One of a homemaker’s most dreaded events is the news that unexpected company is coming tomorrow and the home is a mess as well as in need of some definite cleaning. What’s to be done? Here are some ideas of where to start and some tips to get the job done faster.
Before tackling any cleaning, it is best to pick up clutter and straighten messy areas. If there is a lot of clutter, you can use baskets or boxes to put items in. Label which rooms the containers came from so returning items is not a confusing situation. Tuck the containers away in a closet, under the bed, or in some area away from where the company will be.
Look around to see if there are any glaring areas that need cleaning. If could be handprints on the living room wall, a torn rug in the hallway, children’s toys or large garden implements in the yard, jackets and outerwear thrown on furniture, too old fruit attracting fruit flies in the kitchen and so on. Handle these crisis areas first.
Then, when you have the most obvious areas taken care of, take some time to do a more thorough job in the most likely rooms the company will be in. These rooms include:
Living room—here you will want to dust and vacuum. You will also want to wipe the furniture with a damp cloth and straighten throw pillows and decorative blankets. Check to see if pictures are hung straight and living plants watered and looking healthy. Tile or wood floors net a wet mop and towel shine. Unless the stain on the carpet is excessively dark, it is best to leave it alone as it isn’t likely to be dry by the next day and would call attention to that area.
Bathroom— is as important as the living room. Be sure the toilet is clean inside and out. Clean the sink, tub, and shower stall. Wash the floor. Put out clean towels and a couple of small hand towels for guests. And, believe it or not, research has shown that many guests inspect the medicine cabinet. If there are any medications of a serious nature, it is best to put them out of sight somewhere else. Just before the company is due, check to be sure the bathroom is odor free and if not, use a lightly scented air freshener spray.
Dining room and kitchen—these rooms need an extra dose of cleaning only if the company will be staying for a meal. Again, dusting, vacuuming, and doing the floors will be needed. Make sure the kitchen sink and garbage disposal are clean as well as countertops, the stove top, and appliance surfaces. Check for odors here too. If appropriate, you can light a scented candle to burn while the company is visiting.
Bedrooms and other rooms are not usually a part of the drop-in visit so don’t need more than a cursory touch-up. However, should you be planning to give the company a tour of your home you will need to stay up a little later to do a more thorough cleaning of these areas as well.
So don’t despair, if company is coming unexpectedly, make a plan; keep on task; play music to cheer you on; enlist the help of family members whenever possible. And, as the saying goes, “this too shall pass.”