You know you’re a grown-up when “company” becomes scary.
When you’re a kid, everybody just “hangs out.” You order a pizza, talk about boys, and giggle like little girls. But somewhere along the way you start thinking, Should I vacuum before they get here? Should I offer tea along with the soda? Can I serve chips and dip as an appetizer?
Then one day you’re channel surfing and come across Martha Stewart making a Mona Lisa out of cocktail wieners and realize that your hostessing mojo was an illusion. (I’m totally kidding, I’ve never seen Martha Stewart make a Mona Lisa out of anything. I think it was The Last Supper.)
So then you start questioning pulling out a package of Oreo cookies for dessert and putting a box of tissue in the bathroom when you run out of toilet paper and before you know it you’re at the oh-my-goodness-I-will-never-have-anyone-over-EVER-AGAIN impasse.
But fear not. We are commanded to be hospitable, so there must be a way to go about this hostessing thing without starting an unofficial Martha Stewart Fan Club and memorizing her top 40 Good Things.
I’m dedicating Fridays to considering ways to become a better hostess without going overboard. One of my bigger hospitality hurdles after my husband and I got married was getting the house ready for company. It took us at least half a day to make things presentable, mainly because we just didn’t know what we were doing. But we did eventually learn to focus on a few key areas and drastically cut down our pre-company running around.
Here are the things we do before people show up, in the form of a handy-dandy list:
- Get the guest bathroom(s) ready.
– Clean the toilet. They may never come back if you have a nasty toilet.
– Make sure that there’s plenty of hand soap available because cleanliness is next to godliness.
– Put out clean hand towels or make sure that there are plenty of disposable hand towels. Don’t make them have to dry their hands on their shirt.
– Make sure that there’s at least one new roll of toilet paper available in an obvious place for when the current roll runs out. We don’t need to have any “do you have a square to spare” scenarios.
– A nice touch is to put a night light or little lamp in the bathroom so that your guests aren’t walking into a dark scary room when nature calls.
- Put things back where they belong, or at least hide them.
No deep cleaning here. Just put away the toys and sift through the mail and hang the keys back on the hook.
- Make sure the dishwasher is empty.
I saw this on Antique Mommy’s post about entertaining and recognized it as sage advice. Even if you’re using paper plates and disposable cookware.
- Set the table.
This could be as simple as putting out placemats or as elaborate as using chargers and wine glasses and special holiday salt and pepper shakers. The table just needs to look clean and inviting.
- Make the place smell good.
This might be a plug-in or a Yankee Candle or opening windows on a beautiful day. Whatever you have to do to get rid of questionable odors. Especially if you have pets.
- Look in the mirror and make sure that you don’t look like a homeless person.
It’s funny how we can run around making sure that our house looks presentable, and then look in the mirror and realize that all the getting ready left us looking like we just ran a marathon. So do something with your hair, put on some lipstick, cover up your feet with shoes or socks if they’re jacked up, and for goodness sakes please put on a bra.