How to make the time to host a party, even when you're super busy

June 26 |
Porch Party, June 1
One of Helen Jane's infamous Porch Parties

Frequent Offbeat Home contributor Helen Jane just wrote an excellent post on how she and her husband James manage to regularly throw what she calls "Porch Parties" — despite the fact that she works full-time (with an insanely long commute), has two toddlers, doesn't have a fairy godmother, etc.

How do they do it? Well, like so many things, it boils down to priorities…

James and I prioritize hosting as a core family value. It's important to us to get friends together to share food and drink and therefore we make time for it.

We do it by making lists, lots of them.
I do it by taking a deep breath, several times a day.
I do it by remaining flexible and positive.

Here's my countdown to a porch party — it outlines the steps I take (starting on Sunday) to host a Friday night party. This is especially important if you have to schedule like we do — with two working parents, an active dog and two small, funny little people.

You know you want the full scoop.

  1. aaaand this will be useful. I don't work full time, my husband does, but that gives me some time to ponder and prepare. Pondering is a very important step, just because it's fun to say. July 4th is around the corner and my husband's birthday is the next day, so I think I'll take her advice and make a list for a simple balcony/apartment party.

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  2. I don't understand this. I guess because I'm in college? I lead a very busy life but… if I wanna throw a party and don't have a sparkling clean bathroom, I just invite friends I know don't care about that…

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    • Unfortunately, party expectations tend to go up after you graduate college. People expect a cleaner place, clean bathrooms, more food, and better booze. I still throw the occasional "messy house, no prep, byob, chips and dip" party but for the friends traveling 5+ hours to attend the party and stay the weekend, I make a lot more effort.

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    • In my experience, attitudes toward whether a clean house matters often change the moment you graduate. Maybe it's a "This is my adult, grown-up apartment" thing, but it seems like things get different.
      I know a lot of people will be like WELL I STILL DON'T CARE and that's way cool, but as the sloppiest, messiest, nastiest person among my college friends, I know I panic when someone's coming over and I know I get a little judgey when I visit a friend and their house is the same grimy stoner pad they lived in when we were in school. And especially if their toilet is gross.
      Society-wise, we expect coeds' rooms to be trainwrecks, but as soon as we're in the "real world", we're supposed to magically become Better Homes & Gardens material. That's not how it goes, but that's society for ya.

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      • I totally agree with Rose & dootsiebug.

        I also think sometimes it can have to do with the fact that your friends are often your coworkers when your older which is a little different dynamic sometimes.

        Also that people in general might just not have as much time so, though still party-loving, it's just more effort to attend (ex: from getting a babysitter to not having the downtime they need after a long week). That means expectations can rise, both your expectations of yourself & your party and your guests of you/party.

        Lastly, of course the less you do it, the more your (and possibly your guests') expectations rise.

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