A house-cooling party has nothing to do with lowering the thermostat or cranking up the AC. It’s a way of tying up some last-minute loose ends (and box-packing), paring down your belongings and celebrating the start of a new chapter in your life with people you care about.
That said, a good house-cooling party doesn’t just happen. Here are a few tips and tricks for making sure yours comes off without a hitch.
Be Ready in Advance
By the time you have your house-cooling party — and we recommend holding it just a day or two before your move — most of the major moving prep should be pretty much done. Don’t expect guests to do a lot of grunt work and heavy lifting. Any tasks left should be simple, straightforward and doable over drinks and easygoing conversation. If you need some help getting organized, check out our move checklist to help you manage all the large and small details with a minimum of hassle.
Curate Your Guest List
You may be tempted to invite everyone in the neighborhood for a big goodbye bash. However, a home packed to the rafters with well-wishers tripping over boxes, furniture and themselves is not only counterproductive but stressful. Here’s a hint: Limit your house-cooling invitees to the family and friends who’ve spent time in your home and created special memories there. Everyone will have a better time — and there won’t be a big mess to deal with afterward.
Don’t worry that your place isn’t picture-perfect (it won’t be). Unlike a housewarming where you might want to impress visitors with dazzling decor and fancy hors d’oeuvres, a house-cooling should be low-key and casual. Let your guests know they should dress for comfort and be expected to pitch in a bit. Above all, be certain they do not show up at the door loaded with gifts (which means even more to pack). Don’t guilt people by creating a sense of obligation or show disappointment if someone stays for just a drink. That’s perfectly fine. However, if a guest or two hangs out helping till everything’s move-ready, that’s even better.
Don’t Fuss About the Food
This isn’t the time to show off your culinary wizardry. Besides, anything too elaborate will distract from the tasks at hand. Guests won’t expect a fancy spread. If you have some leftover produce, salad dressing and other easily consumed items in your fridge to use up, now’s the time to set them out. And there’s nothing wrong with simply ordering a few pizzas, a bucket of chicken or other finger foods that can be delivered right to your door and served on paper plates.
Make a Game of It
Even if you’ve done your best to get rid of the stuff you don’t intend to take, your house-cooling party could be used as an opportunity to sell or “gift” certain items in which your guests have previously expressed interest. You could even gamify the whole experience with a raffle or round of bingo to add some more excitement to the proceedings. Make it fun and take plenty of pictures!
Keep Things Upbeat
Even though you’re saying farewell to your circle of friends, a house-cooling should feel more like a bon voyage get-together than an emotionally draining slog. Of course, it’s fine to shed a tear or two — just be sure to stay on the positive side of things. Don’t bring up old grudges, unhappy memories or other mood-killers. And because you’re asking for a little help along with companionship, the last thing you want is a roomful of boisterous, tipsy guests so do keep alcohol offerings moderate. Depending on the crowd (and your personal preferences), you may want to forgo fancy cocktails and mixed drinks altogether and limit beverages to beer, wine and sodas.
Playing some music can keep things upbeat too.
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