How to be Ready for Company in 20 Minutes or Less

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I try to invite people over every couple of weeks – mainly because it forces me to clean my house. But lately, even the promise of company coming hasn’t done much to motivate me in the cleaning department.

Luckily, I have a strategy that gets my house and me ready for company in 20 minutes or less!

be ready for company in 20 minutes or less

20 min: Get dressed. Don’t worry about stains – we’ll cover that later.

17 min: Close every single door in your house that you can. This will keep your company out of your bedrooms and hopefully your den or office – and your basement.

15 min: Light a scented candle.

14 min: Give your kids a trash bag, and send them on a scavenger hunt for dirty diapers.

13 min: Stick a plunger in your guest bathroom toilet. Hang a sign on the door that says “Out of Order.”

10 min: Grab an empty laundry basket, and put all of your dirty dishes and countertop clutter in it. Put the laundry basket in your minivan.

7 min: Tape a DONATE sign to a large box. Toss a few toys into it, and leave it in the middle of your toy room (aka your family room).

4 min: Plug in your vacuum, and leave it sitting out near the front door.

3 min: Take a bite of broccoli. Chew it up and spit it out (trust me on this one).

2 min: Use baby wipes to wash your armpits and your face (not in that order).

1 min: Spray Pledge near the front door

30 seconds: Get yourself a cup of coffee or dark soda. Don’t drink it.

They Arrive

Opening the Door: As you’re opening the door, “spill” the cup of coffee all over your shirt. That solves any potential stain problems you might have going on.

Make a big deal of spilling coffee all over your “clean” shirt.

Welcome your guests into your home by saying the following:

Come on in! Welcome, Welcome!

Don’t mind the cleaning stuff – it’s my day of the week to do some deep cleaning.

What’s that? I have broccoli in my teeth? Oh gosh – so embarrassing -I’ve been on such a veggie kick lately. I just can’t stop eating my veggies!!

Come on back – the kids are in the toy room picking out toys to give to needy children. They do this at least once a month – so sweet.

Like I said – ready for company in 20 minutes or less!

What would you add to this list?


  1. Janine Huldie

    January 28, 2013 at 6:59 am

    Oh man, you did it again. Seriously, I am not sure how, but this was perfect. All I would add, it make sure to add a huge goofy grin as you are saying all this, lol!!

  2. Jessica

    January 28, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Hahahaha I love it! You sure do have a knack for bringing out the lighter side of parenting. Thanks for the good read this morning! 🙂

  3. Dona

    January 28, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Top notch! (Oh, how English of me!) Brilliant as usual! Another “how to” chapter for the book!

  4. Serene

    January 28, 2013 at 8:12 am

    I so do the closed door and the lighting of the candle! Love the other ideas too!

  5. Robin Jingjit

    January 28, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Ha! Then I’d be riding around with that laundry basket of dishes for weeks!

  6. Wendy

    January 28, 2013 at 9:01 am

    This is great!! I Also invite people or my mom over so I will have to clean things up. It’s so bad that most times when I clean my kids will ask, who’s coming over?

  7. Anna

    January 28, 2013 at 9:43 am

    It’s so true, every time people come over my kids out me anyway, “she just put like everything that’s usually on the floor in the closet.” thanks, kids.

  8. christine

    January 28, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Fantastic ideas! I especially like the plunger in the toilet. My only question is, “Who the heck has an empty laundry basket lying around?”

  9. The Dose of Reality

    January 28, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I am HOWLING!! I wondered how the broccoli was going to fit in—PERFECT!! This is fantastic!!!

  10. Miranda

    January 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Oh my. This made me laugh so hard it brought tears to my eyes. I LOVE THIS!!!

  11. Leah

    January 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I love that you advise to spit the broccoli out after chewing. lol!

  12. Miranda Grimm

    January 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I recently read a post where someone suggested spraying pledge near the doorway. This way when someone comes into your home they will immediately think you have been cleaning. 🙂 Great tips! Hahaha

  13. Robyn

    January 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Ha Ha! Hubby and I went to visit some relatives about 7 hours away so we left really early in the morning (so that the kids would sleep most of the way) and got there about 10am. As we walked up the path I heard my 8 year old cousin call out… “Mum, Dad, they’re here. Can I stop cleaning now?”
    Your blog always makes me laugh over my morning cuppa (and sometimes snort some out of my nose). Thanks.

