It’s an emergency! Old friends just called and they want to drop in! Do you mind? Of course not! you say as you look around your house in alarm. You hang up the phone knowing that you have about 45 minutes to take your home from “I haven’t felt like cleaning for two weeks to “Welcome! Come on in!”
1. Grab trash bags, round up the kids (if they are nearby) and dive in!
Begin with the room that your guests will see when they walk in the door. Pick up the floor (stuff things into the trash bag to be emptied later) and clear surfaces like tables and windowsills. If there’s time vacuum, if not, console yourself with the fact that most people don’t look at the floor (or tell your children to be “human vacuum cleaners” and crawl around on the floor picking up fuzzies, legos and other obvious things).
2. Clean the bathroom your friends will be using during their visit (this will include clearing the hallway to the bathroom as well).
Clear all stuff on the counter (again putting it into a temporary spot to be sorted and put away later). Spray sink and counter. Polish mirror, check toilet and clean if necessary, pull the shower curtain across to hide the shower, replace hand towel and you are done with the bathroom.
3.Are your friends staying for a meal? Clean the junk off the dining room table, set the table and fry some onions.
The table says, “I care enough about you to prepare for you” and the frying onions makes the house smell like something good is cooking while you think about what-oh-what(?) you can have for dinner.
Counters covered with dirty dishes? I’ve known women who stash them in the oven. Whatever it takes!
If all your dishes are dirty and you need them for dinner, fill the sink with soapy water to let them soak or rinse and stack next to the sink.
“And having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.” 1 Timothy 5:10
Wipe the counter tops off and quickly sweep the floor (or wet a towel and ask a child to skate around the floor on the towel to wipe up the worst of the dirt).
Your goal is not a perfect house but a house that says, “Oh, you’ve dropped in?! I was in the middle of life but that’s all right…everything is under control!”
4.Close all doors leading to the rest of the house (and threaten the kids with dire consequences if they open those doors).
Change your clothes and comb your hair if needed.
Say a prayer of thanksgiving that your friends felt like they would be welcome enough to drop by and then open that door with a warm, “How ARE you? I’m so glad you’re here!!”
“It is a sin against hospitality, to open your doors and darken your countenance.” Old Proverb