow the most flexibility for future giant slumber parties…no pink sheets that some 19-yr. old guy has to sleep on someday. I already owned some pretty quilts for the girls, and I picked up a couple more at antique stores (not old) for about $12-$20 each. (I store them all in the linen closet, bound round with twill tape that I marked with their size with a permanent fabric marker, so that I don’t have to unwrap five or six sets of sheets trying to find the right size.)

A word about guest rooms: When we moved from the west coast to the east coast, we knew that when friends and family came to visit, they wouldn’t just come for an overnight visit, but would probably stay for a week or more. So it was important to us to find a house with a designated guest room, so they would have a cozy home-away-from-home. We stock our guest room with: hangers, an ironing board and iron, a small sewing kit for emergency repairs, a few toiletry items that might have been forgotten at home, a lint roller, chocolates, a tote bag, books, tourist guides, local maps, pretty postcards and notecards with local scenes, first class and postcard stamps. Even if you have guests sleeping on your living room couch, you can make up a little basket with some of those items to meet their needs away from home.

A cozy afghan in the guest room is much appreciated for afternoon naps.
We have 2 1/2 baths in our home. Seven of us shared the master bath. And the remaining eleven guests (all related to each other) shared the other whole bath. The half bath was used by shaving men, girls doing their make-up, teeth brushing, etc. I let the eleven figure out a bathroom schedule that worked for them. To keep the septic system in check and everything running smoothly, it worked best for some to shower at night and others in the morning.

Our group at the bottom of the Flume Gorge, once described "as what nature looks like in your dreams" (unknown).  Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire.
All this brings us to the question, how do you keep 18 towels and washcloths straight? I pondered that one for a long time. Finally, I hit on the solution. I took two lengths of cotton twill tape per person (about 5″ long). I wrote each person’s name on the two pieces with a fabric marker. I then attached a tape to a towel and a tape to a washcloth with a zigzag stitch. Now everyone could easily find and keep their own towel and washcloth.

But how did everyone get their towels and washcloths dry? We utilized every available towel rack and hook. A few people hung their towels on a shelf with hooks in the guest bedroom. And everyone else took theirs down to the basement and hung them by clothespins from hangers on the coat rack. It worked!

After a good night’s sleep, everyone was ready for a tasty breakfast! Come back tomorrow for Part IV–Breakfasts.

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