As a host, I’m fussy by nature. I love me some punishing party prep—stooping to vacuum hidden corners, fingers cramping as I mince fresh thyme for savory treats. I suppose I like guests to feel special. It also means that when life gets busy, I’m apt to quit hosting altogether. Waaay too much work, I shudder. So the wine glasses gather dust. My home turns a little lonely. And I start to feel stuffy and prim. That’s why I’ve begun forcing myself to suppress that sense of occasion and just invite people in already. No braised meats or bespoke cocktails. No premade playlist. I simply: 1) Tell folks to come over. 2) Tell them it’s casual. 3) Tell myself it’s gonna be fine. And it is. If friends really cared about upscale snacks, they wouldn’t be laughing in my kitchen at 2:00 a.m., polishing off a pizza. That too is special.
The only regular cleaning my family did growing up was the few times a year when we had guests come over! This always led to really stressful, overwhelming, “mega” cleaning sessions that took days. I’m sorry to say that stuck with me through my early adulthood longer than I should have let it. Figuring out a regular cleaning schedule that involves small amounts of cleaning more often means I never have to devote an entire week to scrubbing caked on dirt.