It happens almost every time we have people over. I’m madly rushing around, cleaning bathrooms and chopping vegetables. My Darling Husband, Mr Handsome, decides it's the perfect time to wash the wheelie bins, reorganise the Garden Shed or fix the Garage door opener.
I don't know what it is, but there is a universal truth about Hosting: We tend to overthink tidying up when company's coming.
The one crucial trick that helps me avoid a mad anxiety spiral whenever we're expecting company is to THINK LIKE A GUEST!
Yep, that’s it. Instead of stressing out about making everything perfect, take your Hostess Hat off and think about what makes you happy and comfortable when you’re the Guest.
First, remember that most guests you're having over should be friends or family, so they aren't there to judge you; they're there to have a good time and enjoy your company! And if you expect someone who makes you feel judged, why did you invite them? Don’t do that to yourself. Meet those people out for drinks or dinner instead.
Now. Back to your friendly guests. This is what most people want when they cross your threshold:
- A place to sit down.
- A place to put their stuff (especially if they’re staying over).
- Something nice to drink.
- Something nice to eat.
- A genial, relaxed Host who's ready to enjoy their company (even if the house isn’t strictly ready yet).
I promise no one will notice if the floor isn't spotless or a few dishes in the sink.
On the other hand, if guests have to clear space on the sofa to sit down, or there's nowhere to put down their toiletry case in the bathroom. That's not great, either. Try to concentrate on what matters to guests and forget about the rest.
These are the top 5 things Guests notice when walking into a friend’s home:
A NICE SMELL. Everyone's home has a smell. That’s what hits you first when you walk into someone else’s house. That’s also why I try to take out the trash (and spray and wipe down the bins before replacing the trash bags) before people come over.
Make sure that your guests are greeted with a lovely scent. Light a candle, spray a little Home Fragrance, or throw something nice on the stove. But please don't go overboard. Try to err on the side of lightness. I have a couple of friends who like to light every scented candle they have. It’s like wearing all of your favourite perfumes at once. Not good.
SOMEWHERE TO SIT DOWN. Do a quick sweep to declutter the main "landing" surfaces for your guests to settle down. Clear the sofa, clean off the dining table, kitchen table or wherever you plan to settle down with your guests when they first arrive.
SOMETHING TO EAT + DRINK. I always have tea or Spa Water on the go when I'm expecting people. If they're over for dinner, I like to have a special drink premade and ready to pour. That way, I don't have to rush around and make several different cocktails, and I can chat with them while I finish a few things in the kitchen (like the dishes). BTW: I have no problem asking friends to help; most guests will feel more comfortable and welcomed if you give them an easy job.
CHECK THE BATHROOMS. If there’s one place your guests will get judge-y, this is it. Make sure the mirrors, vanity and toilet look clean and smell good. You don't have to snap the gloves on and deep clean; just give the basin, tub and toilet a quick once over (I use toilet paper) to make sure all surfaces are sparkling. Remember the mirrors!
Guests don't want to feel like they’re invading your privacy. Take the time to reorganise and tidy cupboards and medicine cabinets. Pull medicines and other personal stuff you don't want people to see and make room for their stuff in the bathrooms. Refresh towels, restock toilet paper, and refill any empty soap dispensers. Add a little plant or fresh cutting from the garden to freshen up any space. Little gestures in unexpected places go a long way.
Just remember that nobody likes a Harried Hostess. People won't remember whether or not the house was perfectly clean, but they will never forget how they felt while in it. Make sure they leave with happy memories.
If you are in need of cleaning supplies, our 4-Piece Clean Starter Kit is just the thing to get you started.