Summer is a great time for entertaining. Especially if you live where the summer weather makes it enjoyable to spend time outside. Grilling on your back porch, chatting on your patio, or roasting marshmallows over a bonfire are all prime summer activities. And doing them with friends can make them even more enjoyable.
Having guests at your mobile home is a great way to connect with people below a surface level. Whether your guests stay for an afternoon or a week, you want to make sure everyone involved enjoys their time. So let’s dive into some tips to help that happen.
A guest could be anyone who comes over to your house to visit—for however long or short a time. But today, we’ll concentrate more on guests who are staying longer than just a brief visit. However, you may find useful tips regardless of the visit’s length.
Put together a plan
We suggest that you plan ahead to help make your visit a success. And the fact that you’re here, reading this article, is a good sign. You’re already interested in thinking about how to entertain your guests.
Depending on your own preferences, your plan may be written down or it may be mostly in your head. However, putting things on paper can help ease up the pressure to remember everything. Instead of trying to keep it all in your brain, you can scrawl a few notes and return to them later.
Dress up the guest room
Since guests are the key part of this whole entertaining venture, let’s start there. Of course, you want your whole home to be a welcoming place. But, pay specific attention to the areas turned over to the guests. Use the following checklist to prep the guest room and its corresponding bathroom area. (Or, if you and the guests will be taking turns in the same bathroom, just be sure it’s clean and well-stocked).
- Tissue box (preferably within reach of the bed)
- Alarm clock (again within arm’s reach of the bed)
- Water bottles (or at at least some clean glasses the guest can fill)
- Usable space in the closet
- Usable space in a dresser if one’s available
- A comfortable chair
- Extra blankets
- A small container of snacks and toiletry items your guest may have forgotten (this is a great touch)
- Enough pillows
- Clean sheets (it’s a great idea to make the bed if you have time—preferable to having your guest make it him or herself).
Remember to make it beautiful. This doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. But tasteful decor and a nice bedspread could go a long way. And obviously, it should be clean and tidy. You want the whole place to look inviting.
Think through the process
Preparing and cleaning are important. But don’t underestimate how useful it could be to sit quietly and think through the experience. Sometimes, having a lot of people in one place presents logistical hurdles—especially if your mobile home is small. Even one extra person could make for some challenges. For instance, sharing one bathroom among an increased number of people could lead to a backlog of people waiting.
Thinking ahead about how to handle these things like this could make the time easier for you and your guests. Here are some things to mull over and plan for:
- You’ll have more people in and out of the bathroom. If possible, you may want to assign a separate bathroom to guests.
- If the house will be packed, make a plan that involves leaving yourself enough space to do the work you need to do. So, this could include asking people to relocate to the living room while you prepare meals. Thus, your kitchen space won’t be unduly crowded.
- Some of you have young children with settled napping routines. And chances are, you’ve learned not to rock the boat. You (and everyone else) will be happier if the kids get their naps as usual. So go ahead and plan for that to happen.
- With that in mind, maybe you could plan to reserve a certain period of time for “quiet time.” While guests don’t have to nap themselves, they can still help you out by keeping the noise level down. Loud talking or playing uproariously funny games can be rescheduled for other times.
In addition to thinking ahead, you can also plan to get as much work as possible done before guests arrive. You can clean the guest bedroom and bathroom early (even days in advance). And you can clean the rest of the house before the day-of, too.
Getting food ready in advance is another way to go. Anything you can prepare before guests come is something you don’t have to prepare during. Check out these possibilities to free up time once your guests arrive. And feel free to add more of your own, tailored to your personal situation.
- Make and freeze casseroles and other foods that you can defrost and cook later. This frees you up to spend more time with the guests.
- In addition to freezing, you can also prep fresh ingredients so the cooking you do takes less time. For example, it’s a great idea to wash veggies and fruit and marinate meat earlier in the day (or even the day before).
- Fill your slow cooker crock a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator. Then, pop the crock into the slow cooker base. Simply let your dinner cook on its own while you and your guests are out touring the area.
- If the foods you plan to cook don’t lend themselves to being frozen or prepared in advance, no worries. In that case, try to ease up your workload a little by selecting desserts that can be made ahead.
- Note that even if you don’t want to do all the work ahead of time, you can still make a menu plan in advance.
Know your guests
As you prepare for their arrival, your specific plans depend somewhat on your guests themselves. Thus, keep their lifestyle, likes, and dislikes in mind. This could include knowing how do they typically spend their time and what kind of schedule they’re used to. Also, are they coming specifically to spend time with you? Or have you simply offered your home as a place to crash as they fulfill obligations in the area?
