Nothing gets my adrenaline pumping through my veins faster than a phone call from a car-full of unexpected guests who are ten minutes away and want to “stop by and say a quick hello.” I am sure this has happened to many of you, probably more than once. Well, get ready, because the holiday season is here, so it is bound to happen again! But that doesn’t mean it has to stress you out to the point of not being able to enjoy your guests.
My somewhat relaxing day has now turned into a whirlwind. I look around me and realize that I’m not ready for guests! The house is a mess. The dishes are piled up in the sink and the dirty laundry is thrown on the floor into two huge piles. The counter space is full of homework papers, newspapers, and snacks from the children. All I can think of is that ten minutes from now my house will be full of guests, and there’s not a patch of clean floor for them to stand on. But I keep my cool and remember that it doesn’t take a whole day or even a whole hour to make my house look more presentable.
So, where do I start? What can I do in ten minutes that will make my house look warmer, cleaner, and more inviting? First, I take a few deep breaths — and I mean deep, DEEP, breaths — to get the oxygen in my body flowing enough so that it keeps my stress level to a minimum. Then, I grab a few different colored microfiber cloths and my homemade all-purpose cleaner (with peppermint essential oil — perfect for a holiday scent) and go!
I begin cleaning the entryway first, picking up all shoes, bags, coats, and whatever else is lying around causing clutter. Then I wipe down baseboards, pictures frames, and my lovely accent table. I spray a tiny amount of all-purpose cleaner on my artificial tree near the stairway and I move on. If there is no time to vacuum, I just grab my microfiber dust mop and quickly give the floors a good dusting. A broom or handheld vacuum works just as well.
On to the kitchen! Oh dear, the kitchen. But it’s not as insurmountable as it may seem. First, I load the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, just so they are out of the way. Next, using a different microfiber cloth, I quickly wipe down all the kitchen surfaces and the stove top. Then it is de-cluttering time. Time to pack up schoolwork and other papers and store them in the bedroom for now. I quickly sprinkle the inside of the trash can with baking soda to mask garbage smells, and I sweep up as many noticeable crumbs and dust bunnies as I can find from the floor.
If my lovely guests have not arrived yet, I start tidying up the living room, because this is probably the room I will be entertaining the guests in. I look around briefly and begin to wipe down anything that looks dusty, remembering to focus on the big things, like the coffee table, the lampshades, the couch and the television. No time to sweep or vacuum? That’s ok. I just pick up noticeable rolling dust-bunnies or lint by hand and throw them away.
Last but not least, tidy up the bathroom, and myself! With the remaining few minutes left, grab that great peppermint smelling all-purpose spray and wipe down the bathroom countertop. Clear away clutter. Wipe down mirror. Wipe down toilet seat and empty the bathroom trash can. I always make sure there is hand soap, a hand towel, and toilet paper accessible. While I am in the bathroom, I freshen myself up since the guests will be looking at me most of the time! I don’t want to look like I have just been cleaning for the last ten minutes, so I make sure my hair is brushed, I put on some deodorant or perfume, and I change my sweaty shirt!
At last I’m done; bring on the company! Let’s just hope they don’t decide on staying the night!
Have you ever had unexpected guests come at an inconvenient time? What was the first thing you made sure to clean?
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