How to Have a Hospitality-Ready Home

This last summer, when I was 36 weeks pregnant, our AC stopped working. It was June and we live in southeast Texas, so you can imagine how hot it was in our house! I’ll never forget how two gracious friends invited us to stay with them until technicians were able to fix our AC. They had no warning, but these friends welcomed us into their home, gave us a key so we could come and go as needed, and invited us to eat their food.

Does it take a lot of work to get your home ready for guests? See if these approaches would help you keep your home ready for hospitality.

Their response is an example of how my husband and I have always wanted to use our home. We’re blessed with a house and feel that we should exercise various forms of hospitality so it is also a blessing to others. However, to be perfectly honest with you, hospitality doesn’t come naturally to me. I worry about the imperfect features of my house and, as a mom of two young kids, I struggle to keep it clean. I’m a planner and have a “Type A” personality, so it’s hard to embrace spur-of-the-moment change. Moreover, I’m introverted, so it’s sometimes rough having a full house.

Despite these personal challenges, I’m committed to using my home to serve others. Earlier this year I decided to try to have a hospitality-ready home. In other words, I’ve taken steps to make sure we are ready to welcome folks with little notice.

How to keep your home ready for hospitality

  • Keep areas that will be used by guests clean. Certain areas of my home (living room, kitchen, guest room, bathrooms, etc.) will be used by guests. I make it a priority to keep these areas picked up. This doesn’t mean they are spotless, but I try to keep them clean enough that guests will feel comfortable in them.
  • Have clean bedding and towels ready for guests. As soon as overnight guests leave our home, I launder the sheets and get them back on the bed in the guest room. I do this so that the guest bed is always ready for use. I keep extra blankets and sheets easily accessible in the closet of the guest room so that these are available should we have so many guests that we need to use the couches as beds. Likewise, I try to keep some towels set aside so we always have some that are clean and available for guests to use.
  • Have a food game plan. If I haven’t grocery shopped recently, then it is likely I won’t have the food I need to hosts guests. One way I try to make sure I’m prepared for at least one good meal is to have a frozen dinner on hand at all times. Lasagna is one of my go-to options because it reheats well and most people like it. I also like freezing this Mexican Rice Bake. Like lasagna, it reheats excellently and has a great, family-friendly flavor. One dinner won’t last long, though, so I also keep two helpful lists. One is a short list of meals that I like to prepare for guests (these are tasty meals that are easy to prepare and feed larger groups). The other is a list of essential foods for guests (e.g., things I will likely need for guests including milk, bread, eggs, snack foods, and the specific ingredients needed for the meals I just mentioned).
  • Plan for guests’ comfort. Because my home is not a luxurious bed and breakfast and my family is going to be going about its everyday business, I can’t provide guests with a resort-like experience. However, I do think about what little things I can do to make their stay comfortable.
    • Make sure the bathrooms have extra rolls of toilet paper so guests don’t have to search for these.
    • Give guests a brief tour of the kitchen so they know where to find things.
    • Provide guests with a key to the house so they can come and go on their own.
    • Post the wi-fi password in the guest room.
    • Provide an alarm clock in case guests don’t have cell phones or don’t use their phones as alarms.
    • Have extra toiletry items (e.g., toothpaste, soap, shampoo) on hand in case guests need them.
    • Communicate any “rules” or expectations to guests (e.g., remove shoes at the front door, be quiet during nap times).
  • Prepare to welcome guests with genuine enthusiasm. From a Christian perspective, hospitality is about much more than the act of allowing a person to stay at our house. I find it relatively easy to complete the tasks listed above and to invite someone over, but I don’t always do this with the right attitude. Sometimes I do it begrudgingly. Sometimes I feel like my life is being interrupted by the presence of guests. We’ll take a look at how to prepare our hearts for hospitality next week.

These approaches make a big difference! When I have them completed (or when I’ve planned for those that won’t occur until guests arrive), I don’t feel anxiety about all I need to get done before we invite people into our home.

Is your home ready for hospitality? If so, what things do you do to keep it that way?

Shared at the following:

Monday’s Musings, Literacy Musings Monday, Tuesdays with a Twist, Tuesday Talk, The Happy Now Link-Up, and The Art of Home-Making.

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Comments

  1. With sheet rock dust and power tools all over my house right now, I needed this encouragement that “this too shall pass” and soon I’ll be able to enjoy practicing hospitality again!

