I find it easiest to apply the same home organizing process that I use with my NYC clients and their projects when planning an annual summer gathering for 5 close friends and their spouses. With juggling work and personal obligations, it is extremely helpful to apply some basic organizing solutions and time management strategies to this NYC project.
As we typically gather in late July or early August, I surveyed everyone in late June regarding their availability for late July. I received a fairly immediate response so the date was locked in and it was off to the races. With everyone’s busy lives, we have adopted a majority rules approach to selecting the date and this year we should have a full house.
Once I had the date set, I started by using my organizing and time management skills in NYC and began by making a list of all the tasks that needed to be done. As my husband and I will be hosting this gathering at our weekend home at the lake, planning to do certain tasks in advance becomes essential. With the more or less complete to-do list in hand (additional tasks would be added as they came to mind), I assigned a date for tackling each task. By spreading the tasks over a 3-week period, there was plenty of time to get all the tasks addressed in a sane fashion.
In addition, I asked each of my friends to contribute to dinner. With responsibility for the happy hour snacks, side dishes and desserts all delegated, I could focus on the main course which will be barbequed, the beverages and planning the day’s activities.
Once the date was locked in, my timeline was as follows below. My husband and I divided up the tasks and devised creative organizing solutions as needed so that everything was done before our guests arrived.
-3 weeks prior to event: Draft to-do list and set menu
-2 weeks prior to event: Ask for contributions to dinner
-1 week prior to event: Make shopping list, light house cleaning
-Night before event: Shop for food and other essentials, make cold salads
-Morning of event: Set up outdoor furniture & cooler, uncover boat, marinate chicken, assemble items for setting the table, check the bathrooms, charge the camera battery
I have found that relying on the same skills I utilize when organizing homes in NYC I am able to entertain without it becoming a huge project and time consumer. Best of all, I am able to enjoy my company and minimize the amount that still needs to be done while they are here.