It’s getting down to the wire! The house is all decked out for Christmas, I have almost all the presents wrapped, and the whole family knows what time to show up. But sadly, that’s not all there is to do when you have guests over. There is still some cleaning and last minute things to be done. Although I just typed the word “cleaning,” it doesn’t mean it has to take forever! Here is how I zip through the house right before people come over that tricks them into thinking we always keep the house clean.
Pick Up Clutter
A huge part of this is picking up all the items that have wandered away from where they belong and just got left out. This would include laptops, charge cords, blankets, slippers, random shoes by the front door, jackets over chairs, dog treat bags, pens, scissors, dog toys and whatever else you may have been using through the week that just builds up. My secret is already being a clutter freak. I tend pick up some stuff through out the week since it drives me crazy. But even when I don’t, it usually only takes me 15 to 20 minutes to get everything back to it’s home. When you know you have guests coming over later in the week, you can be proactive and put a little away each day so it doesn’t feel like a huge chore the day of.
Dust & Vacuum
Sorry. You can’t skip this step. Especially if you have a family member that will call out any dusty spot she sees immediately… Hopefully she doesn’t read this post and learn my secrets… I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a big “picker-upper,” not a “cleaner.” At first glance, my house probably looks pretty clean, but it’s dusty as hell and probably has enough dog hair balls floating around to create another dog. So when I say “dusting,” I mean I spend one minute brushing over surfaces without moving anything. I totally cheat! I like to run my duster over eye level surfaces quickly since these are the spots that would get noticed the fastest. The TV gets some special attention since this area is typically a central point if we watch a movie together. Then I finish up on the main areas people will be in. Once the dusting is done, I break out our trusty vacuum and do a quick sweep of house. I still do all the rooms in our house since it’s one level and people tend to wander. But I don’t do a deep clean of rugs or make sure I hit every inch of the hard wood. Typically, I just have to vacuum the heavy traffic areas a bit more and then head to those corners in my house that trap the dog hair. Every house has those corners… where everything builds up and you look at it the next day like “what the! I JUST vacuumed!” Part of what makes this step go quicker is having the right tools. Even though I’m not a big duster, I love the duster I have because it makes it so quick and easy. Same with my vacuum! I have a cordless vacuum, which was a HUGE game changer for me. It may sound silly, but not worrying about plugging and unplugging in each area you need to vacuum changes the whole way you think about vacuuming.
Quick Clean Bathrooms
My arch nemesis. Bathrooms… But again, it has to be done. And again, you can cheat! I will spritz down my whole sink with a general bathroom cleaner first and let it sit to break up any gunk. Next, I clean the toilet real good with cleaner and the toilet scrubber. This should only take a moment as long as you clean your toilet somewhat regularly. Now, it’s back to the sink! I wipe everything down, then rise and dry. Then just wipe down the mirror real quick and voila! Everything is shiny and probably smells better just because of the cleaner. I can do both my bathrooms in less than 10 minutes when I’m not cleaning the shower and tub. If someone is staying over night, we also clean the tub of course! To finish off the bathroom, put out an extra roll of toilet paper just in case, make sure you have enough hand soap, and hang a fresh towel for your guests to dry their hands. If you need the big guns… you can always light a candle in the room just before people arrive to help maintain a nice sent for everyone.
Four Legged Guest Prep
If your family is anything like mine, everyone has dogs that tag along everywhere! For our additional doggie guests, I like to prep a little. I go through the toy basket and remove the certain toys or bones I know would cause a fight if someone else got ahold of them. I also get out an additional water bowl so there is no crowding or cause for a fight there either. My in-law’s dog is much larger than ours and none of our dog beds are really big enough for him. We have no issue with him getting on the sofa (even though he takes up most of it), but we also get out a nice big dog blanket for him to relax on so he has options.
I like to have a candle somewhere in the main gathering area. It just helps set the mood, and helps hide any scents I’m nose blind to. You could give a quick spritz of your favorite scent through the house too! I use my own blend of distilled water, vodka, and essential oil (it’s like Febreez but without the harsh chemicals). Last but not least for me, have the wifi password handy and easily accessible outlets available. It never fails, even though everyone has been to our house multiple times with the same devices, I will be asked for the password every single time. Since my parents live in an RV and have really crappy wifi at their camp site, whenever they are at our house my Dad is sitting somewhere freeloading on our wifi updating allllll the apps on their devices. Sometimes to do an update, he will have to plug in a device. Even though I doubt you have the same parent situation like mine, you should still have an outlet open for the inevitable low battery. And maybe an extra charge cord or two handy if you’ve got them.
Be Kind To Yourself
Possibly the most important step! To be honest, I’m still working on this myself. Yes, you want your home to seem perfect for your guests. But sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in a day, or week… or month. Especially around the holidays when most people have so many little things on their to-do lists, extra get togethers they are attending, and cookies to bake. So even though it’s a nice touch to have your home be perfect, be realistic with yourself on what you have time for and what’s really important. All my tips are short cuts for a reason! Don’t stress yourself out over the smallest things. Remember that your people are there to spend time with you. I don’t think a little dust is going to dampen anyone’s spirit, or make the jokes any less funny, or change how thoughtful a certain gift is… and you can just tell your Mom she is more than welcome to come over and dust anytime if she brings it up 😉
Last modified: December 18, 2017