Ever wondered how some people seem to be willing to have guests over at the drop of a hat, when you need a good three-week warning to get the place into a fit enough state? Do you cringe at the thought of people ‘just dropping by’, or feel panicked at the prospect of distant relatives popping in for a cuppa?
If the answer to all of the above is a resounding ‘YES’, you’re probably the kind of person for whom the prospect of a ‘guest ready’ home is as elusive and hard to grasp as complex algebra. From general clutter making the place look untidy, to a shortage of ‘nice’ towels and bedding for overnighters, it always just seems like a mammoth effort to play host.
But all that’s about to change.
You see, there is no magic trick behind being neat and tidy and a generally guest-ready. People aren’t born with it. They learn it. And you can too. Here are five steps that will utterly transform your guest-hosting ability and take you into whole new realms of social-butterfly opportunity.
Next, it helps to always have a stash of antibacterial wipes in the house – a packet for each room preferably. That way dusting/bathroom cleaning/kitchen surface wiping becomes a doddle.
Finally – don’t sweat the small stuff. Nobody cares if your floors aren’t perfectly polished, or your windows are erring on the mucky side. They’re much more bothered about general ambience, comfort and, of course, seeing you.
3.Make your own ready-meals
Sometimes we’d love nothing more than to invite friends round for an impromptu dinner but don’t due to the perceived effort involved. By the time we’ve thought up a menu, shopped for it and then cooked, we’ll be too exhausted to really enjoy their company. But what if there was another option? Better than a take away, and much cheaper than forking out for a restaurant?
Pre-homecooked and then frozen back-up meals are a god-send when it comes to those last-minute dinner parties or relaxed after-work suppers with close friends. Simply set aside the odd Sunday afternoon to batch cook something delish and easily defrostable, then portion up and freeze for future social gatherings. From beef bourguignon with lashings of creamy mashed potato, to spicy chilli con carne, to slow cooked ragu – there are plenty of dishes that can be frozen and whipped out at the last minute, leaving your guests seriously impressed and full to the brim!
4.Realise the power of candles and background music
One of the biggest mood-killers when having guests round is lack of ambience – aka bad lighting and that awful stony silence that only seems to get harder to fill the longer it goes on. The solution? Candles, background music and an absolute, ‘no-means-no’ ban on all overhead lighting. Nobody wants to feel under scrutiny under the stark glare of spotlights, especially if they’re hoping to look at their best on a night out – so it’s your duty as host to ensure your home is ambient and relaxing and the lighting is flattering.
First, fill a kitchen drawer with tealights so there’s never a risk of running out. Next, create a couple of music playlists that you can pop on at the drop of a hat so you’re not faced with making choices over which outdated album is better, while your guests eagerly await your attention.
If you’re a little guest-shy, preparing your home can go a long way towards easing some of the anxiety that accompanies hosting. It’s all about being organised in advance so that you’re not overwhelmed by the actual event. That way, when you’ve got the chance to be spontaneous you know you’ll be bringing guests home to a house that’s calm and ready for anything – just like you.