Hosting 101: House Rules

By Kim Edwards

“What’s the move?” was always the Thursday-Saturday night question blowing up the group texts and TLs back in college (Note: I can only speak honestly of my first 2 full years, and maybe half of junior year because things started to get dead around campus).

I must say, the first two years of undergrad were lit. There were a few go-to hangout spots, and even if you didn’t want to get ready to go out, someone was always down to host a small gathering, pregame, or kickback to feed the hood.

So what changed? Once we hit junior year, it was as if only 2-3 people total wanted to host things on campus. It made no sense. We were brought into a campus space that invited the turn up – a Candyland, if you would, of opportunities to socialize on a given weekend night. What changed our minds?

We quickly blamed it on the underclassmen. They didn’t wanna turn up. They always brought down the mood. They didn’t know how to party.

But we’re forgetting something really important here. We were now the upperclassmen: the Weekend Warriors all the youngins aspired to be. We had our party personas (remember SheGotKaiks?) and we were supposed to live up to the name. We didn’t do our part because we started to grow up…

Where am I going with this?? Am I admitting that we got our own apartments and transformed into our moms and dads?

Fast forward a few years…

My boyfriend and I just got our first apartment together in Jersey City this summer. SheGotKaiks is long gone, and instead has been replaced by who Danny refers to as “Auntie Kim.”

It’s like I bought a Swiffer and now I’m my mother, minus the Filipino accent and the unapologetic humor…but I promise I’m not completely washed.

We’ve hosted a few gatherings at our apartment, and here are some major points to being a lit host while still keeping some sense about your living space:

1. Decorate / set the tone for your living space to accommodate your guests. This is my home:

It’s not much. It’s a 1-bedroom in Jersey City (competitively priced at $2000/month). Anyway, what tone does this say about my living space?

  • It’s small
  • It’s homey – that is, it’s not like I have all the couch space in the world.
  • The lighting is balanced.
  • There’s a certain way I like my couch to look. This picture is like a B in terms of how I want my apartment to appear.

So taking all of this into account – what can we gather? I’m not having huge events and I do not have the space to have too many people in my house. Sorry. It’s not gonna happen.

2. Know who you’re inviting over. Because I don’t have space for each of my friends to show up with 4 more people, I can make the call on who I want over. If you’re the type of person who loves to invite the hood, then you probably aren’t coming over.

3. Set the tone for the function. This sounds kind of like number 1, but it’s different. I’d say that this pertains to what people say about restaurants. If you see bright lights and loud music, it means they want you to eat quickly and get outta there, and vice versa. I like having smaller gatherings to begin with, so I keep my space that way.

4. Know who your neighbors are. We got lucky. We’ve got cool neighbors. But we also have access to a rooftop patio where we can move the function if it gets too loud/late/etc. If you’re in an apartment building, be mindful that everyone there has a different schedule. People have kids / like to be complaining ass neighbors / be nosy and come over. Don’t be the person who everyone else complains about. You also don’t have to invite your neighbors over either.

5. Be a generous host, and you’ll have gracious guests. People complain a lot about the little things that are overlooked when it comes to having a function…


  • Paper towels: unless you like having people touch your personal towels after washing their hands, I suggest you go buy some.
  • Toilet paper: if you don’t have a nice toilet paper set up, then make a pile in the corner of your bathroom. That way people don’t have to keep asking where it is…they should know.
  • Optional hand sanitizer: This AND having a sink is a double-reminder to guests to wash their hands.


  • Put a chair in front of your fridge if you don’t want people eating your food. The more turnt we get, the more we tend to look for a place to sit. If that’s in the way of where the food is, people are less likely to go through your fridge.
  • If you have food/snacks set up, have disposable plates/cups/flatware and serving spoons readily available. I may have put out extra hand sanitizer and soap in the bathroom for you, but I still don’t trust you to put your hands in my food.
  • If it’s BYOB, you should still provide something. No one likes a dry house during a “pregame”


  • People tend not to mess with a bed that’s already made…so make your bed and you won’t see people laying in it.
  • Just close the door.

Living Room / Main Space

  • Don’t be a Youtube DJ. No one wants to hear an ad about that yogurt that makes you regular before “Wipe Me Down” is played. You should already have a playlist. If not, there are plenty out there on Spotify/iTunes/etc. that are pretty decent (The advertisement thing applies if you’re using a streaming app, too). That being said, stop skipping songs / cutting them off / whatever, especially if you’re having a party where people are dancing.
  • Don’t play the music from your phone. You’re gonna keep getting up to check it/see if people are arriving.
  • Clean as the night progresses. You’re definitely going to have to clean up in the morning, but at least you won’t have to do everything once you’re hungover.
  • Finally, have a good time. Don’t be so uptight. Just use your common sense and be hospitable. No one likes a host who does the most.


Photo Credit: Lee Chapman