1. Keep a baby box
In your cabinets, keep one bottle, one sippy, one pacifier. You may outgrow the baby phase, but someone else will always be smack dab in the middle of it. Have a few basic and necessary baby items on hand to surprise a desperate mother with delight when you whip out the very thing she forgot!
2. Make Everyone Feel Like Your Favorite
As a pastor’s wife, we have a lot of visitors to our home. If you entertain a lot or welcome people in your home for any reason, pay attention to your company and who may not be talking, who may be sitting alone or simply be aware if someone is coming who doesn’t know the group as well. Sit by them, make them feel welcome, and bring them into the fold! A person who is hospitable and nails it, makes someone comfortable in their home by whatever means that may be!
Even though I have only daughters, I always keep a few good boy toys around. I have a few tried and true toys that please both sexes and a variety of ages and a few baby toys in there as well. A good way to make feel people at home is to make it feel like home!
When having a party or large dinner etc., write your wi-fi password on the kitchen chalkboard or set it out in a cute frame or plaque on the island amidst the food display. It’s convenient for you AND them and it makes anything a guest might need, easily accessible at their fingertips.
5. Have Commonly Used Things On Hand
In your bathroom, keep toilet paper easy to find if someone runs out so guests aren’t embarrassed to ask. Also, keep a small basket or bin of small toiletries of anything someone may need or may have forgotten: spare toothbrush, travel deodorant and shampoo, toothpaste…you know the drill.
6. Coffee Anyone?
I hate coffee, it’s true. My husband? He doesn’t drink it either. We decided about a year ago that we are on a coffee-less island alone and having a coffee option at your house is great for guests and visitors. We didn’t even have to buy our own coffee maker. We were given one from someone’s wedding gift surplus! Score! Coffee is a nice thing to offer for your company when you are chatting or just winding down from a meal.
7. Serve Dessert
Make being in your home something out of the ordinary for a guest. Dessert isn’t something that most families do regularly at dinner and for the price of a box of brownies, you can treat your company to a simple yet, not everyday little treat.
8. Actually Let Them Inside…It Helps
If you wait until your house is clean and perfect, you may never have anyone over ever. Get comfortable with good enough and know that the more your life and home reflects real life, the more comfortable they will feel because it will look a lot like their lives!
9. To Guests With Kids…Tell Them It’s Okay!
Tell them they can be kids at your house! Pull the toys out, shut the doors of rooms you don’t want them in and let parents feel like they don’t have to constantly police where their kids are and what they are touching. When a kid runs through my house or jumps off of our couch and the mom embarrassingly says, “I’m so sorry!” You know what I say? “They are fine! My kids do that all of the time!” You say whatever fits there, but you know what happens? Parents still will tell them not to do it again almost every time because they respect you and your things, but they just may breathe easier and feel a little more at HOME! If you can’t have kids in your house without a load of “Don’t touch that” or “Don’t be so loud” etc., you will never be able to make families with young children comfortable in your house. Everyone has rules for their home and that’s fine, but there is a line of trumping things more than the people who come to use your things. Let not just people, but families know that they can relax in your home! You aren’t running the Ritz Carlton. You are a real mom, friend, person, etc. with a real home with real people coming to it! As a frequent guest of homes myself, there is nothing more stressful or un-enjoyable than worrying about your kids every 5 seconds because of how someone makes you feel in their home. Have people to a HOME, not a museum and know the difference.
10. Forget the size of your home and bank account
Hospitality does not come with financial or home requirements. Hospitality is being welcoming with what you have and it’s making someone feel at home. Feelings don’t take dollars or square feet to achieve. If you can’t afford dinner, have people over for cookies or coffee or both if you’re feeling all sorts of wild and crazy. You may not have a big space, but you have enough to have some people over. Set up folding chairs or take it outside. Small is cozy and charming and bonding and making memories doesn’t have to be over steak! If you let what you can do or provide hold you back, you may be cheating yourself out of some great experiences and some great relationships.
11. Mind your Fur Babies
I know Johnny Jumper Butts is your favorite dog on the planet, but not everyone likes dogs jumping on them, sitting on them, or around their kids. I have a cat, but I know people may be allergic and I even have a few friends afraid of cats. Put them in a room, shut them in the garage, but don’t make someone feel uneasy, sneezy or obligated to stroke your teacup Yorkie dog all night. They aren’t for everyone and putting them up for guests is an easy thing to do for your company. Unless you know for sure it’s not a problem, hug a tree, love your pets, but put the pooches and the pussy cats up for your persons.