Sweat is dripping down your forehead as you count down how many minutes you have left. You’re running out of time and need to pick up the pace. No, you aren’t running a marathon — you’re preparing for guests to arrive. We’ve all been there, the final minutes before hosting begins can be absolute chaos.
Hosting company becomes a lot easier if you know the areas that must be cleaned (and the areas they’ll never notice and therefore, should be removed from your to-do list). Here are 10 sneaky places you probably forgot to clean before guests arrive, but should totally prioritize for easier hosting.
Declutter the Entryway
If you’re low on time before guests arrive, cleaning the areas of your home in the order in which guests will experience them will help you anticipate the things your guests may need during their visit. First up on the list is your entryway. For most households, this becomes the family dumping ground of shoes, coats, extra grocery bags, keys and the list goes on. Declutter and put away as much as you can in this area so that your guests have somewhere to remove their shoes and coats. Don’t forget to do a quick tidy of your front hall closet (or hooks) so your guests have a place to hang their coats.
PRO TIP: Remember to vacuum your entryway first to avoid dirt and debris spreading to other areas of your home.
Freshen the Guest Bedroom
Particularly if you have overnight guests, the second area of your home your guests will likely experience is the guest bedroom or where they’ll be sleeping. This will become the homebase for them and set the tone for their visit. Even if your guests’ linens are clean, pop them into the dryer with a dryer ball (with essential oils) to freshen them before making the bed. For the ultimate guest experience, place a few freshly folded towels on the bed and have extra blankets and pillows available in the closet or a nearby basket.
PRO TIP: Opt for white guest linens for the hotel-clean vibe.
Prep Your Tech
As has become standard for hotels, making Wi-Fi, streaming services and a plethora of outlets available to your guests is a must. Anticipate that your guests will need to plug in multiple devices to charge at night and ensure there are available outlets without having to unplug lamps, etc. Add a power strip if necessary.
PRO TIP: Type up and print your Wi-Fi password and leave it in a frame in your guest bedroom permanently.
Deep Clean All Bathrooms
As the most intimate room your guests will visit during their stay, deep cleaning all bathrooms in your house is a must prior to hosting. Even if you have a designated guest bathroom, never assume they won’t use another. Along with clearing personal items from the counters and deep cleaning the high-touch areas, double check your toilet paper supply across all bathrooms. Have extra rolls displayed nicely in a place that’s easy to access.
PRO TIP: Want to get up to luxury hotel status? Try the faucet toilet paper trick for a beautiful embossed toilet paper roll. Simply let your tap run for a moment before turning it off, fold the end of your toilet paper roll into a triangle and firmly press it against the faucet. Once dry, you’ll be left with a hotel-style stamp that elevates any toilet paper roll.
Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces
In a post-pandemic society, we are more aware of the germs in our homes. Before guests come, disinfect high-touch surfaces such as light switches, door handles, appliances and railings. This is a quick job that can make a big difference in your and your guests’ wellbeing.
Prep Your Kitchen for Guests
There’s a reason the kitchen is the heart of the home and whether you like it or not, your guests will congregate here often. Wipe down the surfaces, mop the kitchen floors and don’t forget to clean your kitchen seating. If you have counter stools, these tend to get used the most and become the stickiest — give them a thorough wipe.
PRO TIP: Have an empty dishwasher and clear sink before your guests arrive to make staying on top of the inevitable onslaught of dirty glassware easier.
Prep Your Beverages
Make your hosting duties a bit easier by inviting your guests to help themselves to drinks. Along with stocking your bar fridge (or creating a designated drink shelf in your kitchen fridge), spend some time setting up your coffee station. Have mugs, coffee pods, sugar and stirring spoons all in plain sight so guests can help themselves if they wake up before you in the morning.
PRO TIP: Set up a jar of granola bars or other snacks beside the coffee maker so guests can help themselves if they are hungry before breakfast is served.
Do Look Up
“Out of sight out of mind” has never been a truer statement than when it comes to cleaning above the eyeline. However, guests are more likely to spot cobwebs in ceiling corners and on light fixtures than you are as they take in your home. Spotting dust above can instantly cause guests to feel like your home isn’t clean (even though you just spent the last few hours scrambling to ensure it was). Spend 10 minutes with an extendable duster purposefully looking up. This also extends to the windows above eyesight.
Smells Like Home
As the strongest of our five senses, the smell of your home is just as important as its appearance. Arguably, this is the easiest thing to forget to “clean” before guests arrive because you rarely notice it as the homeowner. We become “nose blind” or experience olfactory adaptation, which stops us from detecting scents. An hour before guests arrive, begin to plan the scent you want to evoke via baking, a couple beeswax candles or a simmer pot with the season’s natural scents. In addition to this, ensure your trash cans are empty and the dishwasher isn’t spewing the smell of last night’s dinner.
PRO TIP: Avoid using synthetic fragrances as they often evoke headaches and your guests may be sensitive to them.
A Host(ess) of Anxieties
The best thing you can do as a host(ess) is create a relaxing vibe — one that invites your guests to do the same. If you are sweating and stressed when your company walks through the door, they’ll be more likely to ask how they can help as opposed to enjoying their time. Have music playing before your guests arrive and if you can, complete your mad dash of prep at least 20 minutes before they arrive so you can relax (and take in how beautiful your home is).
PRO TIP: When in doubt or time is running out, just begin shutting doors. A mess behind a door can always be dealt with later — enjoying time with your guests is far more important.