One of the best parts about getting older is that the “drop by” is rarely done. I can’t remember the last time I drove near a friend’s house and thought, “oh, I’ll just knock on their door and see if they’re home”. Although in writing this, I realize that it most likely has more to do with cell phones rather than age. But I do think that age is still a factor as I’m sure, women especially know that the thought of someone just showing up on your own doorstep unannounced fills you with such dread that you would never do that to someone. So let’s all take a moment to be grateful for both wisdom with age and technology.
However…there IS often a good reason for the “I’ll be there in 10 minutes” text resulting in a semi drop by visit. So this may be the downside to cell phones, we may have lost the no-notice visit, but where visits used to be more planned, now the idea that you’re already out and about so you might as well stop on your way home visit exists. The good part about that is that it usually gives you at least 10 minutes to pull yourself and/or your house together really quickly.
Keep in mind that sometimes, these visits are from your loved ones. Your near and dear, they’ve seen it all, there is no need to tidy for them type people. Those are not the people who you are going to sprint for. Not because you don’t love them, but because really, they don’t care. You would in turn, not care if they did not tidy up for you, so no worries. Maybe brush your teeth if you know they’ll be near your face otherwise, meh. What I’m talking about is the stuff you do when your colleague is coming by with some papers to sign, or your kid’s new friend’s mom is dropping by with a favorite toy that was left in their car. Perhaps your in-laws are in the area and want to say hi. In my case, it’s usually a client who is coming to the studio to shop for jewelry, so some level of decorum is expected.
I’ll start with the 10-minute deadline, and then move onto a few things to add on if you have extra minutes or if they’re late or something. Ideally, you have a home where most of the things on this list are always done, but we have all have those days when they are not. If you have one thing that has to be done, be thankful that you instead have a spare moment to brush your hair or change out of your jammies and into a pair of jeans. Or put on a bra or something. Hmmm, I might do a post on that too. Until then, let’s get you ready for that semi drop by!
How To Get You House Guest-Ready in 10 Minutes
1. Close doors of any room you just can’t even deal with.
Bed not made? Shut the door; Laundry room a disaster? Shut the door; Kids room a nightmare; shut the door. Basically, you want to have as few rooms as possible visible to your guest that you have to tidy up.
2. Get all the trash out of the room/rooms.
It’s amazing how much garbage can accumulate in living spaces. Grab a garbage bag and toss in the newspapers, empty la croix cans (my husband leaves them everywhere), junk mail, tissues (my dogs love to carry them around and leave them on all over the place), and any big dust/leaf/whatever off the floor. Basically, you want to do this at a quick jog. Empty the wastebaskets in the rooms guests will be into the bag and stick it in the garage/outside the back door/just get it out of the house. While you’re at it, if your kitchen garbage smells, that should go too.
3. Shove all clutter in a bag, basket or box and put it behind a closed door.
I’m serious. You will need to deal with what’s in the basket later, just grab everything that shouldn’t be there and remove it as fast as you can. Random socks, toys, books, blankets, whatever looks sloppy needs to be out of there. Make sure all dirty dishes are hidden too. You’re still jogging through all of this.
4. Grab a sponge or towel and wipe down any sticky/dirty surface in the rooms the guest will be.
Think kitchen counters, bathroom sink, etc. You’re not trying to really clean anything, just avoiding grossing out your company.
5. Light a scented candle or spray room spray, especially if you have pets.
6. In the final seconds, run around the room and fluff couch pillows, straighten furniture, tuck in chairs, straighten anything askew.
This is basically the equivalent of making sure you don’t have lipstick on your teeth and your pants are zippered. (Maybe do that too)
Your house is now presentable for last-minute company, yay!
If you have a few extra minutes:
This is not the type of vacuuming where you’re moving furniture and getting underthings, but rather a quick pick up of dog hair or dust bunnies.
If you have rooms with a great deal of natural sunlight, the dust can look a bit more obvious on tabletops that have not seen a duster for a bit. Grab a microfiber cloth or a feather duster and go to town as fast as you can.
3. Clean the bathroom.
No one has ever walked into a freshly cleaned bathroom and wished it was dirty.
4. Make the bed.
If you can see the bed from where you’ll be with your guests or want to give your guest a house tour, pulling up a blanket and fluffing the pillows can make a world of difference.
5. Clean the pet hair off of seating areas.
A quick vacuum, roller or blanket spreading can make a difference (I always forget to do this and feeling incredibly guilty when guests sit on the dog hair covered couch).
6. Wipe down mirrors.
If you have mirrors in living areas, a quick wiping down of them will make the light sparkle better and everything look cleaner.
Whew, you did it! Pat yourself on the back and go offer your guests some coffee!