Have company coming? Not much time and lots to clean? Here are ten tips to get it all done!
Having a dinner party? Having company over for the weekend? Need to make snacks, meals and find a place to sleep everyone. Check out these ideas to make it easy on you and fun for your visitors.
1. Start in the room that is in need of the most work. If your office area is near where your guests will be – get in there first. File away old letters and documents. Put your important personal information out of sight so your guests cannot inadvertently see what your bills, bank accounts, pay stubs and medical information. Put these documents in a decorative box with a lid or basket, which you can easily access but looks neat and clean at a glance.
2. Move to the next room of importance, if you are having overnight guests then you should make you have enough comfortable sleeping arrangements for everyone. Check to make sure you have mattress pads, sheets, extra pillows and blankets. If you use these rooms for storage on a daily basis you will need to organize and return all the open boxes, models and craft projects to their storage boxes so they are not easily knocked over when visitors are trying to live ‘around’ your projects. Storing them in a closet and closing the door will help, yet be sure to allow enough room for guests to hang a dress or coats. This is also a good time to add some extra hospitality. Sit on the bed and look around. Does the space need an extra blanket or some magazines, an alarm clock, radio or perhaps add a basket of comfort items filled with things someone traveling may have forgotten like toothpaste, soap or even a bottle of water and a nonperishable snack.
3. So you don’t have enough furniture to sit or sleep everyone. Hey found a great discovery at your local big box retailer. They now make inflatable furniture! Chairs, loveseats, and beds. They come in a small box for storage and only take a few minutes to inflate with a pump. If it’s not exactly the color you need toss a throw and some pillows that coordinate with other furniture you have. You can also borrow or purchase a card table set with chairs.
4. Now that the hard work is complete you can move on to decorating. Take advantage of the season or the reason they are coming. Possibly a holiday, family reunion or a wedding. In the dining room using a nice neutral tablecloth and add some simple napkins with the color of the occasion. Plan your menu, make it easy on yourself or you might just compound your cleaning after the guests leave. Make the house inviting from the front porch into the event. Add a comfortable chair or bench or bistro table to the porch, use a flag, wreath or sign to set the stage. Once people enter your home make it clear what you’d like them to do. Keep their shoes on or take them off and put them on a mat, possibly place their coats on a chair, couch, in a bedroom or closet. If they are bringing snacks guide them to the location the snack should be set out for everyone to enjoy. And most importantly, make introductions even if people know each other they need a refresher on names and a common topic for a conversation starter.
5. The weather! What does that have to do with cleaning? Well if it is snowing you need to remember to shovel the walks and driveway making it a safe path for people to travel.
6. The kitchen seems to be a never ending place to clean. Some of my favorite tricks are…buy a nice set of party dishes that can be used for multiple occasions. Party sets are great, they come with a spot for a cup and are often one piece. They can also be washed and reused for other occasions.
7. Cooking seems like it should be a no brainer, but you’ll want to prepare things that don’t require you to spend time in the kitchen cleaning and re-cleaning and wiping and preparing. If you prepare your menu ahead of time you’ll have done all your cleaning before your guests arrive.
8. Dishes – hopefully you have a dishwasher. Be sure to wash all the prep dishes before guests arrive, put them away and leave an empty space so that as dirty dishes come into the kitchen it will only take you seconds to put them out of sight. This makes it look like keeping your kitchen is effortless. So what happens if you run out of time to clear the dishwasher or sink? Hide clean dishes in cabinets where they might not normally go and put dirty ones unclean even with baked on stuff in the dishwasher until the leave or you have time to go back and clean them like you normally would.
9. This idea that isn’t really about cleaning but just a helpful hint when planning for guests. Use food prepared meals and snacks that you have tried and tested. One time my husband and I were planning for company and I know that they really liked lasagna so I thought that would be what we’d serve, a one dish wonder. But wait! It takes lots of time, energy and expense to make it. So I decided to get a frozen one. But I decided to test several before serving it for our guests. I was so glad I did! They really didn’t come close to the flavor of homemade lasagna and we tossed that idea out and choose something that we’d all truly enjoy.
10. Relax! It is really not much fun to host if you are tired. So plan a half hour of 45 minute of rest into your day so you are not frazzled when your company arrives. After all you ARE the host.
I hope these ideas are helpful to your and help you quickly prepare to have a houseful of guests!