I have a longstanding agreement with my friends from both in town and out of town. You’re welcome to come see me anytime, whether it’s short notice or if you schedule weeks in advance. Just come on. I want to see you.
I’m often tested on that, and people have come to my house in varying states of clean. For people that aren’t staying overnight, or if they give you very short notice, my top 5 things to clean when you’re in a hurry list is fab. It also works when certain cousins of mine call me at 10 at night saying, “Hey, we’re on our way to Florida and we’re tired, can we crash at your house? We’re in Bowling Green.” (Bowling Green is about an hour and a half from my house, stalkers.) Then I add “change sheets in the kid who gets kicked out of his bed’s room” to that list.
But usually I seem to have about 4-6 hours of notice when people are coming to spend the night. In that case, I have more time and can get it all done. Here’s how I do it:
First, make a plan. Decide what will be most important to the people who are coming. Consider allergies. Are they allergic to cats? If so, the most important part is pulling out all the furniture and getting all the cat hair vacuumed up. Is someone coming with a peanut allergy? In my house, this is a major consideration, as my husband is a manager at a restaurant with peanut shells thrown on the floor. All his work shoes are carefully cleaned and bagged and I drop a call to him at work to make sure he hoses off his shoes and doesn’t bring them inside. No allergies? Awesome, forge ahead with general cleaning.
Then, go to the store for things you need. Any extra food, cleaning supplies, whatever. I like to pick up a bouquet of flowers, if I can find them inexpensively. Oh, and I also usually pick up some Red Bull for when I get tired and need to power through. Yes, Dad, I know it’s bad for my kidneys. I don’t do it *that* often.
Then, come home and get to work. Go from most important to least important. With the exception of the bathroom, which I do in one fell swoop, I tend to move from room to room. I tend to work from top to bottom, so the floors are usually what’s done last. This is living a bit dangerously- sometimes I’ve had to warn people to mind the wet floors, but working from top to bottom ensures that the work flow is smooth and you don’t have to do things twice.
Don’t forget to enlist help. Even my youngest kid is involved in fetching and toting things back and forth for me. I tried to train the dog to wash dishes, but alas, no opposable thumbs.
So, that’s how I get ready for guests on short notice. What are your tricks and tips?