An integral part of being the best-possible houseguest? Keeping things tidy. It goes without saying that it's important to clean up after yourself in common areas like the bathroom, kitchen, or the living room when you're visiting a loved one's home, but what about the room in which you're staying? Should you make the bed every single day? And when your visit comes to an end, should you offer to strip the sheets before you leave, or does the responsibility fall upon your host?
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If you're staying with a friend or family member, you probably have a full day of fun ahead—which might tempt you to simply get up and go, without giving the state of your room and bed a second thought (after all, it's easy enough to close the door behind you). But according to etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life ($9.19, amazon.com) and founder of The Protocol School of Texas, that's a major houseguest offense. "When you are staying at someone's home, you should always make your bed in the morning," she advises. "It shows that you're respecting their property and you're taking good care of their home—plus, it shows appreciation." Just as important? Tidying up your space as a whole before you join your host and start your day.
This advice rings true for the duration of your stay, but what should you do on that final morning? Make the bed once more or strip the sheets? "Every host has different preferences," answers Gottsman. "So the best way to do it is to ask the host." If they say not to worry about it, she explains, you at the very least want to make sure to leave the bed tidy. "[Even] if they said, 'Oh just leave it,' I wouldn't just leave [the sheets] in a big pile—I would at least make the bed," explains Gottsman.
If they do ask you to strip the sheets, ask what they'd like you to do with the linens (for example, do you they want you to put them in the laundry basket, or should you put them directly into the washing machine?). Then take the next step and offer to make up the room with fresh bedding. "You can say, 'Listen, if you have another set of sheets, I'll be happy to make the bed for you,'" says Gottsman.