I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to start having friends round for dinner and some drinks. It’s been so long since we’ve last had the chance to get together. I almost feel like I’ve forgotten how to host. To keep me sane through the social drought, I’ve put together a list of essentials for small home gatherings. These are the things that we should all have on hand for when restrictions are lifted and it’s safe to mingle again.
Speakers are a must. Whether you want to blast some dance music or create some ambiance with gentle jazz, you need a way of playing music that isn’t the tinny speakers on your phone. If you’re a bit of an audiophile you might want to get a high-end speaker system that provides crystal clear audio.
If you want to use your speakers as a soundbar for the TV or for other home entertainment systems, you should look at bookshelf speakers. If, however, you like to take your gatherings to the backyard, the beach, or the park you’ll want a portable speaker. Portable speakers are also a great choice for people with limited space in the home as they tend to fit in the palm of your hand.
Portable speakers have come a long way since they first became popular. The sound quality and durability of some portable speakers are phenomenal. If you are looking for a portable speaker you should try a JBL clip speaker. They’re wearable as well as portable so you’re less likely to lose them.
Whether you’re planning a sit-down dinner or a more relaxed gathering, you need to make sure you feed and water your guests. I recommend investing in some partitioned snack plates or small ramekins for finger food. A lazy Susan is also a wonderful investment if you have frequent gatherings or parties. They stop people from having to stretch over the table.
In terms of drinks, you could always go down the BYOB route or you could put together a home bar if you’re really fancy! Either way, you’ll need some way of chilling all of the beverages. You could invest in a drinks fridge if you’re frequently hosting parties. If you’re a less regular host, consider getting an ice bucket.
One of the best things I’ve ever bought is an inflatable ice bucket. You can pick them up for a few dollars online or in a party supply store. Once you’ve had your gathering, you can deflate them and fold them away.
3. Board Games
The kind of games you’ll want to keep in stock depends on the kind of gatherings you like to have. If you have adults-only gatherings with lots of free-flowing booze, you’ll definitely want to have some drinking games around. Some of the best drinking games require little more than a deck of cards!
For other drinking games, you’ll need a variety of different things from ping pong balls to dice. Check out this list for some inspiration. If you’re planning some family gatherings, you’ll want games that everyone can play. Including your younger cousins and your aged aunts.
Go for old classics like Jenga, Charades, or Articulate as your basics. When you’ve got the chance branch out into newer games like Telestrations, or Codenames. If your gathering has more of a chilled, adults playing board games vibe, go for some more intensive games.
Catan is a classic strategy game with lots of expansions to keep things lively. Ticket to Ride is also a great one for small gatherings. It’s easy enough to pick up and lots of fun! If you want to go for classic games, get yourself a nice set of poker chips or dominos.
4. Video Games
You might be a bit sick of playing video games after the months of lockdown. However, playing games with your friends is a totally different experience! If you haven’t already, consider investing in a games console like Playstation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch.
Not only are these consoles great for playing party games with your friends, but they double as entertainment systems. This means that when the gathering dies down a little and you just want to chill out, you can watch Netflix, Youtube, or a huge range of other streaming services.
If you do want to play some couch co-op games, we highly recommend the Nintendo Switch. It has lots of multiplayer games that you can play on one screen.
5. Cleaning Supplies
With the best will in the world, groups of people make messes. Unless you want to wake up the following morning to an absolute pigsty, we recommend you stock up on cleaning supplies and items that can help you keep the place clean.
First and foremost, I recommend getting separate bins for all your bits of recycling. Place them in a handy location and people will, hopefully, sort their rubbish so you won’t have to!
Secondly, I recommend having a trusty mop on hand for any spills. We’ve gone through a lot of different mops in our house. Our favorite is a good old fashioned string mop. However, lots of people swear by spray mops with washable pads.
Another thing you should stock up on is paper towels. Paper towels are the real MVP when it comes to cleaning equipment. They’re ideal for cleaning up spills, wrapping food to take home, and wiping down surfaces.
If you have carpets or fabric couches, you should get hold of some stain remover or upholstery cleaner. The sooner you can tackle a red wine stain, the less damage it will do!
We may not be able to gather together with our friends and families just yet, but we can prepare for the happy day when we’re reunited! Get your home ready for guests by upgrading your speakers, or stocking up on party games. That way, when restrictions are lifted, you can have a good old fashioned knees-up with your nearest and dearest!