Skip to Content

How to Get Your Messy House Ready for Company


If you’re anything like I used to be, the thought of having people come to my house sent a chill down my spine.  There was always paper clutter everywhere, I hadn’t done laundry in days, and if my guests wanted something to drink, they better like water out of the faucet.  Finally, I decided I wanted a better life (and friends who visit!) and found a way to get my act together.  If I can do it, you can too!  Here are my best tips to get your house ready for company in under two hours.

If you find out someone is coming over unexpectedly and you are desperately short on time to get your house in presentable shape, rest assured YOU CAN DO IT.  We just have to cover some ground rules.

This isn’t the time to clean.  We’re creating the ILLUSION of a clean house.  We’re not going to actually tackle the cleaning right now unless you have time for it.

You’re not allowed to get distracted by things that look completely unpresentable that no normal guest is ever going to see.  For example, I don’t care how embarrassing the inside of your oven is.  Let’s please just agree to handle that crap another day!

I should probably mention that if you have a full day to prepare for your guests, that your absolute best bet is to read my post about how to get a disgusting house under control in just one day.  If you have something more like an hour or two, stick around!  We CAN tackle this together!

Okay, let’s get started!

Your Number One Priority

The bathroom!

No room is more disgusting than a bathroom, and that’s on a clean day.  If you’re having guests over unexpectedly, your first task is to get the most convenient bathroom in presentable order.

We’re going to get this done by playing beat the clock.

Grab some rags, some vinegar, and your best can-do attitude and meet me there!

Set a timer for 15 minutes.  Seriously.  That’s all the time we can dedicate to this task.

I want you to spray the outside of the toilet, the sink, and any visible surface with your favorite all-purpose cleaner.  Don’t have any?  Mix one part vinegar and one part water.  That’s all I use!

Now, while that’s working, get to work scrubbing the inside of your toilet.  We need this to be REALLY clean.  If you spend any amount of time anywhere, let it be right here on your throne.  Polish that thing and make it look pretty.

Now, move through the rest of your bathroom as quickly as possible wiping every surface you sprayed.

Finally, tackle the floor.  I personally don’t bother bringing a mop into the bathroom because:

  1. I only have one mop and think it’s kind of gross to use it in the bathroom and then bring it back to the kitchen. And…
  2. It’s such a small amount of floor space, it’s just as easy to get on my hands and knees and wipe it down. I do vacuum the bathroom floor – not sure why that’s less gross to cross-contaminate in my mind, but we’re all friends here.  Let’s not judge.


Clean Glasses and Something to Drink

Even though it’s not the 1950’s, we’re still going to be polite when we have guests and offer them something to drink.  For the love of God, don’t just cross your fingers and hope they say no.  Get your glasses clean and have AT LEAST water for them to drink.


I’m not saying your house stinks, I’m saying being nose-blind is a thing.  Have pets?  Fried anything recently?  Chances are good that your house isn’t smelling it’s absolute best.

The best way to tackle this is to sprinkle baking soda on your carpet, let it sit for 30 minutes, and vacuum it up.

While you’re waiting for that baking soda to do the trick, pull out some candles and get them burning.  Not a bad idea to even do this the day before if you have that much extra time to pull your house together.

No candles on hand?  Bake some quick desserts (like the cookie dough that comes in a log – only the best for us!).  Through some water in a pot with some fruit and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and put it on your stove on medium-low heat.  Get creative!


There are tons of amazing resources out there for decluttering that I highly recommend.

One of my absolute favorite decluttering tips when I’m trying to get a disgusting house under control is to take minimalism for a test drive.

Take all of your clutter and throw it into boxes, labeling if you have time, and then stowing the boxes away out of sight.

This is the perfect trick for when company is coming over.  Remember, we’re not actually cleaning and organizing right now, we’re creating the illusion of a clean space.

Now is also the perfect time to go hide any dirty dishes.  Have time to clean them?  Do it!  Desperately short on time?  Throw those suckers in the oven and call it a day.  This does not work, obviously, if you found that log of cookie dough in the back of your fridge and decided to take that smell-good option.

Moving on.

By now, your house should be looking a lot better than it did to start.

Make a Great First Impression

Let’s take this chance to make the best first impression we possibly can.  Go outside of your front door, walk back in again, and take a look around.

What are the first things you notice?

Tackle everything in sight and when in doubt, go for a minimalist approach.

If your living space still looks too cluttered, move some things out of it and store them in a closet until your guests arrive.

With the time you have left, vacuum any floors you haven’t yet and then grab a rag or microfiber cloth.

Move around each room your guests may enter in a clockwise motion and dust, buff out smudges, and quickly declutter anything that catches your eye.

Just keep moving.  While you’re holding that rag, dust and wipe down every surface you can reach.  It will give your house a nice, fresh feel to anyone just entering your space.

Remember this…

Also remember that there’s no shame in having a house that gets away from you from time to time.  Life happens!

Never Go Through This Again

Look, finding out someone is dropping by and feeling embarrassed of your living space is nothing short of anxiety-inducing.  I get it.

Even though it IS POSSIBLE to get your house into presentable condition in a really short amount of time – doesn’t mean you should.  When this stressful visit is over, let’s regroup and finally tackle your messy house once and for all.

Here are my best, sanity-saving tips!

Get Your Disgusting House Under Control in Just One Day

How to Clean Any Room in 15 Minutes

Make Storage Space Where There Is None

My Best Purging Tips

How to Test Drive Minimalism


Are you dealing with a last-minute guest?  What are you doing to get your house ready?  Leave your best tips in the comments!

Unexpected guest? Follow these quick tips to get your messy house ready for company in under two hours!