I think it is very important to understand that preparing for hospitality is not the same as staging your home for a Realtor open house. Staged homes feel stiff and unreal. You would never sit and make yourself comfortable because your are only invited to look, but you can look in every nook and cranny.
Preparing your home for hospitality is about getting your house clean and comfortable so that it can be enjoyed by you and your guests. It’s not about spending a bunch of money to redecorate, or creating an overwhelming task list. It is using what you have to create a welcoming atmosphere.
Here are five simple steps to help you get ready for guests. They focus on preparing those public areas of your home that would be seen my guests that come for a meal or a game night. Next week I’ll share simple steps to prepare for overnight guests.
#1 – Give yourself permission to set boundaries.
It may be okay for real estate Lookie-Loos to poke in every drawer and corner of an open house, but you don’t have to be that open with guests in your home. It is okay to close the doors to rooms that you would prefer not be entered. Decide what rooms need to be readied for guests and focus on them. You need to have comfortable seating, a place to serve and eat if food is part of the plan, a convenient powder room, and a place to put coats and wraps. If your guests have little people, you also need to provide a place that is safe to play.
#2 – Have a home maintenance plan so clean is a given.
The most important “guests” in your home are the people that live there. Cleaning and straightening up your living spaces should not be limited just to when company is coming. If you are housekeeping challenged as I am, this takes consistent effort but it is worth it. A few minutes every day is much better than those exhausting top to bottom clean-the-house-all-in-one-day adventures. You’ll be amazed the difference simply sweeping the floor and keeping horizontal surfaces neat will make. It also helps to cut down on the scramble to hide clutter when the door bell rings!
#3 – Take a new look at your home from a guest’s view.
You may want a notepad and pencil for this one. Take notes as you go. You’ll use those notes to make a plan in the next step. Starting at your driveway, take a look at your front porch and door. Does it way welcome? Is there clutter, bikes, toys, tools, etc. that detract from the welcome you want to express? Step inside your front door. Is there a place for shoes? (Even if you don’t ask, some guests feel more comfortable removing their shoes as they enter your home.) As you continue through the rooms that you will be using to fellowship with guests, make notes of items that need to be removed or added or cleaned.
#4 – Make a plan and a shopping list.
I am a list maker so nothing happens at my house until a list is made. Take the notes that you made as you toured your home with a guest’s eye, and make a list of what needs to be done and what needs to be brought into the space to make it effective. If you work full-time, you may have to spread your to-do list over a couple of evenings.
Let me clarify what I mean by shopping list. I’m not talking about rushing out to buy everything to make your rooms perfect. I encourage you to go “shopping” in your home before you grab the keys and jump in the car. Browse through the garage and your closets to see if you have items stashed that may meet your needs without spending money. Do you have a wooden crate that can be cleaned up and stained or painted to hold shoes in the entry way? Do you have an over-sized basket that will hold toys in a designated corner for little visitors? Take a new look at your “old” stuff before you add more stuff.
#5 – Your goal is fellowship not compliments.
It is nice to hear that our homes look lovely but the purpose of preparing your home for hospitality is not to fish for compliments. Remember that hospitality is giving of yourself to make others feel warm and welcome. Prepare your home to provide comfort for others, and let the sound of conversation and laughter be your compliment.
As you prepare yourself and your home to welcome guests, don’t forget to make the people that live in your home feel welcomed and cherished. If you do it for company, you should be willing to do it for your family as well. Preparing your home for hospitality shouldn’t be stressful for you or your family. It’s about making your home a place where you are comfortable so that others can also be comfortable. Let yourself enjoy the process and let your creative side have fun.
Are you willing to share some of the changes and tweaks that you make to your home as you prepare it for hospitality? I would love to hear from you and see pictures of the touches in your home that reflect you.
Blessed to share my heart 4 home!