This past Summer, we were abundantly blessed to move into a house that was intentionally designed for hosting people, but that hasn’t always been the case.
Our last house was so small, we lived without couches for nearly a year to give us a little more room elbow room. The master bedroom and the toy room were one and the same (the basement), and one of our kids slept in the couch-less living room. The kitchen was a one-person corner with a work surface the size of a stove top.
With 8 people living in 758 square feet, it felt as though there were messes everywhere, even though we were living with the bare minimum. I couldn’t buy food in bulk as there was no room to store even an extra pack of paper towel, and our freezer space was limited to what came with the side-by-side fridge.
Two adults was all we could have over without sitting on top of each other, so we had to get creative about hosting guests!
Lessons From The Tiny House
This tiny house opened the world of outdoor entertaining to us, and even though our current house has ample room for guests indoors, I hope the memories of dinners outside at the rental will help us use our new backyard to its full potential. (In our climate, this is only feasible for half the year.)
A couple extra lawn chairs, a roll of paper towel, and the number of your local pizza delivery at your fingertips, helps take the stress out of hosting people at the last minute when you can’t fit them into your house.
(I’m planning to share some less expensive food ideas that are quick to throw together in a forthcoming post.)
Tidying the pathway to the bathroom and closing the door to other rooms in the house helps, too, if you’re like me and are still trying to overcome the hurt to your pride of others seeing your house in disarray!
Outdoor yard games that require little to no set-up (like bocce ball, frisbee, an oversized checker board made with patio stones, etc. ), are fun ways to relax and converse at the same time. Sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and water in a pail are inexpensive and keep children entertained for hours.
Hospitality is not confined to *your* house
Living small also helped me realize that hospitality is not so much about having people over to your house, as it is about building friendships, and that can happen anywhere.
Hospitality can look like, “Hey! Do you want to meet at the park this afternoon with the kids? I’ll bring a pack of juice boxes and a box of cookies.”
I have a dear friend who also lives in tight quarters, but has blessed us several times by this simple text message. The cuisine is rarely fancy or labor intensive, but that just makes it easier to reciprocate, and leaves both of us with more time to enjoy one another’s company.
Children Fit In Small Spaces
One more thing about house size: you may not be able to have whole families or adults over comfortably, but children also benefit from fellowship with others, and they rarely care about how much room they have to spread out when they are playing with others! They don’t care whether you cleaned the bathroom that day, they don’t care whether you made dinner from scratch. They are quite possibly the easy guests to have, especially if you have kids of your own.
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40
For consideration: If your house is small, what are some “hacks” you have employed to make hosting people easier?