Preparing for Family Visits
Whether you’re preparing for a family reunion, Christmas, a big family birthday or the in-laws coming to visit, we’ve got you covered. It can seem like an impossible task to be ready for their arrival, but it doesn’t have to be. First things first, let’s get your house under control.
Best case scenario you have enough time to deep clean the house, tidy it up, chuck out every piece of scrap paper… but just in case…
Make it smaller
Break everything down into manageable chunks, it doesn’t even have to be a whole room at a time. Clear a corner, then a sideboard, and then keep going; before you know it you’ll have an entire clean room. If you’d rather break it down into time blocks, devote a solid hour to cleaning and tackle it in 10 minute chunks. You don’t have to survive an hour cleaning, you can do even the most unpleasant tasks for 10 minutes. Then, when you’ve done with those 10 minutes you just have another 10 to get through again. Make it about little chunks of space and time, and before you know it, the whole house will look like new.
Have an ‘off-limit’ room
Think Monica Gellar’s secret closet. Have a small space where anything you still can’t tidy up can be stored. Stack everything neatly and keep tidying when you have time, but having a safe space where you can save everything that you can’t get to.
Keep a list of ideas that get them out of the house
You are entitled to your own space, and having guests invading for a long period of time can make you feel cagey. It’s natural, and not something to feel guilty about… just try not to take it out on them. Instead, keep a list of things people can do to get all of you out of the house. Make sure to cover all weather possibilities and cater for every age group you have visiting. This could include:
- Walks around local parks
- Cinema trips
- Museum trips
- Local attraction/heritage trips
- Family bonding time at team based events
Things they can do, without you
It would be great to think that you can be the host, the cleaner, the chef, the entertainer and a guest all at once. However, it’s not something you’ll always be able to do, you’re human after all. So, give yourself time off from being the host every so often, and give yourself a little time to relax. As with the list of activities above, make a list of things your guests can do without you for an hour or three.
Trips to the cinema are perfect for this, as are board games which take a long time to complete (Monopoly, anyone?) Use the time off to indulge in your favourite activity, whether it’s gaming, reading, playing music or dancing round the room to your guilty pleasure song… do it unashamedly and make the most of every moment.
Prepping the food
In case you didn’t know, your fridge and freezer are your best friends. They’re here for you during the festivities and can make your life so much easier.
You can buy pre-chopped vegetables if you know you’re going to use them in bulk, or you can just batch prepare your own if you’re going to have lots of different vegetables involved. If stored correctly, you can stored many pre-chopped vegetables for up to 4 days in the refrigerator! So rather than chopping the same onions, garlic and carrots every day, do it once and then just measure out the amount you need each day.
Top tip, if you put chopped garlic into olive oil and store in the fridge, you can just spoon the mix straight into the pan and avoid garlic-smelling fingers entirely!
Did you know you can freeze cakes, crepes and whole burritos? If you have loved ones visiting for more than a couple of days then preparing and storing foods in advance can help you spend less time in the kitchen and more time with them.
Stock up on everyone’s favourites
Everyone has a favourite snack that they don’t want to admit to, mine is Cadbury’s Animals. You know those little lion shaped biscuits with a chocolate coating on the back? The kind of thing you put in kids’ lunch boxes? Yep, that’s them. I love them, I have a stash in my desk at work, and hidden away in draws at home — and no one is allowed to touch them.
Whatever your favourite treats are, stock up on them for when everyone is a little bit peckish. By having small portions for everyone you can hit everyone’s cravings and save yourself just a little bit of stress.
Taking time for yourself
If you can’t get your house to yourself, then give the house to them for a little bit and get out and take a break! Going for a walk in the fresh air can give you a sense of peace that you just can’t get in a busy house.
We have a whole other blog on creating your own oasis space and giving yourself time to relax, for more information, click here, and for now, breathe.