Expected company can be stressful enough to someone who is not used to, or warmed up to, the idea of opening their home. But unexpected company? What goes through your mind when you hear that phrase? To some, this is delight. To others, it’s sheer panic.
When my husband and I were married, we decided that our home would have an open door policy. Meaning anyone could stop by at anytime. We felt the desire to be available, and for our home to be a safe comfortable haven when needed. I’m not going to lie, I’m an introvert. Not as bad as I used to be. After a year being married to my very extroverted husband I actually score closer to the “E” side of the Meyer’s Brigg scale now. I still don’t get energized by being around people all the time. I enjoy it and I feel fulfilled, but I don’t recharge by being around people. However, I wasn’t called to be an introvert sitting at home recharging myself and enjoying God’s blessings all by myself. I was called to practice hospitality. Sometimes it’s hard. The anxiety gets to me too. But my desire to be there when someone needs me, to make someone feel loved and safe, to offer a hot cup of tea and listening ear; those desires are so much stronger than my anxiety.
So I’ll put the kettle on and share with you 5 ways to stay prepared for unexpected company:
1.) Remember why you’re doing this.
I love this quote:
“The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.” S. Niequist
If you feel the strong desire to open your heart and home to others that’s wonderful. We are told throughout God’s Word, to practice hospitality, give to those in need, and treat one other with kindness. It doesn’t need to be big and dramatic, but it does need to be loving and warm.
2.) Keep a stock of tea bags and pre made snacks on hand.
You don’t need fresh baked goodies or a 5 course meal every time someone pops by for a visit. I like to keep a box of crackers, popcorn, or fresh fruit on hand. This makes it easy to put into a bowl and sit out. If you have the space for a guest shelf, or dedicated cabinet, this can be a huge time saver. Keep things such as crackers, cookies, tea biscuits, snack mix, and sugar alternatives for sweetening coffee and tea.
Asking the question “Can I get you anything?” can make people feel like they’re inconveniencing you. I usually sit out a snack and give them 2 choices for beverage, one cold and one hot. This lets them know that I’m already preparing something, and I just need them to make a decision. I usually don’t offer more than 2 choices because this can be overwhelming.
3.) Utilize that empty laundry basket.
I like to keep a laundry basket ready to grab and go. If there are any items laying around the living room or kitchen, they can be tossed into the basket and sat aside for a quick tidy up. This is especially useful if you have children and there are toys scattered about your home. You can also find a cute basket like this to match your décor to keep in your living room for those toys.
4.) Keep a canister of Lysol wipes on hand.
A quick and easy way to freshen up your bathroom and kitchen is wet wipes. I like the lemon scented Lysol wipes. I will run one over the bathroom sink and another over the toilet to give it a fresh sparkle. Easily wipe down kitchen countertops and appliances for an all over fresh feel.
I love candles. They make your home smell great and add a cozy ambiance. Hint: I like to keep a long lighter on hand so it’s a quick start. The last thing I want to be doing is burning myself on a match or fumbling with a traditional lighter. Also, fabric freshener is great for freshening up your sofa or that bucket of blankets in your living room. I recommend a light clean scent that won’t overpower a room.
I would love to hear your tips and advice for always being ready for company! Drop a comment below.