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How to Get Your Home Ready for Visitors in a Hurry

Updated on May 17, 2018
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Sadie teaches speaking and leadership skills to women who want to have a better relationship with others and with themselves.

Unexpected company is coming! And your house is a mess! Have no fear, you can still get your house into reasonable shape if you focus on the most important cleaning tasks.

Cleaning in a pinch for unexpected visitors

If you're having people over on short notice, whether as house guests or visitors, and don't have time to do a deep clean of your house, a recent article on housecleaning, suggested you focus of things that your guests will notice first before panicking about the rest of your home.

When you look around your house, what items do you think your visitors will notice first?

  • Visitors will notice how your house smells. You, on the other hand, are used to how your house smells and probably don't notice the smell of pets, garbage or exotic cooking in the same way your guests will. Before guests arrive, light some scented candle, use room sprays or simmer lemon and spices in water to freshen up any stale smells. Take out the trash even if the bins are not yet full. Give the bins a quick scrub and rinse and then put use lightly scented garbage bags. Clean your sink drains with baking soda and hot water to keep any funky smells at bay.
  • Get rid of clutter and disarray. Take some time to tidy up and straighten before your guests arrive. Declutter surfaces in the living room, front hallway and bathroom, and anywhere else your guests might spend time such as sitting at the kitchen table. Your guests will perceive your house as messy if they can't find a place to put their beverage down without having to move stuff aside. And that leads to the next point about cleaning up your home: beverages.
  • Make sure you have a variety of beverages to offer your guests. You don't have to have a cabinet full of expensive liquors or tea caddy full of imported teas. But you must have sparkling glasses and spotless cups to serve your guests. Even a simple glass of water can feel elegant when served in a shiny glass with ice and a lemon wedge.
  • Fresh flowers and plants make your home feel cared for. Get rid of dead dusty plants and replace them with vibrant potted plants and fragrant bouquets. A bowl of plump, not too ripe fruit on your dining room or kitchen table makes you home look fresh and hospitable.
  • Cleaning and tidying your bathroom is a must. Wipe down counters and fixtures, clean toilet and sweep and mop the floor. Make sure that you all have clean hand towels available for your guests and spare rolls of toilet paper on hand. Replace bar soap with a liquid soap dispenser---it's much more hygienic and tidy looking than a used bar of soap sitting on the edge of the sink.
  • Always provide a set of fresh towels and linens for house guests. Make sure your overnight guests have a clean bed to crash in at the end of the day.
  • Remove any dishes from the sink or counter tops. Brush crumbs and food particles off the counters and into the sink with a cloth dampened with warm water.

Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance?

— Phyllis Diller

You may not be able to get to all the items on the first half of this list let alone all the cleaning tasks below, but don't fret about it.

Trying to cram a whole week's worth of cleaning into one hour isn't reasonable.

  • Use a laundry basket to pick up miscellaneous items in the main living areas, then stash the basket in a bedroom closet until your guest leaves.
  • Close all doors to bedrooms and other rooms not intended for guests.
  • Close drawers, cupboards, closets and storage bins to make your home look sleek and clean.
  • Wipe fingerprints off appliances and glass tabletops.
  • If you don’t have time to take out the trash, at least tie up the top of the garbage bag to keep your trash out of sight and odors at bay.
  • Scoop the cat box.
  • Use a microfiber cloth and quickly dust the coffee table and other spots where guests will congregate.
  • Burn scented candles in the bathroom and kitchen
  • Open a window and let some fresh air in while you quickly tidy up.
  • Turn off any lights that aren’t essential. Why leave a light on in the bathroom if there’s a chance that your guest won’t even go in there when she visits.

Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy your unexpected visitors. Even if you don’t get to everything on this quick clean-up checklist, relax. Your guest (even your mother-in-law) has come to see you, not inspect your house!

Your grandmother has seen it all. Now she just wants to see you!

Your loved ones came to spend time with you. Even if you use all these tricks to make you house at least look clean, your grandma can probably see right through it. So just relax and enjoy your precious time being fully present with her.
Your loved ones came to spend time with you. Even if you use all these tricks to make you house at least look clean, your grandma can probably see right through it. So just relax and enjoy your precious time being fully present with her.

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?

— Erma Bombeck

© 2014 Sadie Holloway

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