A by-product of living in a city with a moderate climate is that rent and home prices increase more every year, while the room for hosting is getting ever smaller. Fear Not! What follows are some hospitality suggestions for small spaces.
Meet Dan and Linette. This couple emulates a heart of hospitality–meaning they recognize first and foremost, that hospitality starts with an attitude that says, “I want to be welcoming toward others.” Because Linette and Dan already possess those traits, practical hospitality in her home is a natural overflow.
Linette and Dan moved to San Diego a little over a year ago and joined our church even more recently. Within no time at all, they both made it their business to get to know both old and newcomers alike at our church, ensuring all whom they encounter feel welcomed and loved.
Before Linette and Dan had even become members of the church, Linette signed up to bring me a meal after #5 was born. The night that she signed up to do so didn’t wind up being an evening when we were actually going to need a meal. I reached out to tell her that she was “off the hook” and instead of saying, “OK, great!” she responded with a, “Well, we’d really like to get to know you. Would you be up for coming to our place for dinner one evening?” Knowing they lived in an apartment, I wasn’t sure if she meant this for just my baby, my husband, and me or if she was extending this invitation to all 7 of us. Turns out, she wanted to serve (and get to know) my whole tribe. The date was selected and we, in turn, showed up.
By that point, I already knew that I was going to be on a strict dairy and soy-free diet for my allergic newborn. I was a bit embarrassed about having to be fussy about what I ate, but I really have no choice, as baby is the one who winds up suffering. We could not have been placed in better hands. Linette and Dan aren’t novices when it comes to cooking with allergies in mind. Dan has to stay away from gluten at all costs and thus, our delicious Mexican-themed meal was born, where everyone had lots of toppings they could choose from and consume and only a few things allergic folks needed to avoid.
Being invited into Dan and Linette’s home was nothing less than balm to my soul. They were brand new friends who were welcoming us into their space. I got to peruse Linette’s bookshelves and finally open up cookbooks of which I had only seen the covers. (Turns out, Linette has a small library of cookbooks!)
My daughters, coyly at first, then boldly before long, asked (rather begged) to start playing with Linette’s amazingly tight, curly hair. She didn’t hesitate to allow all of my girls to uncurl her beautiful locks for what seemed like ages.
After dinner, the women and children convened on the soft rug in the family room, while the menfolk sat around the table. The thing is, despite the fact there were 9 of us there, we didn’t need much space. We gathered where it made sense and we were all absolutely filled and fed that night.
Linette is now, quite literally, my daughters’ favorite person on the planet, asking me questions like, “Mom, can you call me ‘Chica’ like Miss Linette does?” My 12 year old has described this gal as her would-be best friend if they were the same age. It’s beautiful. All of this love began with Linette’s heart for hospitality in offering to bring a meal to a mom-with-a-newborn and persisting in having us in her home when I didn’t think I needed the help. I’m so glad she asked and that I said yes.
But the refreshing fact is, Linette and Dan offer their home built-for-2 as an inviting space for many and have the savory knack for making all feel loved. They work well together, tag-teaming to make sure company is always being engaged and food prep is still happening in the kitchen. Both contribute toward cooking and cleaning, so neither one is left to do the bulk of the work and each, in turn, get to fellowship with their guests.
When I interviewed Linette on some of her tips and tricks for doing so in a 2-bedroom apartment, she didn’t have to think twice before she offered her experience and some sage wisdom.
Here are 10 tips to maximizing your time and space when hosting:
Test-run your place and menu on family or close friends
Don’t host to impress; host to be a comfortable place for others
Don’t be pressured to make your house perfect
Host to bless others with something you can give
Serving the food “buffet style” frees up table space
Don’t be afraid to use paper plates. It’s hard to hide dirty dishes in a small kitchen. Disposable pieces are super handy for quick clean up. Beautiful options are now readily available for all occasions:
Don’t be afraid to re-arrange the furniture
Consider floor pillows to increase seating possibilities
Consider purchasing pieces that will aid in maximizing space. Table/chairs set like this one can be helpful!
Above all, remember the goal: To Love Others