When company's coming, you have a lot to do, between making trips to the store, preparing food and putting your house together. It may not be easy to remember if your guests are off gluten (or was it dairy?), but you can simplify your cleaning efforts. Focus only on four key spaces used to entertain guests. Hint: Once you're finished scrubbing, keep these areas off limits to kids, spouses and pets before company arrives.
Don't let muddy paw prints, discarded sports equipment or a messy pile of shoes greet your guests. Welcome visitors through a tidy entryway:
Put shoes, backpacks and equipment away.
Sweep or vacuum the area.
Shake out doormats.
Create space for your guests' coats in a closet or on hooks.
To amp up the welcoming vibe, place cut flowers or flickering candles in the entryway.
While it's OK to ask children guests to remove their shoes at the door, don't ask your adult visitors to do the same.
The bathroom should gleam:
Wipe spots off of the bathroom mirror.
Use a disinfecting cleaner to scrub the sink, toilet, light switches and doorknobs.
Sweep and mop the floor.
Empty the bathroom trash.
Put out clean hand towels and a new bar of soap.
To keep the bathroom smelling fresh, use a reed diffuser. If you have a small powder room, though, the scent can become overwhelming. In that case, simply spray the underside of a box of tissues with a room spray for a subtle scent.
Give your kids and husband 30 seconds to collect their things.
If you don't have time to sort, don't worry. Neatly stack miscellaneous papers, and put them somewhere where your guests won't go, such as your master bathroom.
Wipe down surfaces. Start with the lighting above your table, and work your way down using the appropriate cleanser for each surface. Include tabletops, chair backs and island barstools.
Finish up by sweeping and mopping.
Your guests probably will spend most of their time in your living room. The trick to a spotless living room is dusting. Because living room decor often has varying corners and surfaces, dust can collect that you may not notice. Here's how to tackle it all:
Dust coffee tables, lamps, picture frames, books and whatever else adorns your living space.
Wipe down glass surfaces.
Vacuum rugs or sweep hard floors. With the upholstery attachment, vacuum the seating.
Dim the lights to create a cozy atmosphere that also disguises stray pieces of dog fur and dust bunnies.