  14. Kerri @ Elbows Deep in Someone Elses's Sh*t

    January 28, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    This is so perfect! I was planning to spend my week cleaning in preparation for company coming on Friday but I guess I won’t have to now 🙂

  15. DustiSageMo

    January 28, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Omg… Are you a fly on the wall? I have done 6 of these things in desperation for last minutes company! Hahahaha!

  16. hillary

    January 28, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    You, my dear girl, are a genius. I never thought of the broccoli tip. Could you explain the baby wipe thing though?

  17. sparkling74

    January 29, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Ok, I’ve done, or thought of doing most of those things, but putting the laundry basket of dirty dishes in the van is GENIUS. I’d probably just put it in one of those closed off rooms and then someone would find it.

    And I see you’re a fan of Nashville. I just watched the pilot the other day and I might be hooked!

  18. Peggy

    January 29, 2013 at 7:37 am

    I’ve started saying ” take it as a compliment that I didn’t clean to pretend to have a clean house when you come over”. As if they are now good enough friends to see the real me.

  19. Shammykins

    February 1, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Love it! Your blog always brightens my day! I keep the doors open, but shove everything into baskets and place in the closet or under the bed! I like people to think I have nothing to hide! Lol… But I ALWAYS have a pile in front of my basement door (we only use it for storage because I have a 95 yr old house.) I always say ‘you just caught me in purge mode!’ And I save the coffee for my kitchen floor. That way no one notices the presents 4 kids accumulate under the kitchen table… They have to move to the room with the strategically placed vacuum! PS- now that my kids are older, can actually run the vacuum and use a chlorox wipe on the bathroom sink… And still be ready in under 20 minutes!

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  24. CurlyQ

    December 17, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Love it! Perfect plan for all those surprise visits from MIL!

  25. Dee

    January 1, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    LOL I wouldnt even bother with allthat, Id just say Hi everyone. Sorry for the mess. My house was clean yesterday , sorry you missed it.

  26. Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

    February 25, 2014 at 9:16 am

    I am so relieved by this post. I thought you had turned into someone that I use to know. Love. It. Ellen

  27. Angela

    February 25, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Haven’t used the laundry basket trick, but I’ve hidden dirty dishes in the oven MANY times when company’s coming!

  28. April_Mom

    February 25, 2014 at 11:13 am

    what you do, is you take a basket with clean laundry and you dump it on your bed. then you take the empty basket and proceed to step described in “10 min”. but when you go to bed, since you forgot you have a pile of laundry on the bed, you just move the laundry to the floor…and then they end up in the washer again…its a cycle of life…

  29. Romy

    February 25, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Here is are some suggestions:
    1) Own a big, loud dog that wants to be right up your guest’s butts while they are here.
    2) Live in the woods, on a road that is barely passable in snow, rain and mud season.
    3) If people do come over, make sure they also have small children and can relate to the toys sticking out from under the couch that you kicked under there when they pulled in the driveway.

  30. Meli

    February 25, 2014 at 4:09 pm i looooove it! my mom pretty much did the same thing except she shoved dishes AND toys in the laundry basket and then promptly put it in her closet lol. She had us trained too if we saw someone pulling in the driveway me and my sisters would yell “Everybody grab a basket – we have 10 seconds!”

  31. Her Royal Thighness

    February 25, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I LOVE this! My kid’s 18, though. How do I get around that one? You killed me with the plunger and the basket in your minivan!

  32. Bastica

    February 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Love it!!!! <3

  33. Birute Efe

    February 28, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    YOU are hilarious! I will be following your every move now. Not in a stocking way 🙂

  34. Tarana

    March 2, 2014 at 5:26 am

    I just dump everything I can in the closet and warn everyone not to open it. This is hilarious!

  35. Linda

    March 14, 2014 at 9:00 am

    I usually put all the dirty dishes in my oven and that has proved to be unwise on a few occassions. I will certainly do the laundry basket in the van and not only for dishes. I also like the dump everything in the closet suggestion by Tarana, however, my closet is usually already full of “things”. Any help for that?

  36. Michelle

    April 1, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    This is awesome. Love it. And my friend laughs at me because I throw all of my dirty laundry in the bathtub to hide it from my husband. hee hee guess who did laundry today honey?!

  37. Liz Queenlila

    April 3, 2014 at 5:55 am

    ahahahahahahaha you’re amazing 😀

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