The feeling is all too familiar: your house is a mess, and you just learned that people are coming over. In order to prevent this from becoming a reoccurring and stressful situation, here are some simple plans to integrate into your life!
The first is a set of short-term plans for maximizing those last few minutes you have before your guests arrive. The second is a set of long-term plans to add into your daily, weekly and bi-weekly schedule to ensure that you can maintain an open door policy for any surprise guests that might stop by in the future.
Right Before Guests Arrive:
As a hostess, your main concern does not need to be about making everything seem perfect. The motivation here should be to create a comfortable and welcoming environment for your guest. With only a few minutes, think in broad strokes, don't be hyper critical of yourself or your home, and imagine what your guest will feel like when they enter your space.
When you have 5 minutes:
The most important thing here is that guests have a place to sit and hang out and that they aren't tripping over items on the floor. A great investment is a couple of large storage baskets, like this one
, this one
and this one
, to serve as the receptacle for all of the random toys, clothes and mail that are strewn over your front entryway and living room. These can also serve as accessorizing items! If you don’t want to purchase baskets, use a paper bag that you put away in a closet to hold these items until you can put them away in their proper place later.
When you have 10 minutes: After clearing the big items, do a quick check in the bathroom that your guests will use to make sure things are put away in their proper place and that there is toilet paper in the dispenser and a clean towel on the rack. Then use wipes to do a quick sweep of the counter.
When you have 15 minutes: After clearing the big items in the living space and checking the bathroom, walk around with a trash bag and throw away everything that needs to go in the garbage. Use a microfiber cloth or wet wipes to wipe down all the surfaces you can, including coffee tables, islands, and dining room tables. Use pet-hair removal if you have a pet, to remove pet hair from sofas and chairs.
Clean Your Home in Just a Few Minutes Every Day
But it doesn't always need to be a mad dash right before the guests arrive! Spending a few intentional minutes each day, week and bi-weekly can be what allows you to feel good about maintaining an open home. Here is a set of 5, 10 and 15 minute plans to make it easier for when guests arrive, as well as for deep cleaning sessions:
The everyday five minute plan: Take five minutes at the end of each day to survey your space with the intent to de-clutter. Clear the clutter on countertops and off the floor. Make sure you have designated a place for each thing so that this process is quick: a place for bills and mail, a bin or basket for toys, and a coat rack by the front door to hang coats and bags.
The weekly 10 minute plan: Once a week, focus on all of your surfaces. Dust off tops of wood furniture with a microfiber cloth. Dust off lights and accessories and clean pet hair off the furniture. Clean coffee tables, counters, and dining tables, as well as wiping down countertops in the kitchen and bathroom. Do a quick sanitizing clean of the toilet.
The bi-weekly 15 minute plan: Every other week, pay attention to your floors. Sweep or vacuum your floors and area rugs. Mop hardwood floors and make sure to clean your baseboards.
And beyond: Here are some more tips to make these plans run much more smoothly.
- Keep all your cleaning supplies in one place! This way they'll be easier to find and use when you need them. I even suggest that you get a set of cleaning supplies for the upstairs and downstairs of your home.
- Once a month, assess the way that you organize various things throughout your home and consider if improvements can be made.
- Have a bin in the house or in the garage that is designated as the donation box, and add things to it that are no longer used in your home as you go.
(Image credits: Small Cool 2012: Erin & James' Easy to Live In)