Small House Hospitality: Dos and Don’ts

Dear family friends used to live in a small, quaint country home. During my growing up years, my siblings and I often spent the weekend at their place. We crowded into their tiny living room and played games, sang, or watched movies.

A few years ago they moved. Their new house is spacious and lovely, but I couldn’t help being a bit sad.

  • I miss the warm coziness of their crowded country home.
  • I miss playing group games because there just wasn’t enough space for everyone to claim their own room.
  • I miss being forced outside when the house started to burst at the seams to enjoy the great outdoors together.

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According to a government census, the average size of a single family home has risen by about 650 square feet in the last 30 years. Since 1950, the average family’s home has doubled in size!

While roomy houses open new opportunities, don’t let a small house paralyze you from hosting company. Even company that stays for an extended time.

As we’ve hosted family and friends in our little place over the past few years, here a few of the DOs and DON’Ts I’ve learned (or, ahem, am learning!) Some are only applicable to a small house, but others are more universal.

DON’T think less space equals less fun. I recently read how once people started moving into larger homes, they just couldn’t imagine how they’d had so much fun before, in such cramped quarters. Tight quarters may change the activities, but they don’t need to stifle the enjoyment.

DO have a game plan. Though you can have lots of fun with company in a small home, have a list of activities planned for when you need to get out. Check out local amusements, plan picnic lunches, go on long walks, etc.

DON’T be upset if your plans get changed. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. That’s okay. (Especially if you decide to slide down a slippery slide and land so hard you can barely walk, let alone make the dinner you had planned!)

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DO plan a menu. 5:00 has an uncanny way of sneaking up on you when you’re enjoying time with company. Make sure to plan a simple menu (and have the stuff you need for the meals!) ahead of time so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.

DON’T plan overly fancy meals. Yummy food is great. Spending the entire visit in the kitchen isn’t!

Do accept help… whether that help comes in the form of extra hands in the kitchen or a stack of paper plates (or both!)

DON’t expect to keep the house perfectly tidy. When you’ve got lots of extra people and luggage but not lots of extra space, purpose to not let the inevitable mess bug you. Just enjoy the time together.

DO recognize your weaknesses. When I’ve stayed up late and been woken up early (with a night-wakening or two thrown in for good measure) my grouchiness meter starts to rise noticeably by 9:00 p.m. It’s taken me way too long to realize this. Instead of bottling up, I need to pray for grace, take a nap if possible, and/or kindly communicate that I can’t stay up quite so late.

DON’T skip your quiet time. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in playing hostess that I forget to take time to read my Bible and pray. Even a few minutes alone with God can help get my focus readjusted and make me a better hostess.

What about you? What have you learned about hosting company for extended times? 

LInked up at Works for MeEncourage One AnotherHomemaking LinkupWomen Living WellHearts 4 Home ThursdaysProverbs 31 ThursdayConsider the Lilies & Finer Things Friday

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  1. says

    What great tips!! While we have never lived in “large” homes, our current home is probably twice the size of our first home. However, we enjoyed entertaining our friends just as much if not more in our first, tiny house than any of our other homes. It’s not about the size of the house!

    • anna says

      Thanks so much for stopping by! While there are some aspects of entertaining in a larger home that I’m really looking forward to, I honestly don’t know if we could make any better memories by having more room.

  2. says

    I am one of those people that lives in a house that bigger than it has to be but I do love hosting get togethers! I want everyone to do stuff together so I try had to keep people from spreading out too much. I love those memories we make when we’re all together. I also try to get extra sleep the day before so that I can stay up late into the night if our guests are staying over. I totally agree with the food tip! I make things like crock pot meals so that it’s fast and easy to eat and serve. I’ve also found serving finger foods and snacky things help to keep people closer to the food and that means they are closer to one another. 🙂

    • anna says

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing Kim! I love the idea of getting extra sleep the night before. It may not last for a whole week of company, but would certainly help. 🙂

    • anna says

      Thanks, dear Miss Jacqueline! It took a while for me to realize that hospitality was still a command in a small house and God could still bless times together in our little place. Now that we’re getting ready to move, it’s amazing to look back and see just how many blessed memories we have with friends crowded into our small place!

  3. Carolina says

    Very good and encouraging advises 😉
    Hospitality has been one of my stressing and hardest responsibility as a Pastor’s wife and homeschool mother, yet when the visit of friends and family gas been accomplished, it sure has been a blessing ; -) they always feel motivated to come back. The resting part is very important for me since we have 3 little sweeties. Thank you again for this wonderful message, God bless you!

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