Make Your Home Guest-Ready In 7 Steps (In Less Than An Hour)

Do you have guests coming over in an hour?  Or maybe not until tomorrow, but you’ve got approximately 60 scrabbled together minutes of time that you can spend cleaning between now and then?  No worries!  We’ve got seven things you can do around your home to make it ready for company, without the obligatory “Sorry, I didn’t have time to clean!” from you (really, don’t say that—you won’t need to with these tips!).


Step #1: Clear the visible clutter. 

Focus on the rooms your guests will be in: probably the living area, kitchen, and bathroom.  Pick up anything cluttering surfaces or the floor—neatly stack papers and magazines, corral keys and stuff in their rightful spot, and relocate any dirty clothes, dishes, or other items to their rightful rooms.  Pay special attention to kitchen tables and counters, coffee tables, and entryway tables…these places tend to attract clutter that we become blind to after a few days.


Step #2: Hit the highlights in the bathroom.

Squirt cleaner in the toilet bowl, and then wipe down the mirror and vanity/sink area.  Close the shower curtain or door.  (Got an extra 30 seconds? Wipe down the outside of the toilet with a wet cloth.)  Sweep and empty the trash if needed, and then clean the toilet bowl. You may want to let the cleaner sit in the bowl for 10 minutes while you go on to steps 3 & 4, and then come back to scrub up.

Just before you wrap up the bathroom, make sure there’s plenty of toilet paper and hang a fresh hand towel or two.  Light a candle or spray some air freshener for an extra boost.


Step #3: Make the kitchen pretty.

The kitchen counters should be clear of clutter from Step 1.  Now, quickly wipe a wet cloth over the surfaces, making sure to get up any food particles or sticky spots.  This includes countertops, tabletops, and the outside of the fridge, microwave, and other appliances.  If it’s not already spotless, wipe up the stovetop, too.  Wash up any dirty dishes that are in the sink or put them in the dishwasher for later.

Quickly sweep or, if needed, mop your kitchen floor.  Even though this step takes some time, it’s worth it—a dirty kitchen floor is easily noticed by guests and makes things look dirtier than they are.  You don’t need to mop if there aren’t visible spots after sweeping, but if there are, take the extra time to quickly mop up, or at least spot clean the floor.

Take out the trash, if needed.


Step #4: Close off unused areas.

It’s totally acceptable to close off bedroom and bathroom doors to any areas your guests aren’t expected to be in.  If you can avoid using a bedroom for a makeshift coat closet, close up those doors tight and don’t worry about them!  If you leave bedroom doors open, make sure beds are made and closet doors and dresser drawers and neatly closed.


If this is as far as you get, you’ll be in good shape!  Don’t worry.  If you’ve still got some time, or you’re a less frequent cleaner, do the next few steps to get your home looking even better.


Step #5: Dust and sweep/vacuum.

You can skip this step if you are a regular cleaner and there’s no visible dust, but if you’re not as diligent about it, or if you have pets (aka pet hair everywhere), take a few minutes to quickly dust surfaces in the living area and entrance (top-to-bottom), and then sweep or vacuum the floors.


Step #6: Use aromatherapy and mood lighting.

This is the equivalent of using an Insta filter on your home…light a scented candle, spray some air freshener, or use some essential oils aromatherapy.  Turn off bright fluorescent lights, light some additional unscented candles if you have them, and use warm, inviting lamps.  Add a festive soundtrack and you’ve completely shifted the mood in your place.


Step #7: Hit the hidden spots.

If you’ve got some extra time, or you expect guests to be helping you out in the kitchen a lot, spend some time on the fridge and microwave.  Clean out the fridge, getting rid of any old food and wiping down shelves with a wet sponge.  Clean out the microwave by zapping a bowl of vinegar and water for 30 seconds, and then wiping down the inside of it.