A good houseguest should make their bed before leaving the house.

 TO BE A good guest, you need to keep your room neat and not leave anything behind when you leave. 

Whether you have a private bedroom and bath or you’re sharing a mattress with a cat, being a gracious guest is the key to a good experience for all.

My feeling is: Good hosts make good guests. 

“To me, the perfect houseguest is someone that just starts to pitch in and help without asking,” Voulgaris says. “Because I feel most hosts will decline the offer when asked if anything can be done.”

Here are more ideas on the art of being a good guest.

Bring a nice gift. The best things to buy are food, entertaining supplies, flowers or wine. We suggest fresh baked goods or a luxurious scented candle. I try to spot something the house could need, whether steak knives or a new toaster, so next year when I come back, I can bring that as a present. One of our friends noticed we needed a nice tray at our beach house and, after visiting our place in August, sent a woven rattan tray for Christmas.

  If you are sharing a bathroom, keep the sink and shower wiped clean and store all your grooming products in your bedroom. 

Keep the bathroom clean and cleared. Remove any soap scum or hair from the shower drain. Ask your host where you should hang your wet towels.

Step up to help with chores. Don’t sit there and expect to be served like at a restaurant. Hosts appreciate your clearing plates from the table, emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash and stripping the bed when you leave. Set up the coffee for the next day. Or go a bit further. My husband meticulously cleaned a large outdoor grill for friends; I used my decluttering skills, working together with my hostess to help reorganise the kitchen counters. Once I offered to clean out my friends’ spice cabinet, tossing expired jars, wiping the shelves clean and alphabetising the rest.

Don’t sneer at the microwave bacon. When you’re a guest, you get to know your hosts on a different level. They may not buy the same kinds of foods as you do. So if they stock only skim milk for coffee and you want half-and-half, just go with it or bring your own. If they use bottled salad dressing and you make yours from scratch, don’t comment.

Don’t leave anything behind. No host wants to run a lost-and-found. Guests should do a final inspection of their bedroom and bath to search for stray items. Check outlets for phone chargers, the back of the bathroom door for bathrobes, and the shower stall for shampoos and conditioners. Get your bathing suit off the clothesline. Peek under the bed, should some piece of clothing have ended up there.

Give thanks. Often. Say thank you after every single meal. When you leave, be enthusiastic about all the effort your host has put forth to create a wonderful time. Within the next few days, a handwritten note is a beautiful gesture that just might put you on the A-list for the next gathering.

-The Washington Post