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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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    • Billie Kelpin profile imageAUTHOR

      Billie Kelpin 

      4 years ago from Newport Beach

      Kylyssa, That's a GREAT idea! Tea doesn't set well with me, but I keep it in the house anyway. I remember, now that you mention tea, how I used to brew Constant Comment orange clove tea (or whatever it was called) and it always smelled wonderful. I'm going to try this right now with some tea in the cupboard 'cuz I'm burning a candle and it's getting too much. Maybe the herbal tea will evoke some good writing brain cells. (I hope you have a hub on the origin of your lovely name).

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 

      4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      Great tips delightfully delivered! When company is coming over I make a cup of fragrant herbal tea and boil it ridiculously long in the microwave. It makes my apartment smell like herbal tea and it steams the inside of my microwave so all it takes is a wipe with a towel to get it sparkling inside. Then I drink the tea and hopefully receive its calming benefits before my guests arrive.

    • Billie Kelpin profile imageAUTHOR

      Billie Kelpin 

      4 years ago from Newport Beach

      torrilynn Thank you for your comment. It makes me smile because with normally organized people, "it shouldn't take too long." I missed that gene for a "well-run" life when the gene-pool was handing them out and I'm usually (as of right now, today) in a total mess. (And here I am checking in on hubpages!) It's a terrible way to live. Well, let's call it "interesting". Thanks so much for this practical advice. Now if I could just discipline myself enough to take it :)

    • torrilynn profile image


      4 years ago

      I always find that the best way to clean up is to pick up the little things do a little vacuuming and cleaning. it shouldn't take too long. overall, nice hub. thanks.

    • Billie Kelpin profile imageAUTHOR

      Billie Kelpin 

      4 years ago from Newport Beach

      Ah... great idea with the paper tissue within the housing. I'm going to give that a try, Ebonny. Thank you so much for your comment and all the way from the UK to CA - it continues to amaze me! (PS, I've had my whole children's ebook illustrated without ever meething the artist from the UK in person (Julie Parker). Ta for the lovely comment, cheerio, and all that sort of thing (if that's correct :) !

    • Ebonny profile image


      4 years ago from UK

      This article is brilliant - witty and practical. To avoid a musty vacuum cleaner smell I spray a paper tissue with perfume and place the tissue withing the vacuum cleaner housing (e.g. place it around or beside the dust bag within the cleaner). It works.

      Voted up etc.

    • Billie Kelpin profile imageAUTHOR

      Billie Kelpin 

      5 years ago from Newport Beach

      Adept2012, Thanks. I actually do this stuff! I'm always behind :)

    • Adept2012 profile image

      Adebayo Adeolu Ibrahim 

      5 years ago

      What a nice article! Great ideas, thanks for sharing this

    • Billie Kelpin profile imageAUTHOR

      Billie Kelpin 

      5 years ago from Newport Beach

      some of us more than the in ME! Thanks so much mywikistep (I'll have to check our the origin of your name on hubpages :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Very useful Billie, we have all been on similar situations like this!

    • Billie Kelpin profile imageAUTHOR

      Billie Kelpin 

      5 years ago from Newport Beach

      IslandBites, Thanks so much. Just a fun kind-of hub. Loved your comment this morning on the question asked. In process of moving so I'll check your hubs in the hopefully "near" future. Cheers.

    • IslandBites profile image


      5 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Great hub! Excellent tips.

    • Billie Kelpin profile imageAUTHOR

      Billie Kelpin 

      5 years ago from Newport Beach

      Au fait. Thank you so much! How nice of you to share. I love the vacuum cleaner tactic - I like your style :)

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      5 years ago from North Texas

      I like the laundry detergent crystals on the carpet and the cleaner on the front door for improving the smell. One thing that can be helpful if you've let the tidying up go for a while and you want to be ready in case someone drops in is to get your vacuum cleaner out and put it in a prominent place where it will be out of the way yet highly visible. When your guest comes in you can say you were just about to start cleaning up when they arrived.

      Very funny. Enjoyed the read. Voted up, useful, funny, and will share with my followers and pin on my "Household Hints & Tips" board.

    • Billie Kelpin profile imageAUTHOR

      Billie Kelpin 

      5 years ago from Newport Beach

      Midget38, Don't fall on your little kaboom, though, when skate cleaning:)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      Skate cleaning sounds cool, Billie! Thanks for sharing!

    • Billie Kelpin profile imageAUTHOR

      Billie Kelpin 

      5 years ago from Newport Beach

      Christy, just be careful. It IS fun! Thanks for stopping by!

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm going to have to try the skate-cleaning technique!! Sounds fun and efficient :)

    • Billie Kelpin profile imageAUTHOR

      Billie Kelpin 

      6 years ago from Newport Beach

      Ginger, I love your light-heartedness. Your articles reflect your delightful personality. I love your the voice you use in your hubs. Cheers, Billie. PS, Be careful with the spice/herb on the floor. My carpet doesn't spot, but a more expensive one might :)

    • ExpectGreatThings profile image


      6 years ago from Illinois

      These were great! I admit to using Spice It Up often. I didn't realize the vacuum-a-spice/herb on the floor could be done. You have some great tricks in here! -Ginger


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