Summer Organizing: 10 Ways to Make Having People Over Much Easier! | Organizing Made Fun: Summer Organizing: 10 Ways to Make Having People Over Much Easier!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Organizing: 10 Ways to Make Having People Over Much Easier!

Next week many of will be participating in or hosting July 4th festivities! If you are one of those people that just FREAK out at having people over for dinner or lunch or just hanging out, let me help you out! It's not hard and you can learn the art of hospitality. 

Having people is truly "our thing" here in the Barnfather household! But, it didn't just happen overnight -- we had to have lots of practice at it. And we've gotten better over the years at it. Let me give you a few pointers and things that we do or do not do:

1. Just ask or offer

Don't worry about the "they haven't invited us, so we shouldn't invite them" ideas. Just ask people. Figure out if after church is best, an evening, a morning brunch, or whatever works for you both. The point is, just ask and follow up. Offer to host your kids' youth group at your home or soccer team and family, or any other event where someone is needed to host within your groups. 

2. Keep it simple

The one thing people seem to think is that when you have people over, you must have an elaborate dinner. Well, we'd be in trouble if that's what's expected. We keep it super simple. Despite what most people think, it's not all about the food. If you have a go-to dinner that is easy - even if it's store bought - do it! We have potlucks at our house ALL the time -- we invite a big group and ask them to bring whatever sides they want or dessert. We provide meat and drinks. No one is offended!

3. Be prepared

One of the best things you can do to have people over is to have stuff ready. My husband is the type that wants me to have extra stuff in the freezer so we can have people over at a moment's notice. Frozen burgers are easy and they are ready to go in a jiffy. Fancy? Nope, but no one has ever complained!  I have lots of paper goods on hand for whatever could come up. I'm a whizz and whipping up a last minute salad or making a potato dish.

4. Ask for help

People like to come over and have something to do. I purposely don't have all the food done before they come. I ask them to help me cut up fruit or veggies, help me carry stuff out, make the drinks up in our big beverage dispenser, and so forth. They like helping, they always ask how they can help. So, if I do everything that would be a lot of work for me, and when they help we chat and talk, so we all get the benefit. 

5. Know your strengths and weaknesses

My hubby and I have this down to a science! We've done it so long that we know what the other will do. He likes to start putting everything away as soon as people finish eating. Me? I don't move - I just sit and chat with everyone as long as they stay. I'm happy to do the dishes later when everyone is gone. I enjoy the fellowship and time with people that I want to spend as much time as I can talking with them. I am fast and furious, though, when it comes to set up and getting food ready. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses!

6. Enlist the kids help

If you have kids, get them to do some of the work. My kids have been helping for years. They know the routine. My son gets all the trash cans lined with trash bags and helps dad to move the tables out of the garage. My daughter is fantastic at wiping down tables and counters. 

7. Have a routine

As with the kids, who know their jobs to help out when company comes, have a routine of what you set up and where. It may be a different set up for each event or dinner party you have at your house, but the basic routine of setting up, planning, or cleaning up makes it easier to have people over.

8. Do it again and again

You will never get to the point that it's easy until you do it often. People will remark to me and say that it must be so much work, but in all honesty, it's not. You do it again and again, and you know what to expect or how to handle most situations. It's not going to be perfect - ever. So, get that out of your head. If you main objective is to "wow" or "whoo" people, that's the wrong reason to have company over. When you do it out of your love for your friends and family, you enjoy it so much more.

9. Never apologize for what you don't have

When people come over, don't start apologizing for stuff that's not fixed, things that are cluttered, or food that's less than perfect. Your home is your home. We have had lots of construction going on here at our house and still had people over. We just moved things to another side of the yard and kept the kids away from anything that could be dangerous. We have run out of food before -- but we just ran into the basement and pantry and pulled out whatever else we had to feed people. We've had all kinds of circumstances, and it always turns out fine. Apologizing about things is rude and puts the emphasis on you - when you should be focusing on your guests.

10. Enjoy your time with everyone

Can you tell that my favorite part is just to enjoy everyone? I can hardly remember anytime we've had people over that I didn't outright absolutely enjoy them! We've had BIG parties, small dinners, and medium sized fellowship here. It's all fun. Remember this: you are having them over to get to know them, find out more about them, and make them the center of your attention. Do whatever you need to  in order to make that easier - paper plates, a Costco rotisserie chicken, water? Doesn't matter, you'll still all enjoy your time. 

Are you planning a fourth of July party at your home or a park? Or are you attending one?

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