Around here, there’s pretty much an unspoken rule that at any point in time, you could have a visitor. Luckily we have two cattle guards that make a lot of noise when someone drives over them, so this usually gives me at least a minute or two warning to put some pants on, and toss the dirty dishes into the dishwasher.

Having a visitor pop in can be a welcomed time to catch up and visit, or an excuse to bust open some rosè at 11 o’clock in the morning. If you get a text that reads, “mind if I stop by?”, chances are you’ve got about 15 minutes to get things in order. Here is my routine for putting the house together on short notice, and my best tips for welcoming your guest with your best Martha Stewart game face on. 

Minutes 1-5: Put any dirty dishes in the dishwasher, wipe down counters (this is my favorite spray), and do a quick sweep (don’t worry about picking up your dust pile until the end!).

Minutes 5-10: Grab that feather duster of yours (or Swiffer), and do a light dusting of your entry way and living space. Spray a bit of wood polish where needed, and polish off any dusty furniture. Straighten pillows and blankets, and if needed, vacuum or sweep the living area. 

Minutes 10-15: Now head to the guest bathroom – spray toilet and counters down. Straighten hand towels, and bathing area. Wipe counters down, and finish off with a quick toilet cleaning (nothing too nitty or gritty here). Head back to the kitchen and living area to pick up any dust piles, and put away cleaning supplies.

If you have extra time:

  • Light a few candles around the house.
  • Grab your favorite serving platter and prepare a few light bites (cheese, crackers, fruit).
  • I also love to have a pitcher of water with some fresh sliced fruit, and a set of beautiful glasses out. This only takes a minute or two, but leaves a big impact!

What are your best quick & dirty entertaining tips? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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  1. Great tips! I usually keep my house pretty tidy but still get frazzled by unexpected visitors! I like the idea of lighting some candles.

    1. I like to try and keep things tidy so that 15 minutes gives me enough time to really spruce everything up. Candles do a great job of setting the mood!

  2. I love your tips! I think candles and a pitcher of water really do go a long way, and like you said, it would only take a minute. I have an emergency basket that I’ll throw clutter in when I’m in a situation like this that I’ll just put upstairs and out of sight. Then, I have an excuse to actually clean the clutter : )

    1. An emergency basket is a GREAT tip! I think I will edit the post to put that in there, and link to you! Thanks for adding that!

  3. I get so frazzled with unexpected visitors. I’m so bad, I just throw everything that I don’t want seen into the back room and close the door. I love the candle idea! Candles really add a great touch.

    1. LOL I totally am with you – a ‘junk’ room or closet is a great option to hide a bit of a mess in a pinch!

  4. haha! Sometimes you need these unexpected arrivals to get your house together! My me on the computer most of the time the house looks like crap! I decided that today is a good rainy day to clean it up a little :)

    1. Oh I am SO with you! Being on the computer allows for many coffee mugs (and wine glasses) to pile up, not to mention laundry!

  5. kitchen is usually where I spend my 15 minutes prepping for people… it’s always messy even when I’m the only one home!! Load dishwasher and toss in some cookies, is usually my motto!

    1. Yes! Everyone loves cookies!!! :) I always find a few dishes that have to be added too, usually coffee cups or wine glasses. Is that a sign? LOL!

  6. Great tips!! Candles are my absolute favorite :) A serving platter is a great idea too. Every one loves food!

  7. I am so in love with this post. It’s so simple to have a serving platter ready for when guests arrive or simply warm tea and lemon depending on the season. While living in Europe it is most popular to serve tea and a few treats along with it. I should start being more prepared for these things. Thank you for the reminder.

    1. Thank YOU for stopping by and leaving a nice comment! I love having something extra special for guests, that way they know how loved they are (even if they are unexpected)!

  8. this will definitely help when one of our mothers decides they’re "In town for the day" (I.E. forgot to call when they left the house). They both live over an hour away and our town doesn’t even have a Walmart, haha

    1. I can completely understand the lack of a walmart! We don’t even have a school! Super small! The nearest ‘city’ is about 30 minutes away, so we can get groceries. Luckily, moms don’t judge messes too harshly ;)

    1. It’s awesome! Sometimes I find it leaves a weird residue, but I figure it’s because there isn’t any bad guy stuff in there, which alarms me that the non-natural products don’t leave any residue behind. Like what if I make a sandwich on the counter? I want to know that the residue won’t cause me to grow a third boob or something! ;)

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