You've sent out the e-mail. You've haggled for a date that works for almost everyone. And now reality sets in. You're hosting a dinner party. Ok, don't freak out. You've totally got this. We're here to help.
The magic word (let's say it together now): Do it in advance! (Oops, magic words.)
You've heard it once, you've heard it twice, you've heard it a thousand times. But yes, prepping ahead of time really is worth it. And not just the food. The little touches around the house that make your guests gasp in amazement at your effortless hosting. And we've corralled 5 of the most helpful designs we have in our Shop to get you ready.
In an infomercial announcer voice: Food storage containers can be such a pain! [Shot of woman opening a cabinet and a mountain of plastic bases and lids cascading out]. Thanks to their amazing ability to suction, our silicone lids will top any kind of vessel and seal it up airtight. These. Babies. Are. Awesome.
So mix up a cookie batter in a ceramic bowl, throw a lid on it. Prep your mise-en-place in a small glass bowl, put a lid on it. Stack your mini quiches in the bottom of a plastic storage container (you lost the top, naturally), put a lid on it. If you can make it ahead, these lids can keep it covered. No Tupperware necessary.
Added bonus features: Deep fry appetizers on demand (though, why would you do that to yourself?) and you can use them as splatter screens. Drape one over your fresh-out-the-oven casserole to keep it warm (because timing is the hardest part). They can even be a makeshift pot lid—they're heat-resistant up to 484 degrees!
Here's an easy way to seem like you've got your shit together: little bowls for salt and pepper. Fill these minis with coarse Kosher salt and freshly ground cracked pepper. Your guests will think they're dining at a fancy restaurant. You might overhear them whispering to each other, "Ugh, I wish I was more like Susan*. She thinks of EVERYTHING."
*Name changed for anonymity.
There are tricks to soften butter fast, but you've got no time for that once the guests arrive! One day ahead of your shindig, fill the base of the keeper with a bit of water and fill the top with a stick of softened butter.
The water creates an airtight seal so the butter stays fresh, and fluffy-soft. You can serve it right out of the top—with yeasty rolls, absolutely. But why not get a little fancy-pants and try radishes and salt. Trés French.
You grabbed your bread from the bakery a day early and now you're panicked about it going stale before the big night. One of these linen bags will do the trick—the naturally anti-bacterial linen keeps bread fresher for longer than paper or plastic (those can make crusts soft and damp).
The lookers belong on your table, too. If you went the fresh baked bread route (good for you!), the bag will keep your loaf warm. Or pass around the bag with a Pain de Campagne inside and have guests rip off a hunk of the crusty goodness (everyone likes audience participation). Or lay it in a basket as an insta-chic liner.
Above all, don't forget the washroom! It should be a nice spot for guests to retreat to, so make sure it's fully stocked (TP, soap, fresh hand towels, maybe even a candle or two). And tissues, too!
We've got eyes for this clear acrylic case—transfer the tissues out of the neon flower-printed box they came in and plop 'em in here. It looks good enough to belong in a 5-star hotel (but let's hope your guests don't walk out with any of your toiletries).
You did it! You're ready!
What do you do to get your house ready for guests? Tell us your secrets below!