So, I am sure that this topic is very relevant to all of us, because we have all had it happen at some time or another (probably multiple times). It just happened to me yesterday, when my sweet husband called and said, “Hey, my boss, his wife and I are headed over for lunch. Leaving the office now, be there in about 10.” Now, of course I said that would be fine, but as soon as I hung up the phone, panic set in and I started rushing around cleaning. While my husband’s boss and his wife are very easygoing people, and probably wouldn’t think twice about seeing some messiness in the house of a toddler, I like to put my best foot forward whenever possible. And while I don’t claim to be an expert on this by any means, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks, mostly from my wonderful Mom, who was always welcoming company into our house and knew how to spruce up quickly.
How To Get Your House Company-Ready In 10 Minutes:
0-1:00 – Distract the little one
I gave my toddler an empty mini muffin pan and some cheerios, and that entertained him for about half the time that I was cleaning. If you have older kids, they can definitely help you out as well.
1:00 – 3:00 – Tidy the bathroom
If your company is staying for any length longer than 15 minutes, odds are that they will probably use the bathroom. So I spend a few minutes here first. The quick cleaning wipes like clorox makes are fantastic here – I use one to wipe down the toilet, one to wipe down the sink, and another one if there are any additional messes. Replace the toilet paper roll, or make sure there is an extra roll handy, and replace the hand towel. If there is laundry on the floor or towels, put those where they need to go. I have a small apartment, so I can get from one room to another quickly, but if you live in a bigger house, carry around a laundry basket so you can toss things in as you go. Also, if you have a bigger house, just clean the guest bathroom or whichever bathroom company is most likely to use.
3:00 – 5:00 – Clear off the sitting spaces
Couches, chairs, dining room table, wherever they are most likely to sit. Fluff the couch pillows, arrange the throws, and hide any small toys. Ottomans with extra storage, or large baskets are great for hiding clutter. If you have a large basket, simply toss the toys in and throw a few folded throws or blankets on top, and it will hide it like a charm. Larger toys can either go in your child’s room, or just put them next to a large piece of furniture, like a couch, to sort of hide it from view. My toddler will pull these out first to show off, so I don’t really bother hiding them.
5:00 – 7:00 – Floors
If you have time to vacuum, great. But if not, a quick sweep by the entryway and kitchen is really all that you need. This is about the time that my toddler decided that the cheerios game wasn’t fun anymore, so he pushed his pushcar around and “helped” me.
7:00 – 8:00 – Clear off surfaces
Any obvious surface, like a dining room table or kitchen counter. If you don’t have time to put things where they go, a trick I have is to grab a cloth shopping bag and toss whatever loose papers or mail you have lying around (how does that stuff accumulate so fast anyway?) into the bag and put the bag in the closet. Just don’t forget to empty the bag later. 😉
8:00 – 9:00 – The kitchen
Now, here is somewhere that I don’t spend a lot of time, because kitchens just look a little messy anyway, in my opinion. But do try to toss whatever dirty dishes are in the dishwasher to keep your sink clean-looking. A random tip I have heard from someone is that if you don’t have a dishwasher or somewhere to put your dirty dishes, yet you don’t want them out, grab a tub and put them in your oven. I’ve never had to employ that trick, but if you do, just remember that they are in there before you turn your oven on! 😉 This is another place where the clorox-type wipes are great for wiping down counters, the sink and the stovetop quickly.
9:00 – 10:00 – Hostessy stuff
I like to grab some febreeze or light a candle. It just gives a nice touch and makes me feel better about my house. If you don’t have a kitchen centerpiece, putting some fruit in a nice bowl doesn’t take much time, and it makes your table look nice and put-together. Really, whatever it is that you like to do to put the finishing touches on your house.
So there it is! I hope that it helped you guys out. If you have any suggestions or tips on how you get your house ready for company, I’d love to hear them!