Get Your House Company-Ready in Under 2 Hours with Guest Crystal Paine

Imagine you get a call from old friends. They are on a trip and will be driving past your town in 2 hours. “Can we swing by?” they want to know.

Come on….be honest…what is more likely to be your response? “Yeah!” or “YIKES!!!”

Fear not! Today’s guest, my new cyber friend Crystal Paine, to the rescue!

Crystal Paine is a wife, homeschool mom to three, self-proclaimed minimalist, lover of dark chocolate and good coffee, and a wannabe runner.

For practical help and inspiration to get your life and finances in order, check out her blog, MoneySavingMom.com, or purchase a copy of her book, The Money Saving Mom®‘s Budget 

Get Your Home Ready for Guests in Two Hours or Less

Get Your House Company-Ready in Under 2 Hours with Crystal Paine at KarenEhman.com

Does the thought opening your home to guest scare you because your home is messy?

Never fear! I have a simple, step-by-step plan to help you whip your house into shape — in two hours or less.

Now, mind you, this two-hour plan won’t have you dusting baseboards or scrubbing behind your toilets with a toothbrush, but it will get your home presentable enough to make it a welcoming haven for your guests.

Ready to get started? Here’s your plan of action:

Two-Hour House-Cleaning Plan

1. Start a load of laundry (3 minutes).

2. Set the timer for 15 minutes and take a laundry basket and a trash bag and go through each room in your home. Quickly straighten, pick up, and put away everything that’s out of place. Put all trash in the trash bag and put everything that doesn’t go in that room in the laundry basket (15 minutes).

3. Put away all contents in the laundry basket and throw out the trash (5 minutes).

4. Head to the kitchen and load the dishwasher or hand wash the dishes (15 minutes).

5. Switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer and start another load in the washer (2 minutes).

6. Sweep or vacuum your kitchen floor and wipe down your countertops (10 minutes).

7. Take some toilet cleaner and go squirt it in all your toilets (2 minutes).

8. Take some window cleaner and spot clean the main glass windows/doors/mirrors (3 minutes).

9. Take a dust rag and quickly dust in the main rooms of your home (10 minutes).

10. Vacuum all the major traffic areas in your home (20 minutes).

11. Head back to the bathrooms wipe down the toilet, sinks, floor, and bathtub/shower. Change the towels (20 minutes).

12. Switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer and fold the clean laundry (15 minutes).

13. Light a candle or simmer some potpourri on the stove and enjoy your freshly-cleaned home!

Free Downloadable Checklist

Like to cross off lists? Download the free 2-Hour House-Cleaning Checklist to keep you on track and remind you of what you’re supposed to be doing next. Now you have no excuse for getting distracted.





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  1. Aren’t we to focus on our guests and they should focus more on you — do you go see how clean your friend’s house is or just go enjoy your friend? However, with that said I do tidy up the house a bit and light a candle; but, honestly doesn’t it make you feel more comfortable to have your friends over more freely if you have dropped in at their house and there is a little dirt on the floor and a few dirty dishes around? They will drop everything, put on coffee and give you a hug–I need to open up my arms more freely in the name of Jesus and not worry so much like Martha, Mary’s sister.
    “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
    Perhaps we should be praying more that the Lord can use us to minister to our friends more than panic about the house!

  2. I would immediately dust my living room and vacuum. That is the first thing people see when they walk in and it is soooo dusty right now. Actually, I think I will go take care of it right now:)

  3. It’s got to be the paper clutter on the counter and dining room table. The rest of it I can manage, but the counter top drives me crazy. I would be thinking about that instead of my guests.

  4. The first thing I’d clean is my bathroom, grabbing a scour sponge for the sink and a dust mop for the floor, to get all those hairs that fall! I hate being embarrassed by the bathroom looking untidy. People understand a kitchen counter a little messy because it’s an often-used room. The bathroom needs to be sanitary!

  5. OK, so I would tidy the kitchen up and put all dirty crockery and cutlery in our wonderful dishwasher! Then, I would start in the living room moving things to their correct places. I tend to be a flitter, so if I had something that belongs in the bedroom I would take it there and then tidy something up in the bedroom. Then I’d go back to the living room and carry on like that!
    I love to have a nice clean toilet and sink – this is a high priority! My shower/bath can just have the curtain pulled over it if I don’t get time!
    I would then sit down to pray and read my Bible to focus my mind back on Christ, His people and how I can be a servant to them.

  6. I would pick up the living room of blankets, bean bags and pillows seeing my 4 year old had a camp out last night. Then I would have to do the dishes from our family dinner last night…we had my husband’s family over for Easter dinner last night so my house is actually pretty presentable.

  7. I would DE-CLUTTER the downstairs…. remove the pile of papers on the counter… give it the once-over.

  8. A little unconventional but a great tip I learned from a friend years ago. If you don’t have time to do a thorough job of cleaning for unexpected guests, roll out the vacuum and park it in the living room. Pull out a few cleaning products. When you greet your guests, it will appear you have been cleaning your home!

  9. I would tidy the living room so that the children’s books and backpacks were put away and then make sure the bathroom has clean towels. Luckly, my kitchen can be hidden from surprise company!

  10. LOL – what would be the first thing I would do if old friends called and said they would be here in 2 hours?! My husband yelled out, “Change address numbers with someone else” LOL

  11. THROW IN A LOAD OF LAUNDRY! I’m a fast learner, but I do always have clorox wipes(made in the U.S.A.) and dusting wipes on hand for quick a clean-up

  12. I’d make one large pile out of the 800 small piles laying around my house and put said large pile atop my dryer. Then I’d shut the door behind me as I walked out of the laundry room!!
    I love these tips- thank you!

  13. Check for food to make sure I have something then clean the areas where I know my guests will be in…first floor, not second floor.

  14. Clean the bathrooms, then tidy up the kitchen, any time left dust the floors! I’m not sure I could do all that in 2 hours! I would like to give it a try! thanks for the idea.

  15. I would definitely clean the downstairs bathroom! Everything else is pretty much straightened up since I’m expecting company this weekend, but I still have that bathroom to tackle! :)

  16. We practice a whole house pick up every evening so our house is usually very well picked up and clutter free. Where I fall behind is cleaning as that is only done weekly and usually performed hurriedly. When someone unexpected is on the way I need to give the bathroom a quick wipe down and would want time to dust. An extra minute would give me time to put on a pot of coffee.

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