Summer is the time of year to throw open the doors and invite guests to join you outside for impromptu BBQs and campfires. But before I invite guests over, I like to get prepared so I can relax and be spontaneous when the festivities begin! A little preparation ahead of time can inspire us to entertain all summer long.
It doesn’t matter if you have a big backyard with a pool or a small deck with a tabletop grill, you can entertain guests this summer if you are organized and ready. Entertaining should be about the people you’re with and the great experience you can share, not about having everything perfect. Don’t let your imperfect yard or tiny deck ruin your fun! Focus on the essentials and everyone will have a great time.
Here are five things you can do to get organized for summer entertaining:
1. Start with a summer spruce-up.
If it has been a while since you’ve had people over to your backyard, you might want to take a quick look around. If your yard is like most people’s this time of year, it will need a little cleanup. Spend an afternoon weeding, getting the patio furniture out of storage and dusting it off, sweeping the deck and cleaning the grill. I always get far more inspired to invite guests over when we’ve done a little summer cleaning outside.
2. Set the atmosphere.
The great thing about outdoor parties is how informal they can be—you don’t need to go all out with decorating. But if you want to do something a little festive, string a few outdoor lights from the fence, a deck railing or a couple of stakes in the ground and turn them on when it starts to get dark. I keep a bucket in the garage with various outdoor party items like mini-flags for the Fourth of July, bubbles for the kids and lanterns with citronella candles.
3. Gather your BBQ supplies.
To save yourself the stress of searching for outdoor utensils as your guests are arriving, take some time to rally your BBQ utensils and fire pit supplies. You can use a picnic basket or a designated kitchen drawer for outdoor entertaining items like plastic plates and utensils. Make sure you have a stack of dry firewood ready for the fire pit and BBQ coals or anything else you need for your BBQ. Have an ice cooler cleaned for salads and beverages or even a giant metal tub ready for filling with ice and bottled drinks.
4. Wash picnic blankets and tablecloths.
If you don’t have enough lawn furniture for everyone, you can spread out picnic blankets or colorful tablecloths for additional guests to eat picnic style. Have a stack of clean blankets on hand so you can invite everyone on the block to picnic in your backyard.
5. Have food ready and waiting.
It’s fun to be spontaneous in the summer, so it helps to have food in the freezer and treats ready to go when the mood to entertain strikes. Pre-prepared burgers in the freezer, bottled drinks or lemonade mix and all the supplies for S’mores in the pantry will make entertaining on the fly fun and effortless.
Have fun entertaining this summer!