The other day I had a conversation with a friend. We were both lamenting about how we weren’t great at hospitality.
Another friend chimed in and said she had an open door policy at her house. Friends could drop by whenever they wanted.
I know back in my grandparents’ day that was a common thing. After all, Facebook didn’t keep people connected 24/7. I got to thinking about how nice it would be to get over the fear that my house is not perfect and just invite people to drop in whenever they want to chat.
Sure, it might mess up my day, but isn’t that a part of ministering to others?
If you’d like to focus on keeping an open door policy this summer, maybe these tips will help you.
Let Go of Perfection
I’ve learned to accept that my home is never going to be perfectly clean and organized. Especially while the kids are home during the summer.
I’ve found that guests actually appreciate my semi-cluttered house, as they usually have the same struggles. My clutter shows that I am normal and not perfect. Being genuine and transparent is key to forming good relationships.
So let go of perfection and embrace “good enough.”
Make a Daily Tidying Routine
During the summer it’s easy for the clutter to get out of hand quickly. Even though I know my house won’t be perfect, I like it to be tidy. After all, guests would probably be slightly grossed out if I let dog hair accumulate on the floor.
I make a list of daily chores that need to be done, and each of the kids and I are responsible for doing some of the chores before we have any free time during the day.
On my daily chores list:
- Empty and reload the dishwasher
- Wipe down the kitchen counters
- Wipe down the bathroom counters and toilet
- Vacuum the floors
- Do a load of laundry
- Take out the trash
If those things are done without fail every morning, my home feels mostly tidy, and I feel more confident having guests over.
Keep Refreshments on Hand
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Have you ever noticed people open up more when they’re sharing a meal or snacks? That’s a little lesson I learned when I was volunteering at our local Children’s Advocacy Center a long time ago.
When the advocacy center brought in children to testify before a grand jury, they would place a big plate of pastries and fruit in the middle of the table. As the child testified, everyone would eat, and that would put the child at ease.
The same is true when we visit with friends. For whatever reason, sharing a meal or light snack breaks down barriers. I try to keep easy, light refreshments on hand – fruit, cheese, and crackers.
I also pull out my Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker during the summer, so I can make a big pitcher of iced tea quickly when guests come over.
For those of you thinking you don’t need another gadget in your kitchen, I thought the same thing. But I really do use my iced tea maker a lot! And since it’s only $17.94 at Walmart, it’s not a huge investment.
Be sure to scroll to the end of this post for a killer summer iced tea recipe!
Focus on Others
I love to watch House Hunters on TV, but I admit I cringe every time someone says, “This room would be great for entertaining.”
To me, having guests over is not about entertaining them. It’s about investing in my relationship with them.
Creating a hospitable atmosphere in my home and yard isn’t about having picture perfect furniture in the latest style. A welcoming attitude, simple refreshments, and genuine interest in your guests are all you need for summer (or anytime) hospitality.
Simple Summer Strawberry Lime Iced Tea
If you have a little extra time to make iced tea, be sure to try this recipe. It’s a wonderful blend of sweet and citrus — perfect for sipping outside with a friend on a warm, summer day.
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- Juice of two limes
- 3 TBSP sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
- 6 black tea bags
- Gently mix strawberries, lime juice, and sugar in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.
- Fill Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker reservoir to the 3 qt. line with water. Add 6 tea bags to the basket. Fill with strawberry mixture and ice to the 3 quart line. Brew as directed. Serve right away.