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Growing up by the beach, I watched my parents host friends and family in generous style—anything that was ours was theirs. We always kept extra towels, sunscreen, beverages, and snacks on hand so guests felt right at home. Now, as an adult, I’m lucky enough to live in a city building with an outdoor pool, which means my friends in the area will be stopping by all summer long for a refreshing dip.
Having essentials on hand for guests is always a hosting must, but the summer brings along some extra necessities that can get pricey; luckily, I can stock my home with affordable essentials from Walmart before having people over. I’ve taken on my parents’ hosting techniques by keeping an assortment of amenities on hand for guests to use or keep, which ensures they feel welcome (and welcomed back!) anytime they want.
Below, find some of my most essential foods, drinks, toiletries—from sunscreen to ice-cold lemonade—that I like to keep on hand for summer guests.
This is possibly the most important summer essential, but it can also be pretty expensive. Fortunately, Walmart happens to sell this pack of two spray sunscreens for under $8 (or this sunscreen lotion if that’s more your speed), so I can stock up for friends without draining my bank account. Plus, they’re water-resistant for up to 30 minutes, which means we can all take a dip without the risk of getting burned.
2. Soothing After-Sun Gel
Just in case someone forgets to reapply sunscreen by the pool, I like to keep a bottle of soothing after-sun gel for uncomfortable sunburns. Pro tip: Keep the bottle in the fridge for extra-cooling relief.
Speaking of sunburn (and other aches and pains), sometimes these things are inevitable, despite our best efforts to avoid them and just enjoy the summer. I like to grab a two-pack of Equate Ibuprofen and to stash one in my nightstand for personal use, and another on the bathroom counter so guests know they’re welcome to grab some if they need to.
4. Bath Sponges
Personally, I love showering with a bath pouf or sponge, because they get the body wash nice and sudsy while gently exfoliating my skin. I want the same for my guests, so much like keeping a few toothbrushes on hand, I keep some bath sponges as well, so every shower in my home is a spa-like experience.
5. Makeup Wipes
No one wants to fall asleep in their makeup for lack of remover, so I like to keep a pack of makeup wipes in the medicine cabinet. This way my guests can remove makeup before they go to sleep, or after they’ve come out of the pool.
6. Pool Towels
What’s a pool day without a cozy towel? I love to keep a bunch of towels for friends to use by the pool, and since these cuties from Walmart come in a 2-pack that’s under $10, I can send them home at the end of the day with no worries.
7. Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Something about spinach & artichoke dip feels so special, like a night out with friends for appetizers. I love this Markestside Spinach & Artichoke Dip, because I can serve it right from the fridge with chips, or if I’m feeling fancy, I can top it with a bit of extra cheese and pop it in the oven for an almost-homemade snack. If you’re in a meaty mood, you could also scoop up their Buffalo Style Chicken Dip or Bacon Ranch Cheddar Dip.
I grew up in a beverage household, which means we always had multiple soft drinks to serve with meals or on their own, and I’ve definitely carried this over into my adult life. In the summer, I love to keep a big bottle of lemonade chilled in the fridge, ready to put in a pitcher or pour over ice, because who can say no to a glass of lemonade?
Another thing no one can say no to? A refreshing frozen treat on a hot day. I feel particularly nostalgic about these grape-, orange-, and cherry-flavored popsicles, as they bring back memories of sitting on the porch during a thunderstorm, or dangling my feet in a friend’s pool with one in my hand. I’ve found that they’re an instant crowd-pleaser to this day.
10. Classic Potato Chips
There’s nothing easier than putting out a bowl of potato chips when guests come over, and they’re always received with delight, despite how simple the gesture was.
11. Microfiber Cleaning Towels
Okay, these aren’t for the guests, but microfiber cleaning towels are great to have around when I’m cleaning up before someone drops by, or for tending to spilled drinks and crumbs on the table or counters. They’re soft enough to use on my wood table, plus they can be tossed right in the wash when I’m done.
Our friends at Walmart have you covered when it comes to quick and easy shopping—just visit their website to shop online to order via their app. Shop their signature Great Value, Marketside, and Great Value Our Promise brands for guaranteed high-quality fresh and frozen food, household and pantry staples, and everyday cleaning products at affordable prices. To streamline your shopping experience, check out all that Walmart has to offer here.
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