It never fails. It is always on your busiest day and when the house is in total disarray that you are unexpectedly volunteered to prepare dinner for some unexpected guests. Whether it’s your husband’s co-workers, the in-laws dropping by with short notice, or your son tells you at the last minute that a group of his buddies is coming over - how in the world are you going to get the house cleaned up in time? Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered!
It has happened to me more than once. My husband drops a bomb on me at the last minute or one of our kids forgets to let me know about something until just before that something is about to happen. This can be VERY frustrating. And if this has ever happened to you before, and I’m sure that it has, then I know that you share my pain. So, what do you do when you find out at the last minute that you have some unexpected dinner guests that will be arriving in a few hours? Here are a few suggestions:
- Create “No-Entry” zones. When time is short and guests are on their way, you have to choose your battles. Focus only on the areas that will be used and designate the other areas of the house as no-entry zones. Shut the doors to these rooms and don’t open them again until your guests have left. If necessary, store things in those rooms to help get rid of any visible clutter that may have built up over the past couple of days or week in the other areas. You can deal with that after the guests leave. Oh, and don’t forget to remind your kids in no uncertain terms that they absolutely MUST stay out of the no-entry zones until every guest has exited from your home. Then smile. Your secret is safe. No one will ever know.
- Spruce up the bathroom. If you have time, it would be best to do a thorough cleaning of the bathroom. However, if you’re literally expecting a car to pull in your driveway at any minute, a quick fresh up will due. Make sure the toilet and shower are clean, add some scented candles or air freshener, pull out some clean towels, and you’re good to go.
- Open the windows. This will allow air to circulate through the house to get rid of any odors. And it will make your house smell fresher than any scented candle ever could.
- Deal with any obvious stains and dust bunnies. Try to get up as many stains as possible. If there are stains in the carpet that probably aren’t going to come up, then try hiding them as best as you can. Maybe you could throw an accent rug down on the floor or you could move the furniture around just a tad bit. And for those dust bunnies, put a sock on your hand and use it as a dust buster to quickly get rid of that annoying dust.
- Focus on tackling eye level and high congregation areas. Most guests will congregate in the living room, foyer, and/or kitchen so it’s a good idea to make sure these areas are clean. Be sure to wipe off the stove and kitchen counters, sweep the foyer floor, and tidy up the living room area. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes for each of these areas and do as much cleaning as you can in this time frame. And don’t neglect shelves and other areas that are in eye level - as this is where people will naturally focus much of their attention to.
When unexpected guests are heading your way, you probably won’t have time to do a thorough house cleaning. But with these five tips, you can look like you did. It’s okay! You can breathe. Your secret is safe with me.