Entertaining and Holidays – Minimalist Style

August 27, 2012 in Minimalist Tips by Lorilee Lippincott

Entertaining Minimalist StyleImage: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This post is based of a readers question ‘What about entertaining and holidays?’

A common reason for getting a bigger house or for having extra household items is for guests and holidays.  I am all about having people over and holidays, but I don’t think it needs to conflict with minimalism.  Like most things I think that minimalism makes entertaining and holidays easier :)

Here are three things to consider.

How easy is it be ready for people to come over

So often, when we had our full house, we wanted to have people over but either the house wasn’t clean enough at the time, or we didn’t have the energy to clean to get ready for people to come over.  It wasn’t like the house was a disaster, but you know the usual clutter that collects.  I was pretty good at keep the living room, dinning room and kitchen area clean but the main bathroom was upstairs by the bedrooms and it always felt like if we had people over the whole house needed to be clean.

We are spontaneous people and love to throw social things together at the last minute, but this slowed us down.

Now, with our small apartment it is never an excuse.  Sure, it isn’t ready for people to ‘drop by’ at any time but it can be ready for company with a few minutes of pick up and 2 minutes of the vacuum.   Minimalism has made entertaining easier.

How much space to you really need

This is a very personal thing.  We love people over, but very rarely have large parties.  We have very few out of town guests and do our holidays at Bryon’s folks home with more extended family.

I think if I had a formal dinning room I would use it.  We are still going with our everyday parties and Lily made quite a spread last Friday (homemade pasta, alfredo sauce, and an amazing carrot/orange/chocolate beautifully frosted cake).  We ate the meal on our china dishes with fancy glasses and cloth napkins.  The kids had a blast.  It would have been great to do it in a formal dinning room with a full table to site around.    However, as far as the kids are concerned it would only have been slightly more fun.  What they really wanted was the cooking and the fancy dishes :)

We have the space and seating to do a sit down meal for 14 people if we needed to (we have a few folding tables for schooling or larger projects and if we count the side of the couch and camping chairs we could do it.  :)  The kids would also gladly share their futon/bed and sleep on their camping mats if someone from out of town wanted to come for a visit.

If you used the money spent on the space for other entertaining ideas, what could you do?

I think of the difference in cost from our minimalist apartment vs our full house.  Because we purchased our house in pretty rough condition and did lots of remodeling it cost us less.  However, comparing the amount we rent it out for plus utilities vs what we pay for rent and utilities in our small apartment we save $800+ per month.  Is it worth almost $10,000 a year to have more space to entertain or have holiday parties?  For that we could throw a pretty fancy Thanksgiving party or Christmas party in a rented room if we needed the extra space, put visitors up in a nice hotel if they come by, or do a vacation with family or friends instead of hanging out at home.

This is totally a  personal thing.  I think it comes down to focusing on the priorities, what do you love and what do you need for entertaining and holidays and what is all the extra clutter that takes time and money?  What are things others think you should have for holidays or entertaining but you never really use?

We are pretty social people.  We hang out with people several times a week and we have found minimalism makes it easier.

The one thing we have had to do differently is when we get together with other families with kids it is often easier to do it somewhere else – the pool, the park, the zoo, etc.  It is possible to have kids come over to play but often it gets too loud to visit as adults.  Actually, since simplifying and moving we find we get together or do things with people more often than we did before.

What do you think?  (if you are reading RSS or on currents join us in the comments)

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