Someone calls you up and tells you they’re in the neighborhood. What do you do? You don’t want to turn them away. At the same time, your home is a mess. Put your super-mom cape on and get ready to clean up and prepare for guests in 15 minutes or less!
Here are a few ways to get the house in order so that you’re ready to entertain at a moment’s notice.
Do A Quick Vacuum
First things first – do a quick vacuum. Any area rugs should be cleaned up as quickly as possible, and run the vacuum in high-traffic areas or anywhere you would normally expect your guest to be while he or she is there.
Don’t worry about the bedroom or rooms that are “private” in the house. Basically, you just want to make living and entertaining areas presentable. Having constant trouble with your vacuum? A lot of people do, which is why they don’t bother doing a quick cleanup.
If you do happen to get a lot of “pop-ins,” what you might want to consider is getting a new vacuum. Ask yourself, “what is the best vacuum cleaner?” Answer: the one that makes cleaning up easy! For me, that happens to be my Dyson Animal Upright Vacuum Cleaner.
Ditch the bags, and go for a canister style that’s easy to empty. If you want a separate vacuum for in-between cleaning, you could also just buy yourself a small capacity vacuum.
What if you have hard wood floors? Get a Swiffer, or something similar. A Shark steam mop would also be a good idea.
Clean The Bathroom
When guests come over, you don’t want a dirty bathroom – yuck. Make sure it’s cleaned up and looking neat. You might even want to go ahead and clean the toilet bowl and bleach it. Having a guest bathroom is ideal but, if you don’t have one, you’ll want to make sure that you do an extra-good job cleaning up your primary bathroom.
Having bleach tabs in the holding tank will do a lot to reduce the need for constant cleaning. You may also want to make sure that you have a can of Febreze air freshener in there too.
Put away toothbrushes, facial creams and other personal items out of view. Make sure there is an ample amount of toilet paper on the roll and put out a fresh hand towel.
Fill the soap or make sure there’s a fresh bar out if yours is looking a little worn down. I always keep a basket of hotel soaps in the bathroom closet for this type of occasion.
Have Simple Foods Handy
Having some simple and easy to prepare foods on hand is important if you want to be a good host. If you don’t have a lot of time to prepare for your unexpected company, simple snacks are the way to go.
Try to have bread and lunch meats or tuna handy so you can make sandwiches. Already prepared dips like baba ganoush hummus, cheese dip, or salsa are always a good idea. You’ll also want to make sure you have tortilla chips on hand as well.
Guacamole can be a good idea but even though it’s simple to make, avocados are hard to keep fresh and go from too hard to gone by in less than 48 hours. A jar of queso cheese dip is probably a better idea and easy to keep on hand at all times.
Other snack foods you could consider are crackers and cheese, a simple veggie tray (but again, it’s perishable and not always easy to keep the supplies on hand), or just some tea and coffee.
Check out The Fashionable Plate for easy recipe ideas if you have time to prepare an appetizer or a baked good like cookies.
Go around the house with an empty box or laundry basket and quickly pick up trash, dirty clothes, and anything that’s out of place and can’t be put away quickly. You can throw the box in the basement or a closet and deal with the items later!
Quickly check the walls and floors to be sure there are no weird sticky or greasy marks left by your kids.
Dim the lights or lower shades in rooms that are really bright to hide dust if you don’t have time to go through the room with your Swiffer duster. If you won’t be using a particular room, close it off, if you can.
Tidy up your hair, throw on a fresh shirt and put on a little perfume. You can even set out some magazines if you have them, fluff the pillows on the couch and light a candle while you wait.
When the doorbell rings, you’ll feel confident knowing that you have everything under control, and that you can prepare for the unexpected. Your friends will also appreciate the effort you put in to entertaining them on such short notice!