Additionally, consider whether they need any particular accommodations for children? Or, if they’re elderly, are there any special considerations because of their age? Discover if your guests have any medical needs or dietary restrictions, too.
Plan to have fun
Entertaining in your mobile home doesn’t necessitate spending all the time inside. In fact, getting out of the house with your guests could be a great idea. Start out with a couple of flexible ideas for places you could take them. Then, revise as necessary once you get their input.
Explore the local area—including museums, hiking spots, parks, or shopping areas. And make sure what you do is kid-friendly if kids will be joining (i.e. no strenuous mountain-climbing with 3-year-olds).
Certainly, you can take them to some of your own favorite spots. At the same time, you could also discover some great spots you’ve never been to before. But don’t reinvent the wheel. Likely, someone has already put together a list of great places to visit in your area.
Fun they’ll actually enjoy
Here’s where knowing your guests come in handy- tailor your entertainment to their preferences. If they’re foodies, local restaurants may be the order of the day. On the other hand, for huge fans of the outdoors, a good hiking trail might be a sound choice. And history buffs could prefer a chance to check out local museums or landmarks.
It may help to know if they like to relax quietly. Or would they rather make the visit a whirlwind tour of everything? If they like the quiet, you may want to carve out time for a restful backyard barbecue. Or make room for a calm pizza and game night at home.
Talk it out
Next, remember that your guests don’t know everything that you do about your home and lifestyle. Keep in mind that good communication can make your guests more comfortable. This could be as simple as letting them know how to set the thermostat in their bedroom.
And it could include things like announcing when breakfast will be served the next morning. Plus, be sure to explain how things work if you have any out of the ordinary appliances—like that crazy shower handle that nobody can figure out without help. (You don’t want your guest to suffer through without a shower because they couldn’t make out how to operate it.)
Moreover, alert guests about any occurrences they wouldn’t naturally expect. So if you have a rooster that crows at 5 AM every day, give them a heads up. That way, they can shut the window and use earplugs if necessary. Similarly, if the sink on the other side of the wall from their headboard squeals when turned on, alerting them in advance could be helpful. That way, they’ll know they can roll over and go back to sleep because they’re not in imminent danger.
Keep up with the normal work
As you enjoy your break from the usual routine, remember that some parts of life will go on as usual. Without a doubt, dishes will still get dirty (in fact, probably even more dishes than usual). Thus, plan to keep up with certain key household tasks despite being off your normal schedule. You don’t want to get so buried by accumulated work that you feel having guests is too much trouble.
Make time to spend time
Quite possibly guests came to spend time with you. So be around to make that happen. Yes, there may be some ordinary things you need to keep up with like work or household tasks. But you can still make time to enjoy your guests.
In fact, you may even want to make an effort ahead of time to clear out your schedule as much as possible. That way, you can take time without feeling pressured.
Give them space
You may imagine that you have to entertain your guests all day every day. However, they could actually need a break from time to time. Guests will probably vary in this respect, but at least have the idea on your radar. They may need a chance to break away and take a nap or simply recharge with some quiet reading. And this could be great because you might also welcome a little break.
Short-term vs. long-term guests
Even if your entertaining doesn’t involve overnight guests, these ideas could still help out. In fact, you may be able to use some of the same planning and thinking principles we just outlined. Simply compress the time schedule or re-work the ideas for a few hours of entertaining.
If your guests will be helping with your event at all (by bringing food, for instance), communicate about it as soon as possible. Doing this recognizes respectfully that guests have their own lives and responsibilities.
Let’s say you ask someone just a few hours in advance to bring a side dish. This is not a polite idea—you may be putting pressure on their schedule. Recognize that even if you have space in your day, they may already have plans that completely fill their schedule.
When you have a house full of guests for a short period of time, try to reach out and get everyone involved. Be a good conversationalist, and try to introduce guests who know few or no other attendees.
Tap into guests’ strengths
Even if you’re going to be busy yourself, cooking or doing other jobs, you can still make provision for guests to enjoy themselves. First, make a point to invite some guests who are good at being guests. These could be people who are great and starting conversations and reaching out to quieter individuals.
Secondly, consider providing some fun activities like games that can make it easier for guests to connect. And be sure to check out The Emily Post Institute’s Party Etiquette Tips for Hosts and Guests to up your game as a host.
Make great memories with your guests
Whatever brings guests to your mobile home this summer, plan to make it a delightful time for everyone involved. From overnight stays to weeklong reunions, mastermind a way to make it memorable. And if unexpected events occur, roll with them—who knows, it might even make for extra delightful memories! Plus, remember to spend quality time with your guests, perhaps relaxing on the porch. And finally, try to make your mobile home an inviting place for young guests, too.