Picture this, you’re at home, working away with your chores or schoolwork with the kids and your husband texts you to say that he’s bringing some people over for dinner that night. You glance at the clock and it says 3PM. Panic sets in and you think, “What will I make for dinner? I have clean laundry in the living room that needs folding. What do we have for dessert? I haven’t mopped the floor in ages. There’s not enough room at our table. I don’t have ice in the freezer…” Before you know it, you’re texting your husband to say that it’s not a good idea because you don’t have enough time to get ready.
Well, this post is going to help you be ready for those last-minute guests so that you don’t ever have to turn someone down.
There are lots of times in life when we do things that are not planned. Having people over can be one of those things. Sometimes it’s your husband who invites someone, sometimes it’s your family who stops by without much notice, and sometimes you are the one inviting someone who needs lunch over from church. Whatever the case may be, you can be ready to serve anyone at any time with these steps below. Hosting people is important and this post will help you host those last-minute guests well.
1. Your house doesn’t have to be perfect.
When you have last-minute guests coming, remind yourself that your house does not have to be perfect for people to come over. Of course, we’d all love to say that we always have a spotless house, but that would not be true! So, when you know guests are coming shortly, don’t worry about cleaning your house from top-bottom before they arrive. Do a quick pick up here and there and then be satisfied with what you’ve accomplished.
I think we often have this picture in our minds of the perfect house and the perfect home and that’s what we want others to see. Not only is this a selfish mindset, because you want to look good in the perfect home that you’ve created, but it can also seem unrealistic and off-putting. I have found that it’s actually nicer to be in a home that’s not perfect because it shows that those people are just like me: not perfect.
2. Bathrooms first, always.
Because your house doesn’t have to be perfect, you can choose just a few things to clean and not try to clean the whole thing before your guests arrive.
I always try to clean the dirtiest/worst places first when I’m short on time. As soon as I know guests are coming, I check the bathroom and do a quick wipe-down/sleep (no time for scrubbing the shower or the grout). Make sure there is soap and a clean hand towel. The bathroom should always come first because you really don’t want to be wiping down the bathroom when your guests arrive, that’s just awkward. So get it out of the way and then, in the worst-case scenario (which isn’t even that bad), you’re picking up the living room or washing the dishes in the sink when they arrive.
3. Keep it simple.
When you have last-minute guests coming up your driveway, you have gotta keep it simple. Now is not the time to make a 4 course meal with a fancy dessert. Lower your expectations a little so that you don’t stress about what you’re making.
In fact, you don’t even have to make something. With food delivery so widely available now, consider just ordering something to be delivered when your guests arrive.
Having a meal together with someone, even without much notice, can be a wonderful time that you might miss if you are stressed about what to make and what to do. I can promise that your guests will just be thankful for the time spent with you, no matter how fancy the food is.
4. Keep food to serve on hand.
While it does need to be simple, it’s always helpful to plan ahead for this by keeping a few pantry items in stock at all times.
Personally, I always keep 4 cans of beans, 2 cans of chopped tomatoes, and ground beef in the freezer for last-minute occasions. These ingredients make a quick chili in the Instant Pot and then all you need with it is bread or rice or crackers. Super simple! You could also be sure to have pasta and sauce, or cans of tuna for casserole, or just simply eggs and toast (breakfast for dinner anyone?). You can make a simple veggie platter with carrots, cucumbers, and celery for your guests. Or make a quick peanut butter dip with yogurt and honey, add sliced apples to dip and you’re ready to go.
Copy my ideas above or find some recipes you’ve made before that are easy and quick and keep some of those ingredients on hand. You don’t even need a large pantry to be able to do this. I keep a few items for last-minute occasions in my cabinet at all times.
5. Ask for help.
Even if you keep it simple, there are times where you really don’t have much in your kitchen and you need to host people. Sometimes it’s best to divide and conquer, send your hubby (or maybe your teenage child) to the store for some last-minute things (maybe ice cream for dessert, a rotisserie chicken if you don’t have meat at home, flowers to put in a vase on your table).
But don’t forget to work together as a family and get the last-minute chores and prep done together. Having friends over is a group effort and asking your kids or husband for help is a good way to work as a team.
Well, now you are ready to have some last-minute guests! I hope these tips are helpful to you and encourage you to have people over even if your house is not perfect or it’s last minute. Let me know if you use these tips in the comments below!
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