Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be traveling with my sister through Asia. I’ve been preparing for this trip for quite some time. There are several things at home that need attention while I’m gone, so a friend has graciously volunteered to house sit. This won’t be the first time he’s done this for me. Each time in the past, I’ve come home to a spotlessly clean apartment with freshly washed sheets and vacuumed floors. He’s sure done his homework on how to be a good house guest.

I want to make sure I return the favor, so I made a list to help:

• Stock the fridge. I’m embarrassed to say that on more than one occasion our houseguest has had to go out and buy milk. This time around, I’ll make sure he has everything he needs and even take special care to stock up on his favorites.

• Set out essentials and then kick it up. Fresh towels, toothpaste and a new box of soap take care of the basics, while bottled water (or beer), a box of cookies and fresh flowers add a welcoming luxuriousness to the stay. I like to save hotel niceties to cover the basics, and make sure there is plenty of extra toilet paper in the bathroom, too.

• Cut down the clutter. Give your guest plenty of space to spread out. Clear the nightstand and coffee table of any unnecessary items.

• Dress up the bed. If your guest bedding hasn’t been used lately, freshen it up. Wash and press the sheets and provide extra blankets and pillows of various sizes and weights.

• Leave a note. Let your guest know how thankful you are that he or she is there. Fill him or her in on any necessary information.

When I get back from my trips, I always remember to send a thank you card with a small gift. Having friends who house sit is wonderful, and sticking to these guidelines may help secure house sitters for the future.