Completely forgot you were hosting book club? Friends heading over for an impromptu Netflix binge sesh? Mom or dad “just stopping by” to say hello? Not having your place ready for guests happens to everyone (including your guests), so don’t stress out. Of course, we hope that our dear friends and family won’t judge, but when guests are at the door and your place could use another few hours of cleaning, just focus on the following.
Do you need to clean or just straighten up?
You might only have time to tackle one thing — either straightening up your place or cleaning it. If your pad is overrun with clutter, gather up as much as you can and shove it in another room or closet. If you think that quickly wiping down surfaces or sweeping up the floor is what your home needs, then grab your all-purpose spray and paper towels. You might not have time to do a deep dive so prioritize and move fast.
Only clean the rooms you need.
Your guests probably won’t be roaming around your entire house and will likely just hang out in one or two rooms. Focus on those areas only and close the doors to the others. If you live in a studio or an open-plan space, quickly prioritize what to clean. If you need your sofa and coffee table, make sure those are accessible. If everyone always gathers in your kitchen, focus on that. Don’t forget the bathroom.
Get rid of weird smells.
The nose doesn’t lie. If someone’s house smells funky, it usually indicates that something is awry. Mold, mildew, dirty laundry, smelly shoes, pets or unwashed dishes can all contribute to a smelly home. Because our noses get used to our own smells, it’s a good idea to be on the safe side and give your home a quick scent overhaul. If you know where the smell is coming from, get rid of it as best you can. To quickly add a nicer scent to your home you can light a scented candle or spray perfume or hairspray (do NOT do all of these at the same time or your next guests will be the fire department). You can even turn to food to rescue your home: try chopping onions, garlic, rosemary or ginger for a savory scent.
Distract guests with food and drink.
When guests arrive and you really, really didn’t have time to straighten up, distract them with food and drink. Your guests will think you are being extra polite. What they don’t know is that popping into the kitchen for beverages gives you another minute or two to put dirty dishes in the sink or throw things in the trash. If your style is more of a “help yourself” type of party, invite your guests to get what they want and use that time to quickly straighten up the areas outside of the kitchen.
Excuse yourself to the ladies room.
Once your guests have settled in, steal a moment and head to the bathroom. Do whatever cleaning tasks you can to make the bathroom presentable. Attack surfaces and smells: Wipe down the sink, wipe down the toilet and light a match (or a candle). You can make life easier by always keeping a small kit of cleaning supplies in the bathroom for quick cleanups.
Give your guests a job to do.
You know your guests best but it’s not a bad idea to give someone a task to do. Good friends should ask how they can help so be ready with an answer. Ask them to put out the food, serve drinks or rearrange furniture. Let your guests take care of the easy tasks while you quickly put your personal messes away and out of sight.
Make sure you are ready.
If the doorbell has rung and guests are on their way up to your pad, do a quick once-over of yourself. This may sound old-fashioned but if you look sloppy AND your place looks sloppy, you’ll feel even worse about the situation. If sprucing yourself up means applying lipstick, quickly changing clothes or giving yourself a spritz of perfume – you’ll at least be able to distract your guests’ eyes from your untidy space.
Do you have any last minute cleaning tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below!