The summer season is a wonderful time to entertain and catch up with friends. It's so easy to throw together a BBQ or pool party (if you have one). Gatherings are typically casual and relaxing - especially if you can be outside for the majority of the time. But hectic schedules and bad weather change plans quickly. Even if you plan your soiree for outdoors you'll most likely greet your guests at the front door and they will probably use the bathroom at some point. And then if it rains... well then you'll stay indoors. I recently read an article in my local paper that I found to be a good refresher for last minute entertaining and wanted to share: "Half an hour to prepare for guests? Some tips".
Some people find cleaning therapeutic and don't mind a routine weekly cleaning session. And those people are always welcome to our house to help--- cleaning is definitely not my favorite! Having guests over is really the best incentive that gets us cleaning. And at this point I think we've gotten really good at the last minute scramble. It's always good to have a basic strategy and to prioritize, and even better if you have someone to help you. Here are a few of my favorite tips from the article, I think the first two are interchangeable depending on how much clutter you have to pick up in order to clean the surfaces!
10 Minutes of Cleaning
Focus on the areas that guests will be entering, such as the kitchen, bath, front entry, main living room. Wipe down surfaces in the kitchen and bath, then grab an old sock or rag to dust visible surfaces in the living and dining room.
For a sink full of dirty dishes (like mine always is) consider stashing them in the oven to make room for new ones.
A quick vacuum of carpets or rugs in the main areas - and add a dash of deodorizer or baking soda as you go.
10 Minutes of Hiding Clutter
I'm sure you've all heard this before - grab an empty basket to collect the clutter. Then hid this in a bedroom or closet with doors closed. This basket helps to keep the clutter together and is easier to find and sort afterwards instead of stashing things in different drawers and closets as you go. If you have a pretty basket you could leave it in plain sight by tossing a pretty throw on it.
Then organize remaining items to look orderly like stacking magazines or books and fixing throw blankets and pillows.
10 Minutes of Finishing Touches
The article emphasizes scenting your space (see carpet deodorizer above). We don't normally incorporate this into our routine, except maybe lighting a scented candle. But I want to try some of these next time!
Try placing a drop of lemon scented oil or vanilla extract on light bulbs then turn on.
Tuck a scented fabric softener sheet under couch cushions or inside throw pillows.
If you have a garbage disposal drop slices of lemon or lime and run for a minute.
Then for a quick centerpiece gather some small potted plants or even better clippings from your garden, both flowers and greenery will work.
Then if this truly is a last minute scramble scan your pantry and fridge for anything you can serve. The article recommends keeping a few blocks of cheese and prosciutto on hand, as well as a dessert and chilled drinks like beer and wine.
Then the article says to take the last 30 seconds to breathe - brush your hair, freshen up. People can sense the stress from rushing around so try to let it go before they arrive. Ha! I laugh at this one - we haven't figured out how to make ourselves refreshed after a 30 minute dash around the house, but that's nothing a drink can't fix!
PS- Prevention is typically the best solution to clutter - take a look at this post for some mudroom ideas to collect clutter as it comes in, and take a look at our pinterest board for some pretty & effective foyer ideas!