"Your house guests are snooping through your things. I know because I'm one of them."

Let me guess what you’re thinking right this very second: you think I am a terrible, terrible person.

You’re probably right.

What kind of person accepts someone’s gracious invitation to stay in their home, be provided with a roof over their head and fresh sheets and hot water, only to rifle through their personal possessions?

Me. That’s who. (And you shouldn’t pretend you don’t either.)


Humans are naturally curious creatures, and I am one of the nosiest people I know. The kind of person who hears people whispering in the next room and doesn’t stop until I find a way to overhear.

So when I stay somewhere new, you can guarantee that I will spent a good half an hour after arriving opening and closing every cupboard, sideboard and wardrobe door.

"Don't mind me, I'm just looking through your stuff." Image via iStock

I can't help it; I'm intrigued by how other people live. And being somewhere new - even if it happens to be somebody else's house or Airbnb rental - gives me the same feeling as arriving in a hotel room. I just want to run around and explore everything before I've even put down my bag.

If I ever stay at your house (which, after reading this, is probably not likely to happen any time soon) I promise I won't dig through a closet to uncover that box within another box that's filled with the love letters from your high-school sweetheart.

But I will look under the bed. I will open drawers. If there is a box in plain view, I will open it.

"I wonder what's in here..." Image via iStock.

So, if you've got a secret collection of...shall we films? Chances are, I'll probably find it.

But only if you've stashed it in a fairly obvious place. Do better.

(And I promise I'll put it right back where I found it).

Mia Freedman doesn't ever stay at someone's house. Here's why. (Post continues audio.)

In all seriousness, most of the time what I really mean by "snooping through your things" is "looking at the type of cutlery you own and where you store your teacups".

I'll find a bunch of tea towels, and I will appreciate how you've colour-coded them. I'll admire the brand of vacuum you use. I'll open that scrapbook you made of your trip to Europe five years ago that you left under the coffee table.

I've taken the liberty of finding you a new doormat for when I next visit. Image via iStock.

Things I won't do? Go through personal and private documents. The study and desk area is strictly off limits. I'm not about to go and read someone's will.

The novelty of being somewhere new will soon wear off, my 'innocent' poking will get tiresome and soon I'll find something else to do.

I'll probably make a cup of tea with one of the 15 varieties of teabags I found at the back of your pantry, with that fancy blue teacup I saw on the top shelf.

Thanks in advance.