Ten Minutes to a Visitor-Ready Home

You know the feeling – you get a phone call from family or a friend announcing they’re in the neighborhood and want to swing by for a minute to say hi. Great, except your house looks like a storm just blew through.

Never fear! Even with only ten minutes, you can turn your home from chaos-ridden to visitor ready! Simply start from the top of the list and work your way down, lower priorities are at the bottom.

First impressions matter, and for your home, that means a clean entryway. The entryway to your home often ends up being the place where shoes and clutter congregate. Make sure all shoes are either stored away or lined up neatly, and any clutter has been gathered in a utility bag and stored away to be sorted later.

Time Required: 90 seconds

It is easy to cut some corners in the kitchen! If your sink is housing any dishes that need to be cleaned, simply stock the dishwasher. This includes the dishes you need to hand wash, like your sharp knives and pots and pans. Don’t run the dishwasher, just let it hold ALL the dirty dishes. Then, quickly wipe the kitchen table and countertops with mild soap and a moist sponge.

Time Required: 90 seconds

Gather all the clothing, toys, and mail and put it all in a utility bag. Now is NOT the time for sorting and organizing. Put the bag away in a closet or bedroom that will not be used by guests, and sort it out later. Then, quickly wipe the coffee table and end tables with mild soap and a moist sponge. Fluff couch pillows and arrange nicely. Fold any throw blankets that are commonly used and left on couch.

Time Required: 90 seconds

Clear everything off the counters except hand soap and a hand towel. Squirrel everything else away in a basket temporarily. Make sure there is ample toilet paper. Wipe the sink and toilet with disinfectant wipes. If needed, use a disposable toilet brush cleaner for the inside of the bowl.

Time Required: 60 seconds

When it comes to floors, focus on only the high-traffic areas like living room, kitchen and hallways (stairs included). For hardwood floors, dust and dirt tends to gather in the corners and near the baseboards. Target those areas with a hand-held vacuum. For carpeted floors, use your hand-held vacuum and “spot clean” as needed.

Time Required: 150 seconds


Close the doors of rooms that are not tidy or will not be used by guests. This will not only give you a place to stash anything you need to hide away, but also will help you stay focused on the areas that need your active attention.

Scented candles are an easy way to freshen up a room. Light a few and place in a safe space near the front door and in the living room, especially if that’s where you plan on spending most of your time.

If you have any smells to mask in the kitchen, use lemon. Dump a few ice cubes and squeeze some lemon juice into the garbage disposal and run a few times to clear any food smells out of the sink.

Time Required: 90 seconds

Hopefully, no visitors catch you by surprise this holiday season. But, if they do, use these tips to turn your chaotic home into one fit for company in under ten minutes flat!