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One of the most important parts of renovating our home was making sure that we were mindful of the way we designed it around our love of hosting guests.
I always loved hosting friends for sleepovers and over the top parties as a kid, but of course as an adult hosting friends looks much different.
My husband and I joke that part of the reason we invite friends over is so that it forces us to clean our house. While that may or may not be true, there is definitely a lot that goes into preparing your home for hosting guests. If the idea of hosting guests in your home is overwhelming or makes you anxious, here are five tips for prepping your home for guests.
If you are the type who frantically cleans in the moments before your guests arrive, I get it. I’ve been there, too. Over time though I’ve learned that cleaning progressively throughout the days before guests come will make the day of SO much easier. Whether you’re having overnight guests or just dinner guests, it’s important to make sure that when they arrive, you aren’t completely exhausted and stressed out for preparing for them. If you are, you’ve missed the point of hosting them in the first place. Hosting is all about providing a space for them to rest and recharge. Providing a space for authentic conversation and life building to happen!
After our son was born, we started becoming much more conscious of the cleaning products we use in our home. Our new favorite product that we have been using since we moved into our house is Mrs. Meyer?s? Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner. We use it for everything from cleaning our kitchen table to wiping down counters or cleaning the bathroom. It’s made with essential oils and plant-derived ingredients which has become more and more important to us now that we are parents.
A friend once told me that she never does dishes while guests are over. While that idea really stressed me out at first, I now totally understand it. If you’re cleaning the entire time your guests are there, they’re going to feel uncomfortable. It’s much better to leave the dishes until after they leave so that you can fully focus on your guests!
Create a Meal Plan
The first step to meal planning for guests is knowing your guests! Do they have allergies or food preferences that you need to keep in mind? It’s always important to ask. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than making something your guests can’t eat, for both you and your guests! Be sure to ask your guests when you first make your plans to get together so that you can plan ahead.
The key to planning a menu for guests is keeping it simple. I am known to go over the top and stress myself out with a meal plan that is unnecessarily complicated. Instead of choosing a recipe with 25 steps, pick something that is simple. I always like to keep the menu to a few items, a quick appetizer to eat while dinner finishes cooking, a main dish with protein, a vegetable side dish, a salad and maybe a carb/bread option of some kind.
Don’t feel like you have to plan a drink recipe and a dessert too. Especially if you aren’t used to hosting friends often, keep it super simple so that you are not stressed out when your guests arrive. If your guests offer to bring a dish, let them! It will help them feel at ease that they were able to continue.
Prep Ahead of Time
If there are items that you can chop, cook or otherwise prep ahead of time, do it! If I’m making a dessert, I’ll almost always try to make it the day before or during the day before we have friends over. That way I’m not trying to coordinate making dinner and dessert at the same time. A few other ways you can prep ahead of time are:
- Empty the dishwasher before you get started cooking
- Set the table
- Get serving dishes out
- Make salad or side dish (but leave off the dressing!)
- Clean dishes as you go!
- Set out glasses for any drinks
- Wipe down the counters with Mrs. Meyer?s? Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner
Be Mindful of Perfection
When you think of hospitality or hosting guests, you may have a vision of a 1950’s housewife with a perfectly set table.
Let me tell you, I am not that housewife. I love hosting guests but I have moved past the idea that everything has to be perfect when I do. It goes back to the thought of how you’re making your guests feel. If they walk into a spotless house (with no sign of anyone actually living there!) they may feel uncomfortable really settling into your home. If they have kids, but your kid’s toys are nowhere to be found, they may be uncomfortable letting their kids relax, too.
Hospitality is so much more than just serving a delicious pot roast. It’s about making your guests feel welcomed comfortable, and valued.
When we focus on a perfectly presentable home, meal, or experience, we miss the mark on hospitality.
A clean house or delicious meal in itself is not a bad thing. Where it gets dangerous is when our focus is so fully on those things that we miss the experience of getting to do life in the intimate setting around the table with guests.
Focus on the Conversation
When you invite someone into your home, you’ve already broken through one layer of vulnerability. When they come to your house, they’ve let their guard down a little bit and now you can truly start to get to know someone in a more casual way, but it’s also a great opportunity to be vulnerable with one another, especially if you friendships are more established. I truly believe that life happens around the table and the more we come together around it, the more we can truly be in community with each other.
Don’t forget to pick up Mrs. Meyer?s? Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner or Mrs. Meyer?s? Brand Dish Soap from your local Kroger before you start prepping your home for guests!
What ways do you prepare for hosting guests in your home?