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A few months ago, my best friends surprised me with a weekend visit for my Birthday. My hubby knew that he had successfully pulled off the surprise, because when they got here the house was not AT ALL ready for company. Luckily, these are the types of friends that love me even if my bathrooms are dirty- but they can attest to the fact that I was scrambling every day to find suitable guest toiletries. What, nobody wants to use the Sponge Bob soap and the Dora toothpaste? Come on guys!
For many people, this time of year brings a slew of visitors- whether it be for a quick afternoon get together, or an extended holiday visit- we need to be prepared. Given my record, I thought I'd share a few tips of what NOT to do when hosting visitors, and then next this week I'll show you one tiny step that I did make to try to make my house more guest ready.
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This goes along with my feeling that you don't need 100 days to prepare for Christmas. SOME planning is good-like creating a meal plan (ask ahead for dietary restrictions if possible), but you probably need to plan to do your shopping a realistic time frame before the event, or someone in your family will end up eating that fancy chocolate you bought "just for the company." Same thing for cleaning....I mean, if you have children, don't plan on running the vacuum more than 15 min before you guests arrive, or you might as well not bother.
2) Don't assume that you guests know where anything is.
If you're a lazy hostess like me, I handle the problem this way: I leave most things out in plain view and give people a quick orientation when they arrive.
"Glasses are on the counter, soda is in the fridge, help yourself to whatever." Who am I kidding, I'm from the Midwest, I'd probably say "Pop" instead of "Soda."
It's also a good idea to leave an extra roll of toilet paper on top of the back of the toilet, because no matter how full your roll is, it will somehow get used up during the course of a party- and if it's not out, people will start digging through your cabinets. (No worries, because I'm sure yours are immaculate just like mine!)
3) Don't draw attention to your home's flaws.
This is CLASSIC, and we are all guilty of it. As soon as someone walks through the door, we slide into the conversation an apology about the state of something. Whether it's an incomplete home renovation, an outdated piece of furniture, or a missed housekeeping matter, we figure that if we bring it up and joke about it, it'll take the pressure off of someone noticing it on their own and thinking, "What in the heck happened over there?"
But you know what, 9 times out of 10, the guest NEVER would have even noticed if we hadn't brought it up. Even if they are staring right at it- and we say, "Oh my gosh, can you believe how dusty that picture frame is? I guess the maid forgot to dust that corner!" Your guest was honestly probably just admiring the picture inside the frame.
4) Don't neglect your normal routines.
If you'll be having visitors for an extended period of time (like more than 1 day), don't plan on spending every waking minute entertaining them. Make sure that you're still taking a few minutes here and there to work on laundry, or do the things you would normally do. Get everyone set up with breakfast and then lace up your running shoes and excuse yourself for a quick jog or trip to the gym. And don't assume that your guests wouldn't want to be a part of your normal routine- Grandma would probably love to be a guest at her grand-daughter's ballet class.
5) Don't stress too much
The point of having company is to visit with each other, not inspect the premises with a white glove, so do what you can and then put on a smile. I'd rather have a happy hostess than one who is completely burned out from home preparations.
Ok, so there's my Don't List, and I'm counting on the rest of you to help out with the "Do List." My Mother in Law arrives in 2 days. What is your best "get ready for company" advice?
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