Get You House Guest Ready In Under 10 Minutes

One of the best parts about getting older is that the “drop by” is rarely done. I can’t remember the last time I drove near a friends house and thought, “oh, I’ll just knock on their door and see if they’re home”. Although in writing this, I realize that it most likely has more to do with cell phones rather than age. But I do think that age is still a factor as I’m sure, women especially know that the thought of someone just showing up on your own doorstep unannounced fills you with such dread that you would never do that to someone. So let’s all take a moment to be grateful for both wisdom with age and technology.

However…there IS often good reason for the “I’ll be there in 10 minutes” text resulting in a semi drop by visit. So this may be the down side to cell phones, we may have lost the no notice visit, but where visits used to be more planned, now the idea that you’re already out and about so you might as well stop on your way home visit exists. The good part about that is that it usually gives you at least 10 minutes to pull yourself and/or your house together really quickly. The bad news is that 10 minutes is very little time.

Keep in mid that sometimes, these visits are from your loved ones. Your near and dear, they’re seen it all, there is no need to tidy for them type people. Those are not the people who you are going to sprint for. Not because you don’t love them, but because really, they don’t care. You would in turn, not care if they did not tidy up for you, so no worries. Maybe brush your teeth if you know they’ll be near your face otherwise, meh. What I’m talking about is the stuff you do when your colleague is coming by with some papers to sign, or your kids new friends mom is dropping by with a favorite toy that was left in their car. Perhaps your in laws are in the area and want to say hi. In my case, it’s usually a client who is coming to the studio to shop for jewelry, so some level of decorum is expected.

I’ll start with the 10 minute deadline, and then move onto a few things to add on if you have extra minutes or if they’re late or something. Ideally you have a home where most of the things on this list are always done, but we have all have those days when they are not. If you have one things that has to be done, be thankful that you instead have a spare moment to brush your hair or change out of your jammies and into a pair of jeans. Or put put on a bra or something. Hmmm, I might do a post on that too. Until then, let’s get you ready for that semi drop by!

How To Get You House Guest Ready in 10 Minutes

1. Close doors of any room you just can’t even deal with.
Bed not made? Shut the door; Laundry room a disaster? Shut the door; Kids room a nightmare; shut the door. Basically you want to have as few rooms as possible visible to your guest that you have to tidy up.

2. Get all the trash out of the room/rooms.
It’s amazing how much garbage can accumulate in living spaces. Grab a garbage bag and toss in the newspapers, empty la croix cans (my husband leaves them everywhere), junk mail, tissues (my dogs love to carry them around and leave them on all over the place) and any big dust/leaf/whatevers off the floor. Basically you want to do this at a quick jog. Empty the waste baskets in the rooms guests will be into the bag and stick it in the garage/outside the back door/just get it out of the house. While you’re at it, if your kitchen garbage smells, that should go too.

3. Shove all clutter in a bag, basket or box and put it behind a closed door.
I’m serious. You will need to deal with what’s in the basket later, just grab everything that shouldn’t be there and remove it as fast as you can. Random socks, toys, books, blankets, whatever looks sloppy needs to be out of there. Make sure all dirty dishes are hidden too. You’re still jogging through all of this.

4. Grab a sponge or towel and wipe down any sticky/dirty surface in the rooms the guest will be.
Think kitchen counters, bathroom sink, etc. You’re not trying to really clean anything, just avoiding grossing out your company.

5. Light a scented candle or spray room spray, especially if you have pets.

6. In the final seconds, run around the room and fluff couch pillows, straighten furniture, tuck in chairs, straighten anything askew.
This is basically the equivalent of making sure you don’t have lipstick on your teeth and your pants are zippered. (Maybe do that too)

Your house is now presentable for last minute company, yay!

If you have a few extra minutes:

1. Vacuum.
This is not the type of vacuuming where you’re moving furniture and getting under things, but rather a quick pick up of dog hair or dust bunnies.

2. Dust.
If you have rooms with a great deal of natural sunlight, the dust can look a bit more obvious on table tops that have not seen a duster for a bit. Grab a microfiber cloth or a feather duster and go to town as fast as you can.

3. Clean the bathroom.
No one has ever walked into a freshly cleaned bathroom and wished it was dirty.

4. Make the bed.
If you can see the bed from the where you’ll be with your guests or want to give your guest a house tour, pulling up a blanket and fluffing the pillows can make a world of difference.

5. Clean the pet hair off of seating areas.
A quick vacuum, roller or blanket spreading can make a difference (I always forget to do this and feeling incredibly guilty when guests sit on the dog hair covered couch).

6. Wipe down mirrors.
If you have mirrors in living areas, a quick wiping down of them will make the light sparkle better and everything look cleaner.

Whew, you did it! Pat yourself on the back and go offer your guests some coffee!

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Top 5 Favorite Things Right Now

A happy Bird of Paradise plant in it's new basket.
A happy Bird of Paradise plant in it’s new basket.

