There’s something magical about the fall, and Thanksgiving just adds to that warm and fuzzy feeling. Being able to share it with family and friends really is the icing on the cake. Unfortunately, people who live in small shared spaces often find that they’re constrained by space. They assume they couldn’t possibly hold Thanksgiving in a small apartment and so miss out on the opportunity to celebrate with people they love.
Contrary to popular assumption, living in a shared space doesn’t mean you can’t hold an ‘awemazing’ Thanksgiving dinner. There’s no need to panic. Instead, see hosting Thanksgiving in a small apartment as a creative challenge that you CAN overcome! Here are a few tips and tricks on exactly what you need to transform your apartment into Shangri La and enjoy the magic of Thanksgiving with roommates, friends and family.
1. Plan in advance
Ask yourself the hard questions when you start planning. How much space do I have? Do I have enough tables, chairs, cooking utensils? Would I need to get more? What are my alternatives for the things I don’t have? What can I ask others to bring along? As you answer these questions, a clearer picture of what you can and can’t do will begin to emerge. It’s an important first step if you’re going to successfully host Thanksgiving in a small apartment, so grab a pen and take your time with it!
2. Talk to your roommate(s)
If you share an apartment with a roommate, then talking to them is one of the first things to do when hosting Thanksgiving in a small apartment. Sure, you may all have equal rights to shared spaces but the courtesy of telling your roommate guarantees you a helping hand, and prevents unnecessary arguments.
3. Prepare a guest list
So, you’ve identified the number of people your apartment can hold. It’s time to invite those people and confirm if they’ll be showing up. You should also let them know there’ll be no room for plus ones. This tip helps you avoid surprises in the form of Tinder dates or great aunts when hosting Thanksgiving in your small apartment!
Based on who’s coming, you can now make decisions about Thanksgiving seating ideas. You may want to set a designated seat at the table for every guest. You may have people coming who don’t mind eating while sitting on the couch. The confirmed guest list helps you come up with some good Thanksgiving seating ideas.
4. Prepare for the hats and coats
A chilly season means you have to prepare for your guests’ coats, hats and umbrellas. These can quickly clutter your small space. Designate somewhere in your apartment for people to drop their things. It could be a rolling garment rack you place in the hallway or some space in your closet, or in the worst case, your bed. It may not be the prettiest but it’ll declutter your living room and dining space and help you better enjoy Thanksgiving with your roommates.
5. Get some folding tables
People need tables to eat their Thanksgiving dinner – right? Chances are that you don’t have enough. So, you may want to borrow some folding tables to make up for it. Even if the tables don’t match after assembling them, you can get a Thanksgiving tablecloth to hide the mismatch and create some ambiance.
6. Clean as you cook
Your kitchen is about to explode with the not-so-nice smell of used dishes, which is why it’s best to wash as you go along. Consider organizing your dishes into courses so that the period in between courses can be used to quickly wash, dry, and put aside any dishes not in use. That’ll keep dishes away from valuable serving space. Just make sure you don’t spend the entire evening in the kitchen. You’re there to spend time with your loved ones, too!
7. Invest in disposable dishware
Alternatively, you could choose to buy disposable dishware when hosting Thanksgiving in your small apartment. You likely don’t have enough space to take all the dishes you’ll need when hosting Thanksgiving in a small kitchen. Likewise, you can’t afford to leave them in your dining area or kitchen once the meal is done.
There is high-end disposable dishware that looks and feels like real china available. Consider getting some so you can easily throw them away as people finish their meals. Done and dusted.
8. Decorate your apartment
You may need to move furniture, clutter, book stacks, or gadgets to create more space. Sometimes moving them to the wall will do. At other times, you may need to move some furniture to the bedroom temporarily.
Likewise, opening up the room with good lighting creates a sense of a larger space. Avoid cluttering the tables with decorative pieces. Instead, consider decorating the walls when hosting Thanksgiving in a small apartment. You can also use candles arranged around the room for a warm glow.
9. Be creative with your meals
You don’t have to be rigid with what you cook for Thanksgiving. It’s best to consider the space you have and make decisions based on that. For example, a turkey in the oven will force you to keep every other thing out leaving you with little room to cook anything else with the oven. Consider changing up your Thanksgiving dinner menu to use the space you do have in your kitchen.
Additionally, you can let your guests know what you’re cooking and turn Thanksgiving into a potluck, asking them to bring specific food items as they come. It’s also good to have a plan for dealing with leftovers when hosting Thanksgiving in a small apartment.
10. Have an exit strategy
An exit plan for when everyone is done eating is always nice when hosting Thanksgiving in a small space. It could be that everyone moves outside the house to the balcony, an open space nearby or a local bar for some drinks. Whatever the case, make sure you have a plan in place. It usually is the perfect way to end an amazing Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanksgiving is about the conversations, the meals, the laughter, and the gift of friends and family to celebrate with. As long as that is guaranteed, most people don’t care that they’re in a small space. So sit back, relax and enjoy your Thanksgiving with roommates and those around you.
Need help finding rooms or roommates? Roomi can help you find the perfect apartment while you continue to prepare for Thanksgiving.