Host With The Most, Melbourne Edition
January 1, 2019 3:02 PM   Subscribe

I too want to be the host with the most for 2019, though I'm not just interested in get-togethers. I also want my space to be a safe space for people to come over whenever, make art or rest or chill, even stay overnight. I live alone in a one-bedroom in Melbourne, Australia. What can I do to be a better host? Bonus points if it's queer artist friendly.

Over the last couple of months I've been actively working on making my space even more hospitable to visitors. Living in a not-that-big one-bedroom with not much of an income does complicate things, but I make do. Over NY(E) I had a good number of people come over, and I also have people over regularly for a show we're working on, and it's been really lovely! I really want to build on this for 2019 and would like some tips.

A lot of my social circles are queer artist types, very casual. (If you watch Queer Eye: very much Skyler's crowd.) Every so often someone is looking for a place to stay over for the night (esp with the weather being bonkers) and I want to provide that resource. A while ago one of my best friends, who has my spare keys, used my space as an impromptu rehearsal room (his apartment wasn't safe enough) and it THRILLED me that I could enable that. I also enjoy people just coming over to hang out, though I would like to be more proactive in hosting small gatherings.

Things I have so far:
- A second mattress in my bedroom with bedding (two people have stayed over so far and it's worked out great)
- A TV, XBox One, and Chromecast
- Regular snacks (and bigger meals if needed), though I need some ideas for vegan snacks
- WiFi, plug points, charger cables for iPhone and Android
- Spare bath towels
- A decent enough kitchen to at least make the basics
- I'm very close to public transport and main streets with shopping, so impromptu grocery runs are easy
- Aircon/heating which is very well received amongst my social circles

Things I Need Help With:
- Making an overnight kit (what should be in it? Any suggestions for best places for sample size toiletries)
- Vegan snack ideas as aforementioned
- Small touches that may not be super obvious but make a big difference
- Other pantry or household things that could be useful
posted by divabat to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
People who mensturate will appreciate pads/tampons and a trash can that has a liner.
posted by vespabelle at 3:06 PM on January 1 [4 favorites]

Priceline seems to have sample size toiletries etc. Often in the displays as you walk in or near counter. Target has them in cashier area.
posted by poxandplague at 3:24 PM on January 1

If you can swing the cost, spare slippers (or slipper socks), spare bathrobes, and spare pyjamas. Tuck them in storage with a sachet or dryer sheet, so they keep the "freshly laundered" smell, even if they've been sitting cleaned in the drawer for a while since their last use.
posted by crush at 3:30 PM on January 1

You may enjoy this previous question which includes a lot of specific and general tips!
posted by lalex at 3:44 PM on January 1

Any out-of-towners? A loaner myki might be nice.

Privacy curtain? Solid shampoo in a bar instead of plastics? Flexible seating.
posted by freethefeet at 4:13 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]

You can often pick up a selection of travel-sized toiletries at your local Dollar Store. I usually store them in a handy basket for easy access and picking through by the overnight guest.

I'd recommend some inexpensive new toothbrushes, along with disposable razors and tampon/pads to offer to any impromptu guests -- it's small touches, but are ones that's been very appreciated when I've offered it to my guests.

Extra pillows/cushions & lap blankets on your couch or sofa, to make lounging/lazing extra comfy. Extra power bar in the guest bedroom with power adapters/charge cables. Tiny labels on the light switches can be helpful if they are the multiple switch kind.

Perhaps a "guest book" binder for any visitors to look through that might contain things such as flyers for local restaurants & take-out places, local attractions, etc. Can also list where things are located in your apartment, (tea/coffee, wifi password, Netflix instructions, extra toilet paper, etc) so they can look it up rather than bothering you (say for example if you are still asleep).
posted by Jade Dragon at 4:17 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]

Definitely extra pajamas
A trash can with a lid in the bathroom
Avoiding scented detergent or products where you can
A plunger and toilet brush in a visible spot in the bathroom

Vegan snack ideas:
Hummus with veggies/chips
Fruit with nut butter
posted by corey flood at 7:22 PM on January 1

You sound so prepared already!! You've probably done this already, but Wi-Fi password somewhere very visible - eye-level on the fridge, or taped to the guest bedside table, for example.

After years of being impossible to find, travel-size toiletries seem to be more generally available - Chemist Warehouses often have a "travel wall" including toiletries and Coles too now seems to sell them (look on lower shelves in the regular toiletries section).

I'm house sitting right now, and the only other thing I can suggest is, to save people scrabbling around in your stuff, put household things where other people put them or want them to be, e. g. detergent and dustpan under the kitchen sink, toilet paper under the bathroom sink (preferably reachable from the toilet!), etc. I've been here a week and I still can't find a dustpan, so the kitty litter corner is getting... gritty.
posted by trotzdem_kunst at 7:35 PM on January 1

Your question seems to assume that these will be impromptu guests who won't be bringing their stuff with them, which is why you need to provide toiletries, towels, robes, etc. for them. If you have guests whose stays are planned in advance (and therefore bringing their own things), give them space to put their things in. That might mean a shelf in your closet, or a drawer in your bathroom vanity. That way they don't always have to pack and carry their things each they time they change clothes or take a shower.

Label your fridge and kitchen shelves/drawers so people can find things easily.
posted by tinydancer at 7:56 PM on January 1

Contact lens solution and case
Menstrual stuff
Slippers, maybe a spare robe? Silky ones are less bulky to store
Blackout curtains
Different kinds of tea
Moisturizer and hair conditioner
Nightlights in the hall, near any stairs or obstacles they could trip on, and in the bathroom

At night I always give each of my houseguests the following:
2 pillows, an extra blanket folded right across the foot of the bed so they can find it when half asleep, a clean towel that doesn't smell mouldy(!) in a unique colour for each person, a few hooks in their sleeping space for clothing and wet towels, a bottle of water they can't spill in the dark, new earplugs, a plugged-in extension cord for convenient phone charging, a bedside light, a couple snacks (granola bar, apple) in their room in case they want an early breakfast, something fun to read, and a box of tissues. And I leave caffeine, fruit, and cereal easy to find in the kitchen in case they wake
up first.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:09 PM on January 1

This is so lovely!

charger cables for iPhone and Android
Do you have any USB-C cables? I tried hunting around for micro-USB cables lately but it seems tech is trending towards USB-Cs now.

vegan snacks (things that keep well in freezer/fridge/general):
. bread (whatever cheap shit from woolies is great), nuttelex (vegans' cheap go-to vegan butter), vegemite or jam
. muesli/oats
. bubble n squeak
. cup ramen
. chips and dips (mostly only hummus is vegan, see second list below)
These lists have some ideas.

If any of your artist friends are singers, hand sanitisers/general anti-bac and some tea and honey (agave nectar if vegan). Maybe eucalyptus/tea tree oil (to breathe not drink). Basically all the singers I know are paranoid about germs and getting sick.

A small can of spray deo in the toiletries.

Cuddly pillows and blankets/throws go a long way in making a space feel safe. I always go for tactile comfort when I'm overwhelmed.
posted by womb of things to be and tomb of things that were at 8:34 PM on January 4

I haven't read it yet, but you may find this book useful (audible, amazon).
posted by dobbs at 10:35 AM on January 5

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