With the holidays fast approaching, many of us will find ourselves expecting guests with little to no notice. Don’t let the stress of unexpected guests prevent you from enjoying your company or creating a beautiful, welcoming atmosphere—both are totally possible even if all you have is a few hours’ notice. Here’s how you can create a great experience for your guests and for yourself.
1. Give the house a super quick cleaning
If you’re expecting overnight guests, then you’ll want to make sure the guest room has been vacuumed, dusted, and deodorized. Put on some clean sheets, pull out a comfy blanket, and lay out fresh bath towels.
Quickly clean the bathroom your guests will be using: make sure the toilet bowl, sink, and shower are presentable, give the mirror a quick wipe, and sweep the floor. Lay out a fresh hand towel and light a candle to give the room a fresh scent and a little cozy warmth.
Take a quick pass at the common areas in your home: vacuum, dust, and deodorize. You don’t have time to give anything a super deep clean, so if there’s something you can’t get to—mail on the kitchen table, laundry, a school project—you can absolutely cheat and stow it in a bedroom or closet and close it off until after your guests leave.
Throw dirty dishes into the dishwasher and wipe the counters and the stove. The kitchen will likely get dirty quickly with guests in the house, so no need to make the place sparkle.
2. Equip the guest room
If you have time, add a few niceties to your guest room—a small carafe of cold water and glasses, a white noise machine, a warm-smelling candle or essential oil diffuser, and a waste basket.
Write the Wi-Fi network and password on a card, make sure your guests have a spare key (if they need it), and write down any household instructions they may need: where the pets are allowed, where extra towels and blankets can be found, where they can find coffee, tea, and water in the kitchen.
Your guests will never know you haven’t been expecting them for weeks.
3. Use a grocery delivery service
With just a few hours’ notice, you won’t likely have time to throw together a shopping list, battle the parking lot at the store, then wait in line. Skip this timesuck by enlisting a grocery delivery service. Postmates and Amazon Prime Now offer same-day grocery delivery services that can save you time and hassle.
No need to prep a gourmet meal for your guests, make dinner part of the fun and order a pizza-making kit from the meal delivery service or a pre-made lasagna from the store’s fresh food section. Throw in a bottle of wine and some beer, put on some great music, and make dinner together—it’s much more fun anyway.
For an easy breakfast, make sure you’re stocked up on essentials like coffee, bread, butter, milk, fruit, and eggs. Add some maple syrup and you’ve got French toast.
4. Go with the flow
If your guests have given you only a few hours’ notice, chances are they’ll be understanding. If your home isn’t perfectly spotless or dinner isn’t a four-course meal, there’s no need to worry. Enjoy the time with your company because hospitality is really about people, not about how formal it is or how much time you spent pulling it all together. After all, some of the best get togethers are spontaneous.
Another fab tip? Here is How To Chill a Bottle of Wine or Champagne in 6 Minutes!
Matilda Davies lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she writes about great homes, health, and wellness. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, hiking, and walking her dogs.