  2. All WONDERFUL tips!!! My favorite is having a meal ready in the freezer! EXCELLENT!!!!

    I found you through Art of Homemaking Monday. 🙂

    Your blog is beautiful!!!

  3. Great tips. It is so nice for a guest to feel truly welcome and comfortable.
    Amalia
    xo

  4. Wow, that is wonderful that your friends stepped in to help out last summer! These are so helpful, Shannon! I really like your idea of having lists for “guest meals” and ingredients, and keeping things on hand in the freezer.

    • It was so wonderful of them, AnneMarie.
      Having a meal frozen and others in mind really simplifies things!

  5. Pinning this…a valuable list of reminders. And spot on! I know I feel a real difference when staying with folks who put thought into hospitality (like this) and those that don’t. It inspires me to always be the kind of host that makes guests feel comfortable and welcome.

    • Hi Susan,
      That’s a great point. As a guest, you often can tell the difference. I hope my guests feel that they are so important to me that I planned ahead!

  6. Very good tips! Hospitality is becoming a lost art and I am glad to see this article! Thank you for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! 🙂

  7. These are great ideas! Right now I don’t have a guest room so someone usually has to give up a room for guests or if it’s just one guest they sleep in the living room. But we do try to make them feel at home and provide good food and fellowship.

    Blessings to you! I’m your neighbor at #LMMLinkup.

    • Hi Gayl,
      It’s a bit more of a challenge without a guest room. We have space for one now, but this may change as our family continues to grow.
      The “good fellowship” component is so important!

  8. What a wonderful idea and plan.

  9. Mrs. Kelley Dibble says:

    Shannon,

    Being given to hospitality is a wonderful character quality. As a minister’s wife, I have stayed in many clean and inviting homes whose host and hostess are deeply given to hospitality. I hope I have learned a few things in 36 years from their wonderful examples, tips and ideas.

    One home where we stayed had a framed poem on the dresser that told us how we, as their guests, blessed their home and that we were welcome.

    Another had their Wifi password framed on the dresser.

    A night light in the restroom
    Feminine hygiene products
    Extra blanket, sheets, towels
    Extra hangers in the closet
    A little welcome basket: snacks, water bottles, mints, pretty paper napkins, etc.

    We live on Guam, so our guests are usually first-timers. We printed an information booklet that tells what there is to see, our telephone numbers in case their loved ones need to reach us, etc. It also explains about catching their flight back home, times we’ll need to leave the house, events on the schedule, etc.

    My go-to hospitality meals are Enchilada Suppers made with shredded chicken in one pan and shredded beef in the other, toppings, Spanish Rice, chips and salsa and Tres Leches Cake for dessert; another is a huge Taco Salad made with ground turkey; Lasagna, salad and bread and Panna Cotta for dessert with a simple fruit sauce; BREAKFAST also makes a great supper– omelets, pancakes, eggs and bacon, etc.; Dinners in packets are easy (chicken breasts cut into strips and tossed in a little olive oil and seasoning, then topped with a colorful variety of slivered, sliced thin or chopped veggies– whatever they like, and tossed with a little more oil and seasonings; sealed in a double layer of foil pouch and baked at 425 for 20 minutes, then 350 for 40 minutes. Place the packets on a plate, carefully open and eat; Chili with cornbread… Now you’ve got me hungry!

    Your hospitable spirit will inspire others to emulate your generosity. You get the gold star… and so do your friends who showed their kindness to your family.

    *hugs*
    Kelley~

    • Thanks for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment, Mrs. Kelley. There are so many useful pieces of advice here.
      I love the different ways hosts have made you feel welcome. I can implement some of these ideas right away! The meal ideas are also great, especially breakfast for dinner! Most people love breakfast foods, plus they are easy to prepare and make in large quantities (for those times when we have several guests).
      I’m encouraged by your kind words and so grateful for the tips!

  10. Hospitality doesn’t come easy to me either. Lack of money and space has always presented challenges, and I’m a type A introvert as well. 😉 Maybe when the kids are gone, I will finally have a guest room!

    Thanks for sharing this much needed advice at Literacy Musing Mondays.

  11. Good morning! Just a little note to let you know that we have *FEATURED* this post today on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! Thank you for joining us! We hope to have you link up this week! 🙂

  12. All amazing tips, Shannon. Having freezer ready meals ready in minutes, is something that never occurred to me! Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week!

    Visiting via JES’,
    Poppy

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