Once you have moved, you will probably want to invite guests over for dinner parties, backyard BBQs, or perhaps a more intimate type of housewarming, depending on your space. Knowing and planning to have company with a few days or weeks notice is one thing, unexpected visitors are a completely different matter. If you receive a last minute alert that someone will be stopping by soon, there are some quick fixes (cheats if you will), to make your house look visitor-worthy in a very short amount of time. Follow these guidelines to save face when you are not prepared to have company.
De-clutter the Common Areas- Concentrate on the living room, kitchen, and dining area, namely all the places your guests will first lay eyes on. Pick up children’s toys, errant shoes, scattered mail, and anything else that looks messy. If you don’t have time to put the items in their proper receptacles, throw them in a laundry basket to stash in a bedroom or closet, so you can deal with them later. Close the bedroom doors if they are not in proper viewing condition, or if you will be showing them, at least make the beds and pick up dirty clothes.
Wipe Down All Surfaces- Dust bookshelves, TV stands, dressers, tables, counter tops, and chairs. Use an all purpose cleaner in the kitchen and bathroom, giving the toilet, sink, and mirror a once-over if possible. Squeegee the shower doors or shut the shower curtain and pick up all towels off the bathroom floor.
Take Out the Trash- Empty the bathroom and kitchen trash and take them outside. Replace the bag and sprinkle baking soda or carpet powder in the bottom to help cover any offensive odors.
Clean Kitchen Sink- The appearance of a clean sink is truly impactful, especially if you happen to have a small kitchen. You can put dirty dishes in the dishwasher if you have one, but if not, try to get as many cleaned and put away as possible, or consider hiding the dirty ones in the oven until after your unexpected guests have gone.
Light Candles- Something about candlelight during the evening and the pleasing aroma of a scented candle instantly makes a place more comfortable and cozy. Multiple candles cast beautiful lighting after the sun sets, while also allowing potentially dirty areas to become less noticeable, and they also look nice during the day.
Vacuum/Sweep- IF you have time, go ahead and vacuum and/or sweep the floors. Otherwise, make sure to pick up by hand any large or noticeable items that might make floors appear unclean.
Above all, do not sweat the small stuff. Anyone who has ever moved before will understand the amount of time it takes to fully unpack, get settled, and feel comfortable in your new surroundings. Apologize if you must for boxes or chaos and disorder, but recognize that no one is perfect, so you do not need to stress out about a little clutter. Once your company has arrived, quit your cleaning and cut your losses, so you can properly enjoy spending time with your guests. After all, a pleasurable visit is much more memorable than a spotless home.
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