Wouldn’t it be lovely if life went as planned? If an unexpected guest has you re-examining the condition of your home, you need a no-nonsense checklist to get everything in tip-top shape. Read on to see our expert advice for creating a welcoming environment for last-minute visitors, even if you haven’t cleaned in weeks!
1. Make an Entrance
The first thing people see when they arrive is your front porch or entryway, so spend a little extra time tidying these areas, sweeping, and even scrubbing – if needed. First impressions really do count. Put a few baskets near the door for catching random clutter, such as keys, hats, and those items that tend to congregate near doorways.
2. Throw in a Load (or Two)
Even if you don’t have time to finish an entire load of laundry or dishes, simply giving them a good start counts. One less load of clothes or plates hanging around can make a difference. Just remember (if your appliances are noisy) to pause the load once company arrives.
3. Clean top to Bottom
To avoid making extra work for yourself, start with the tippy-tops of rooms and work your way down. Hit the corner cobwebs, dust high shelves, fluff up throw pillows and then vacuum the floor. If you do it the other way around, you’ll be putting bookshelf dust on that freshly-vacuumed carpet! Do things in the right order to get it done in record time.
4. Allow “Living” Clutter
In an ideal world, we would have nothing on counters, the floor, or hanging about in the hallway. If you have children or pets, however, it may be an unrealistic goal. Take time to put away items that really don’t belong (like dirty laundry or drinking glasses) and leave a few of the more “real life” items that make a house a home. Children’s books can be neatly stacked or toys put into a basket, but don’t feel you need to hide how you live.
5. Add Fresh Flowers
Fresh-cut blossoms can show that you are really trying! Add a small vase with a sweetheart arrangement of roses or some fresh daisies from your yard to brighten a room and add color to your everyday décor. Guests will appreciate that you took the time – and it’s a very simple fix!
6. Banish Odors
A clean home means nothing if it smells. People living in a home can become “nose blind” over time, and may not even notice pet smells, musty odors, or last night’s fish fry. Candles are nice but can be overpowering. Instead, consider wiping down some wood surfaces with a pine-based cleaner. The resulting smell reminds people of growing up in a time when mothers cleaned daily!
7. Tidy Bathrooms
While you can block off some rooms (like that spare storage room you call an “office), the bathroom can’t usually be avoided. Gather up all your toiletries and clutter, as well as wipe down the counter, sink, and toilet. Give the toilet bowl a quick swish and hide away things in pretty baskets or under the kitchen sink. Get rid of any dirty laundry baskets and empty trash baskets, too.
8. Bake Something
Not only is having something easy in the oven a way to fill your home with pleasant smells, but it is nice to have nibbles for guests to enjoy. Try refrigerated rolls that you can pop in without prep work. Don’t forget to set your timer (nothing ruins the ambiance like burnt rolls.)
9. Enlist Help
Kids and spouses shouldn’t be left out of the action. Give them each a room to work on until guests arrive. Make it fun by playing some upbeat music!
10. Make Yourself Presentable
While your home should look tidy, don’t forget about you. Take a minute before guests arrive to change out of your cleaning clothes, straighten your hair and put on a smile. Remember, the experience is about friendships, not showing off. Do what you need to do to feel at ease with your guests!