How to Tidy Up Your House in 15 Minutes for Last-Minute Guests

I love the spring season! The skies are clear, flowers are blooming, and the days are longer. I look forward to spring and summer, mostly because we love to entertain our family and friends at our home. On any given weekend night, we have two or three couples with their kids over for a barbecue or swim party. Sun, food, and drinks just seem to bring people together and create memories that I know my kids will always cherish. I love that our children seem to have inherited that same love of entertaining too! They usually will be the ones to suggest a spur-of-the-moment get-together with our neighbours and friends.  

As much as I enjoy entertaining, sometimes my house looks like a bomb went off! I tend to hesitate on having company over because of the condition of the house, but am always reminded that life is too short. Visiting with friends and family is just too important (and fun) to let a little unkemptness spoil a meaningful evening. Over the years, and with a lot of trial and error, I have developed a quick and simple method to get my house presentable for company. It only takes about fifteen minutes, so it’s virtually stress free and it means I enjoy our guests and time together. 


Usually, your entertaining is concentrated in a specific area of the house. Focus on this space only. For us, it’s our family room and kitchen.

Step 1: Pick up and fluff

Gather all papers, toys, shoes, etc from the floors and counters. Don’t worry about returning those items to their appropriate spots. Put them in a laundry basket and take them to a room you know won’t be used—for us, it is our master bedroom.

Arrange and fluff all the pillows on the couch and chairs. Trust me. A fluffed pillow does wonders for a room.

Step 2: Organize dirty dishes

If you happen to have dirty dishes in your sink and no time to do them, no problem! Dump out all standing water in cups and pans. Neatly arrange dishes in the sink, stacking plates and pots and keeping cups and glasses together.

Step 3: Do a quick dusting

Give the main room you’ll be entertaining in a quick once-around with a dust cloth.


We have two cats, and their hair can tend to build up on the couch and chairs. I quickly run a wipe along the back of the leather couch, and all the hair is picked up! So much nicer for our guests to lounge on.

Step 4: Do a quick sweep

I’m a firm believer in a large dust mop, especially if you have a tile or wood floor. Don’t worry about mopping, just run a dry broom through the specific area to pick up any noticeable debris and call it a day.

Step 5: Spruce the bathroom


Inevitably someone will need to use the bathroom. Choose the most accessible bathroom, and clear the counters of anything that isn’t essential. Wipe down the counters, fixtures and the mirror. 


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