I was inspired to make this list by John and Sherry from their Young House Love podcast. They end each week with what they have been loving lately and it always make me think about what I am loving too. As I usually get excited about what they love, I thought that you may appreciate my favs too…so here we go:

1. Command Strips in brushed nickel for bathrooms. You guys…hooks for the shower that match the fixtures and don’t fall down!! I started with 4 but once I discovered how amazing these were, added 2 more. Who knew I needed 6 hooks in the shower?? What hangs on these hooks you may be wondering? Wash cloth, scrubby gloves, shower cap, squeegee and 2 for drying bathing suits (we swim often and I rinse and hang them to dry).

2. Mini Grocery Carts. If you’ve been to a large grocery store recently, chances are you have used the smaller cart option. If you have not, I am sad for you because they are FUN to use. Although they are too small for a weeks worth of groceries for two people, I will make it work if they’re available. These little carts zip around and make me feel like I’m in super market sweep. I may have run into a few people taking the corners too fast, but once you tell them how you feel like you’re in super market sweep, they are usually amused enough to forgive you.

3. Sale duvet covers from Pottery Barn. I think all but one duvet cover out of the 8 or so duvet covers I have owned have been from Pottery Barn and most of them I found on sale. The quality is great, they are beautiful and if you strike at the right time can be scored for a great deal. I ordered one this morning for the 2nd guest room which I found on the teen site (by the way, always check the teen and kids sites for sheets smaller than king beds!), it’s exactly what I wanted for that bed, was marked down and had  free shipping. It was $42.22 for a queen duvet cover including tax. Boom!

4. Dyson cordless stick vacuum. It’s cord free, people. Imagine this scenario: white stone floors and 2 dogs who have all or some black hair. As you can imagine, I use this vacuum at least 3 times a day. Its light weight and powerful. I grab it, run through the room that I can feel or see specks of dirt or hair in and it’s all gone within minutes. The downside is that being cordless and light, the battery only lasts about 15 minutes. If I need to vacuum the whole house, I have to do it in segments. But the pluses far outweigh that single con. I never thought I could love a vacuum so much!

5. Baskets for plants. We recently went a little plant crazy. Adam has been obsessed with turning the patio into a jungle and I got overly excited in the tropical indoor plant section. We asked countless questions about how to keep them all alive, one of the tips was to not repot them for at least 4 months. If we wanted them to look prettier, to drop them potted into a larger container until then. Well, for some reason the containers I kept bringing home were not the right shape to “drop” into. I was also getting frustrated as I didn’t like the look of many of the pots that were big enough. I was also getting worried that we would buy all of these expensive pots and then need bigger ones in 4 months. So when I walked into Michael’s to get a few frames the other day, I got really excited when I laid my eyes on these bucket shaped baskets that were pretty and 70% off. I bought all of the blue ones in the small and medium sizes that they had. I patted myself on the back for not bringing home the fuchsia ones as they wouldn’t match at all. Fuchsia is still hard for me to resist even though Manic Trout pink no longer exists, so that was a big accomplishment. Once I got them home and saw how well they worked, that I actually went back and bought all of the large ones too. Not only do the pots drop in perfectly height wise, but plastic saucers fit perfectly in them as liners. They work so well that this may end up being a more permanent solution than we intended. Even if we replace them with different pots in 4 months, it was under $70 for 6 large plants so I’m not stressed about it. If you are on the lookout for plant baskets, check your local Michaels! Although if that means the one on Brodie Lane in Austin, all the blue ones are gone. #sorrynotsorry

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Clean vs Organized

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I’m sure there are people out there who have both a neurotically clean house and meticulously organized one. I must not know those people. I’ll admit I am insanely organized, but through no real effort. It comes to me as naturally as breathing. I admittedly spend a decent amount of time doing tasks to promote order to the stuff in my life, but they are tasks I enjoy doing. I believe in a place for everything and everything in it’s place and in order to live that way, you need to be constantly rearranging and staying on top of things. Even laundry is not so bad and I stay incredibly on top if it, but mainly to keep it from becoming visible or clutter. I also change the sheets and clean the kitchen neurotically as there is something about where I sleep and eat that makes me need extremely clean spaces. I do not however like to do cleaning tasks such as vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, dusting or cleaning the bathrooms at all. For years I had a cleaning lady who would come in twice a week and do all of these dreaded tasks, but as I work at home full time now, it was stressing me out when I needed to work and either had to leave, or have someone was here cleaning for hours.  Truthfully I felt guilty and would end up spending the time cleaning with her and that was just weird. So now I am left to tackle it all, and I just avoid the things I don’t like to do. The result is that embarrassingly enough, it sometimes means that weeks go by without vacuuming. Or mopping…oh wait, weeks? Yeah, I’ve never mopped in this house. How is it that a person who freaks out if the curtains are not hanging correctly or keys are not in the “key spot” can not care if the floor is dirty? The sad part is that when I finally get grossed out and get out the sponges and sprays, that I get it all done in a little over an hour. An hour! That’s all it takes to manically clean the house, I spend more time each day on facebook! Unfortunately this confession will do little to change my habits, but at least I feel a bit lighter having told you, it was cathartic. Just promise to give me an hours notice before you come over so I can pretend that none of this is true.

 

 

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