Have you ever received that phone call telling you that company will be coming? Or perhaps the day swirled out of control, and now you only have a short window to get the house tidied up before everyone starts showing up? No one wants their house in shambles when guests arrive, so now the stress meter is starting to rise. Stressful times call for a strategic plan. Read on for this ingenious plan to get the house tidy and save time and stress.

What you will need:

  • Several laundry or storage baskets
  • Household cleaning sprays and soft cloths
  • Candles for decoration
  • Air fresheners (candles, sprays etc.)

Put the baskets, once full, hidden away in another room in the house until the guests have gone home.

The Living Room/Entertainment Room. Spend about 2 minutes here.

The main areas where you spend your time is where your guests will spend most of their time, too. Unfortunately, this is usually the messiest room in the house as well. We will start here. To get this mess cleaned up, you will need to multi-task. While vacuuming or sweeping the floors, pick up items from the room and put them in their proper place. The next step is to get up all the clutter. The toys, books, throws, pillows, etc. Pick up any dishes or food and run them over to the kitchen. Wipe down all the surfaces in the room with the appropriate sprays. Spray air freshener or light candles to freshen up the air.

The Dining Room. Spend about a minute here.

Dining-room-preparation

Run a broom or vacuum cleaner over the floors. Grab all of the clutter and toss it in a basket for now. Run dirty dishes or food to the kitchen. Wipe the table top and put down a runner or some other decoration along with some lighted candles. Put out clean cushions or leave the chairs bare. Don’t worry about food and table settings right now, you can bring that out as your guests are arriving.

Hallway and Bathroom/Toilet. Spend about 2 minutes here.

clean-bathroom-sink-hallway

These areas will be well used by your guests just as the entertaining areas, so you will need more time here. Hallways are cluttered with shoes and other things that are shed when you come into the house. Call out for the family to come and get their belongings. If anything is left; put all of this clutter in a basket until later. This will leave room so that your guests will have room for their belongings. Make some room in the closet whether you throw a pile of the clothing into a basket or in one of the bedrooms. If not too full, just push them aside just make sure there is an area cleared. Making this room will have your guests’ belongings in a central place. This will save you from running back and forth as your guests leave. Scoot over to the bathroom. Move the bathroom goods into a small basket and move the basket to a cupboard. If the tub is dirty, run some water and soap to sit while you do the rest of the room. The same for the toilet; spray some gel cleaner and leave the cleaner in the toilet. Take the dirty clothes and wet towels out of the room and hang fresh dry towels. Wipe down the exterior of the tub and the toilet. Then rinse the inside of the tub then dry with a soft cloth. Then lightly scrub the inside of the toilet. Flush. Put out two rolls of toilet paper and a spray freshener where your guests can get to them.

Bathrooms can be tough but not impossible. Learn more in REAL SIMPLE.

Kitchen This area will need about 3 minutes.

Remember, you are just tidying up, not doing a full cleaning. It is easy to spend hours in a kitchen, but this is not the time for that. Unless your guests will be gathering in the kitchen, don’t worry so much about a deep clean cleaning. Put the effort in the countertops and stovetops. Throw out any wrappers, food and rubbish lying around. If you don’t have a dishwasher, run a sink full of water and soap to soak the dishes while you are working around the kitchen. If you have a dishwasher, store the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. You can add the entertaining dishes later and run the dishwasher then. Hide all of the books, papers, mail in a plastic bag. Put that bag in one of the drawers until after the guests have gone home. Wipe off the counters, stovetop and table now. Don’t forget that sink full of dishes. Dry the dishes and put them away. Sweep up the floor and clean up any spots on the floor. Don’t forget the microwave.

Learn more tips and tricks, visit housekeeping on about.

Outside. Two minutes should cover this area

If you are not going to entertain outside, it may not take so long out here. Pick up any debris and yard tools and put them away. If there is a porch, sweep off any leaves and dust on tables. Don’t worry about the backyard if no one will be out there. If entertaining outside, pick up the garden tools like the lawnmower, shovels, etc. and store them where they belong. If you will be using the veranda or deck, sweep off any leaves or debris. Dust off the tables to make ready for refreshments and table setting. Candles would be good out here, also. As you go along light candles, set out the decorations, and lay out table settings: plates, napkins and such. Throw all of the baskets into one of the other rooms. Don’t get carried away, most of your guests will not be using the bedrooms or second bath. There is no need to focus energy and time on these areas so that you have time to get the food made and the drinks ready. If you were caught off guard, you can use any time left to freshen up and change clothes. Most importantly, enjoy your time with your guests. Keep your focus on entertaining.

Want to know more? Visit, the kitchn, for more information.

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