Molly Maid
unexpected guests

Uh oh, company’s coming to my messy house!

From Thanksgiving Eve to New Year’s Day, pop-ins from family members, neighbors and friends seem to multiply like those holiday shopping ads in your email inbox! If every guest visit was the result of an invitation, you’d have time to follow our five-day holiday house cleaning tips, finish hanging the decorations, yummy-smelling candles would be burning and you’d have your hair done.

To help the rest of us who are still in our pajamas when the in-laws call from 15 minutes away, here’s five cleaning fixes to get you and your home company-ready FAST:

  1. It’s all-hands-on-deck for every member of your family in the house! Everyone needs to report to the kitchen and take on a task from the chore chart. Make sure the main bathroom, entry way and living room have clutter cleared and counters wiped down. This is not the season to prove you’re a super woman! Ask for help nicely, and demand it if necessary!
  2. Be prepared this time of year, and keep slice and bake chocolate chip cookies or cinnamon rolls in your refrigerator. Preheat the oven, put the treats in and start a pot of coffee or tea.
  3. Get yourself dressed! No reasonable person expects fancy for unscheduled visits. Comfortable jeans paired with a ball cap and sweatshirt work just fine!
  4. Dock your iPod STAT and set the volume between low and medium. Classic holiday songs or something milder than your kids’ beloved Gangnam Style will help you relax and is a great background for your guests.
  5. Take a quick walk through and make sure toilet paper and clean hand towels are in the bathroom and dirty clothes and shoes are stashed out of sight!

Don’t let the seemingly endless list of things to do this year wear you down! Consider this quote excerpted from a column in the November 1999 edition of Family Circle magazine, “I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home…. I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby,” said Nancie J. Carmody.

For more ideas on making cleaning a family project, check out our guide on cleaning with kids.