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Company Is Coming- 7 Quick Last Minute Fixes

Updated on October 30, 2013

Procrastinator's Guide to Last Minute Fixes When Company Comes

If your company is already driving up the driveway, you're probably not reading this. If you're part of the 1%, and have live-in help, you probably don't need this. If you're a planner-a-header or what most people call "organized," you'll shake your head and wonder why some of these emergencies exist in the first place! For whatever reason, I seem to have encountered these last minute glitches: I never seem to have enough silverware that matches; I'm invariably out of paper towels; things seem to either break or spill in the last five minutes that my company is to arrive; and on and on. If you're like me, these little last minute glitches are all too familiar, and you probably have your own handy tips. However, it's always great to get at least one new idea that might save the day, so after you read these few hints, please add your own inventive last minute solutions in the comment section below.


1. Spice it up

You boiled something over on the stove, burned noodles in the pan, or unwisely cooked fish! The smell of "whatever" has permeated every pore of your carpet, couch, and nostrils. What to do? QUICK! You probably have one little clove of garlic in the crisper. Wilted or not, throw that little gift of nature into a pan and saute it. If you're going for a less Italian smell, just put a cup or two of water into a pan, look in your kitchen cupboard, throw in the spices you love, and simmer. (I find cloves and cinnamon work great for me.) When all else fails, start a fresh pot of strong coffee, even if it's 9:00 at night. (Starbucks always smells wonderful whether you're a coffee aficionado or not.) Popping popcorn also works if you're just serving snacks and want to make everyone in a cheery mood. No time for any of that? Just spritz a cupboard door (not anything with glass like I've done) with a little Lemon Pledge or your favorite smelling dust spray and that fragrance will welcome your guests. (I like to put it on the front door so that lovely fragrance hits them the minute they walk in.) You don't even need to find the dusting cloth - just use a paper towel. And speaking of paper towels...


2. Skate-Cleaning

There is no greater expert on how to get housework done the quick and dirty way than children. When my mom had me "do the honors," during the summer when I was twelve, my best friend, Mary Lee and I would wax the floor (it was truly "back in the day") by pouring the floor wax on the floor, waiting until it was dry, and then putting on thick socks and "skating" back and forth to make it shiny. A modern day version of this technique is described in the article, "Company's Coming? Clean Your House in 15 Minutes." The process is simple. While you're working in the kitchen, throw down some damp paper towels, and shuffle along while you work. Don't try doing a Kristi Yamaguchi spin or you might end up in the emergency room.

Oh dear, you've just used up all your paper towels on the floor and see the spotted chrome on your frig. Now what?...


3. Miracle Coffee Filters

Let's say you used up your last paper towel and hear the cars pulling up to your drive way. You suddenly turn and notice that your chrome refrigerator looks like you have 50 children with greasy fingers all who tried to just get something in the refrigerator. Quick, grab a coffee filter, dampen with a little water, or even better, Windex, if it's handy, and voila, you're done. (I can't tell you the multiple ways I've used coffee filters during emergencies. I've grabbed a bunch to soak up Diet Coke; I've used them as doilies when bringing cookies to a friend, and on and on. (Don't use them for napkins, I did once when my in-laws were visiting and they never forgot it.)

BEFORE:  Cinnamon and basil leaves on floor ready to be vacuumed
BEFORE: Cinnamon and basil leaves on floor ready to be vacuumed | Source
AFTER:  No Harm to Carpet
AFTER: No Harm to Carpet | Source

4. Vacuum Cleaner Blues

Why would you be vacuuming now? It's all that last minute running back and forth. So you drag the Dirt Devil out of the closet, feeling blessed by technology that will swoop up your scraps in a second. As you start vacuuming, wafting up in the air is dusty-musty vacuum cleaner bag smell. Quick, run to the kitchen and throw some cloves or cinnamon on the floor and vacuum it up. (Probably not recommended by Imported Oriental rug dealers), but as you can see on a plain old cheap carpet as pictured, it works just fine. I've run to the garden instead of the kitchen at various points of my emergency smelly vacuum vaccuming and pinched off some rosemary or basil or lavendar leaves and thrown them on the carpet to vacuum. My favorite garden item to vacuum is the dried lavendar buds that are in the lovely laundry dryer bags you get at Trader Joe's. Just tear the package, throw the little lavendar dried flowers on the floor and the scent erases the tell-tale signs of the old vacuum cleaner bag. I've been known to sprinkle granular Tide on the floor and that works. If you're not brave of heart, just run in the kitchen for your favorite brand of dusting spray (I always have at least one spray of Lemon Pledge left in the can) and I spray the outside of the vacuum cleaner. That works like a lucky charm too. (Don't use Lucky Charms).

5. Throw in the Spoons

Company will be here in 5 minutes!.You wanted the table all nicely set, but glanced over to see you forgot the silverware. Quick, grab a pretty glass from the cupboard, swoop up any random order of knives and forks in the drawer, throw them in the lovely container (the one that's not chipped) and set it in the middle of the table and call it "chic". Just be sure the potato peeler didn't 'happen into' the random mix.


6. The company is driving up the driveway. No, let's say this time they're ringing the door bell. Your husband went to greet them while you decide that the dark brown tangled mess on top of your head should greet a comb. You start the 2-second primping phase, when, "WHAT?" The gray at the top of your head can't be combed over any which way. Quick, take your soft eye brow pencil and "color" the roots. Now you can run out and hug your 6 ft neighbor with confidence.

7. Rub-a-Dub-Dub

You hear cars in the drive-way (Not again!). No, let's say that by now your company is already coming up the sidewalk and you're waiting for the rolls to burn (I mean to brown). You look down at your velveteen blazer (remember it's not the real velvet of the Real Housewives of the OC since we the ones not in the 1% who have maids to do all this). So, there on the left shoulder of your J.C. Penney's blazer in plain sight is some dough or something that is clinging to you from your work in the kitchen. (Why didn't you wear your apron, June Cleaver?) So, you scrape off the goop, but now you have a white spot. Try taking one part of your blazer and rubbing it with the spotted part. Sometimes, especially if you're lucky enough to have fabric that is not exactly color-fast, the color with transfer to the white spot.


Whew! You're done with one minute to spare. Plop yourself down on the couch, close your eyes. Relax every part of your body. Rejoice at the blessing of having friends in the first place. "Ding". Now smile and go answer the doorbell.


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