So your home isn’t precisely company-ready when a good friend calls and asks if she can come over and chat. She says she needs your listening ear as well as your advice. She says she will be able to get there in twenty minutes. Instead of telling her it is not a good time, tell her, “Please do! I would love to see you”.
I am finding it much easier to be company-ready now that I have decluttered our condo and developed some excellent daily habits. It used to take me a whole lot longer to get my home company ready. I like thinking of myself now as just as important as company and worth keeping my place tidy just for my husband and me. I have a new mindset now.
I find it a good idea to have an empty drawer or two to stash clutter instantly. I have one under-bed storage container, a few baskets, several large shopping bags, a couple of collapsable laundry baskets hanging on my walls, lots of hooks and bins in handy places. I also have dust rags in every room. I have learned by experience it is always good to have lots of places to stash things temporarily. The key is don’t leave those collected things in there for long. Take the time to put the items away when your guest leaves.
The approximate time to do the following five steps is 20 minutes or less!
STEP ONE 5 minutes
Head for the bathroom first— this room can get germy and unattractive pretty quickly if you haven’t stayed on top of things. First, close the shower curtain – that can hide a multitude of sins. Next, give everything a quick swipe. I use wet wipes that I keep in a drawer— get the sink and counter areas and then the toilet and the area around the toilet. Get rid of the dirty towels hanging on the rods – replace them with clean towels. Take another wiping cloth and wipe off anything on the floor that may be of concern. There you now have the first room done!
STEP TWO 5 Minutes
Assuming your visit will be in the living room – do that room next. Clear all the horizontal surfaces. You don’t have time to put everything where it belongs, just grab a basket or bin and start putting everything in there. Store those baskets or containers in another room! Now see if anything needs to be picked up on the floor and get those up. Do a quick dusting of the apparent areas. Remember, you don’t have time to vacuum, and as long as you pick up the tiny bits, it will be fine.
STEP THREE 5 Minutes
Do the same thing for the kitchen — clear off the horizontal areas and do a quick wipe. Then put dishes under the sink in a bin. You can hide pots and pans in the oven if need be.
STEP FOUR – 2 Minutes
You will want to close the doors of rooms you don’t want guests to enter. Tell them what bathroom to use if they ask.
STEP FIVE 3 Minutes
Put on a little lipgloss and a pretty top if you want, then greet your guest at the door with a big smile. Do not tell her, “I am sorry my house is such a mess” — this is a bad thing to say for two reasons: if it looks pretty good, she will think it is not ok for her to be less than perfect. Second, it will make her feel uncomfortable about being there. Forgive yourself for being human. So what if it isn’t spotless and looking like the cover of Home Beautiful Magazine. Breathe and relax and enjoy your company. Being with her and providing a need is more important than trying to be “Miss Polly Perfect.”