We have people over a lot. We have people come over for dinner, for work functions, for parties, to stay the weekend, to visit. For all sorts of reasons. I have always felt that one of my greatest joys in this world is hosting people and events at my home. Hosting people at my house feels natural and easy to me.
I know it's not natural and easy for everyone. I know that everyone does not get the same joy that I do from hosting events. But here are a few tips to make hosting an easier task.
1. Keep certain items on hand at all times.
Create an area where you can keep paper plates and plastic utensils to use at a moment's notice. Or go to the dollar store and load up on 10-20 cheap glasses and plates if you prefer that to paper products. Keep coffee stocked in the freezer. I usually try to have a frozen loaf of french bread in the fridge and a jar of bruschetta in the pantry just in case I need a quick appetizer. If you have the room, a drink fridge is an excellent place to soda, beer, wine, or whatever you might serve to visitors. Having things stocked eliminates the need to run to the store.
2. Wash linens immediately.
Keep guest towels and sheets washed. As soon as our guests leave, I wash the towels and sheets so that they are ready to go for next time. That way, I can be ready for the next guests months in advance, and not be washing sheets at midnight before people come in town. Make up the bed, and fold the towels. You don't have to have a Pinterest worthy nightstand with fresh flowers, and a tub of toiletries fore very guest. In general, people are happy to have a free place to rest their head, they don't need to pretend they are at a luxury resort.
3. Have a quick clean up plan.
Often, people will come over or drop by when I have no time to actually clean my house. If you only have five minutes notice, wash the dishes and clean the counters. Don't worry about the toys or the clutter as much. If you have ten minutes, vacuum the floors and toss things in a closet. Most people are just going to be happy that your house looks like theirs.
4. Remember that the joy of hosting people comes from being able to hang out with people you love, not from how much they like your home.
The most important thing is to enjoy it. Guests feel relaxed when you seem relaxed. Guests feel like they are bothering you when you are running around stressed out or huffing and puffing about the food and drinks. If you provide a glass of water and a tube of Ritz crackers, but do so with love and joy, guests will feel loved and enjoyed more than if you spend all day making beef bourguignon and then spend all evening saying how hard you worked or that you don't think you salted it enough.