4 Steps to a Company-Ready Home

Domestic CEO reveals 4 simple things you can do in 30 minutes or less to make your home presentable for unexpected guests.

Amanda Thomas,
May 10, 2012
Episode #010

4 Steps to a Company-Ready Home

Recently a few of my friends and I got together for a picnic. All the kids played in the park, while the adults grilled the foods. All was going well until the wind picked up and the raindrops started to fall. I live close to the park, so hubby and I invited everyone over to our house. Knowing the current condition of our house wasn’t perfect, we ran home to get about 10 minutes of clean-up in before 10 adults and 6 kids invaded.

Whether it’s unpredictable weather that relocates a group BBQ, or an unpredictable relative who likes to drop by on a whim, sometimes we have a very short amount of time to get our homes to a condition that won’t scare our houseguests. That’s why I’ve put together these 4 Quick and Dirty Tips to getting your home presentable in a pinch. Keep them handy, and you will have a plan of attack to get your house company-ready in minimal time:

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1. Restrict Access

As the host or hostess, you get to decide how much of your home your guests can see. If you have little time to prepare, restrict your guests’ access to as few areas as possible. This will allow you to focus your clean-up efforts to a smaller section of your home. I recommend restricting your guests to the common areas, as well as no more than 1 or 2 bathrooms. You can close all the other doors to signal to your guests that they are not welcome in those areas.

It may be tempting to close all but the essential doors in your home, but unless you want your guests to start wondering what you are hiding, you may want to leave a couple of the semi-neat rooms open for viewing. Houseguests are naturally snoopy, so let them explore and poke their heads into the rooms that you approve of.

2. Let Cleaning Products do Their Jobs

Let your cleaning products put in the extra time when you don’t have it. Spray some toilet bowl cleaner in your toilet and let it soak while you clean up the other areas of the home. When you return 15 minutes later, the product will have done most of the hard work for you. Just swish and flush.

Lighting a candle early on will let your guests walk into a fresh-smelling house instead of greeting them with the musty scent of last night’s leftovers that you microwaved for breakfast. Light some candles in your bathrooms as well. Besides getting rid of any unpleasant smells, they’ll give the room a lovely glow – just make sure they’re high up enough to be out of reach of little hands.

3. Clear the Clutter

Before I give this next tip, I need to clearly state that this method is NOT a permanent solution for your clutter. This is a quick fix to make people think that you aren’t a total slob.

To clear the clutter quickly, grab a laundry basket walk through the areas that you are giving your guests access to. In each area, grab the items that don’t belong and put them in the basket. Then, store that basket in one of your closed-door rooms. Again, this is not a real fix for your home’s clutter. While it will work to temporarily make your place look better, if you don’t commit to emptying the laundry basket after your guests leave, this will actually cause a bigger clutter problem than you had before. Once your guests are out the door, make it a point to empty the basket and put everything in its real home pronto.

The one room you want to make sure to clear the clutter from is your kitchen. Without fail, your guests will occupy this room during their visit. If you have a sink full of dirty dishes, quickly get them loaded into your dishwasher. No dishwasher? Put them under the sink or in the oven. Just remember to take them out after your company leaves or you will have a very stinky mess on your hands. When the rainstorm forced 16 guests into our home, we had a number of pots and pans that were soaking in the sink. We quickly discovered that moving them to the stove gave the illusion that they were being used. Ideally we would have washed them, but since we didn’t have time, we tricked people into thinking they were doing a job, rather than just dirty dishes.

4. Do a Quick Surface Clean

Since people are coming to your home in a few minutes, this is not the time for a detailed, thorough cleaning. It’s time to clean the things you know they are going to see. If you are going to be sitting at your dining room table, quickly wipe down the table and chairs. Don’t forget the chair seats. If your chairs don’t get used often, the last thing you want your guests to see is their butts covered in dust.

Once the chairs are clean, sit down at your table for a few seconds. Look around and take note of which dirty surfaces you can see from that vantage point. Make a mental list, then quickly walk around with a rag or duster to clean just those areas. Keep in mind that a surface with an even layer of dust may not appear dirty to your guests, but if you take a swipe at the dust, you will need to clean the entire surface to get rid of your finger mark. For this reason, don’t do a “white glove” test unless you have the time to dust the entire surface.

Also, in the bathrooms where you are allowing guests, do a quick wipe of the mirror to get rid of major water spots. Then use your duster on the counter, and a damp rag to get rid of any goop in the sink, including toothpaste globs, whiskers, and any other things that can stick to the basin. Hopefully these are things that you clean out of your sink on a daily basis, but if not, do it for the sake of your friends. No one wants to see these things. Trust me.

Having unexpected visitors is a good test of how well you keep your home on a daily basis. If you find that 10-15 minutes isn’t enough time to make your place semi-presentable, check out some of my earlier tips on how to keep your house clean and organized all the time. That way, a sudden guest won’t create a last-minute panic, and you might not even have to clean a thing!

Have a question about anything in this episode? Or a suggestion for a future podcast? Send me an email at DomesticCEO@quickanddirtytips.com or post it on the Domestic CEO Facebook wall or on my Twitter feed.

I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.

Party image from Shutterstock

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