Excuse me while I leave the table for a moment and head in to the powder room. Yes, the powder room. The most used facility in your house when ever having people over. Here is one area that I am sure you will not hear or read about in any "planning for a party" segment . You may think this is common sense, but trust me, it isn't. On many occasions I have been witness to the unwelcoming bathroom. The bathroom can get negleted when preparing for guests. Everyone is concentrating on how their table looks and how the food is going to taste that they forget about the most important room in the house, aside from the kitchen, of course.
For starters, make sure you have extra toilet paper. Nothing is more embarrssing than running out of toilet paper when you are in there. If you don't have room to store extra rolls in a cabinet, then have a decorative basket filled with extra rolls. The second thing to remember is to have plenty of paper hand towels. Nothing says "germs" like a cloth hand towel that has been used three or four times. First of all it is damp, and secondly, no one ever folds it back up and it ends up in a ball on the counter or dangling on a towel ring for the next person. It doesn't look nice. If you have a pedestal sink and don't have room to display the paper towels, then at least change out the towel with a fresh one at some point. The third thing, have air freshener available, or put scented beads in a glass jar, or burn a scented candle in there. Yet another embarrassing moment if you are the one to stink it up and there is someone waiting to go in after you. Fourth, empty the garbage can before your guests arrive. No one wants to see your used tissues and tampon wrappers. Yes, it's going to get full from your guests using it, but why not have it empty and looking fresh and clean. The last thing is, no one wants to hear what is going on in there. If your bathroom is located in a busy traffic area or right outside the kitchen (like in my house) you can't help but hear everything. Discusting, I know. I don't know why home builders can't think of better places for the powder room. You can turn the fan on, it is loud, but I find the sound sort of grating. Now, I don't know if this can really be resolved, but I do have an idea. My idea is to rig music to the light switch, so that when you turn the lights on the music turns on and the sound muffles the bathroom noise. Great idea, huh? Have you ever seen Blue Man Group? They play music and this guy is saying, "you're in the bathroom, bathroom, bathroom". It's pretty funny. Though I think I would play some New Orleans Jazz or big band music from the 30's and 40's.
Now, I am not the perfect party host. I have made one or two of these mistakes myself. Frantically preparing for company can easily lead to distraction and you just miss areas of your home. But, with a little planning and making some "to do" lists, you should be able to get your house in tip top party ready mode.