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  4. How to Win at Entertaining this Season: 30 Minutes or Less to a Guest-Ready Home
  • 30 Minutes or Less to a Guest-Ready Home

    Four simple hacks will whip your place into shape for last-minute arrivals.

    Focus on clearing floor and countertops when guests pop in for a surprise visit.
    • The holidays are busy enough hosting the houseguests you expect, but how do you quickly reach a state of drop-in readiness for those who announce their arrival in the 11th hour? Here are four helpful hacks that will have your visitors believing you were planning for company all along.

    • First, clear the clutter (5 to 7 minutes).

      Open up sight lines in larger areas (countertops, floors, etc.) and your visitors will feel they’ve entered a haven of calm.

      • Line up shoes in the entryway, fold blankets over couches, etc.
      • Get a few “swipe bins” for stashing odds and ends away in a closet until the coast is clear. Label the bins ahead of time by room so you know what came from where. 
    • Add a little shine to the scene (7 to 10 minutes).

      Even if your space is clean as a whistle, streaks and spots on reflective surfaces create a visual distraction that can undermine your hard work.

      • Wipe down high-use areas and appliances, including bathroom mirrors and sinks, microwave, stovetop and oven front.
      • Polish stainless-steel appliances, using a soft cloth and special cleaner to gently remove fingerprints and smudges.
      • Dust off major electronics, such as flat-screen TVs and gaming consoles, with a dry microfiber cloth. 
    • Appeal to the senses (3 to 5 minutes).

      You’d be surprised how many minor cleanliness faux pas your guests will overlook if they smell something delicious and hear relaxing music playing when they walk in the door. It’s all about ambiance.

      • Freshen your air with Filtrete™ Whole House Air Freshener inserts. Attach an insert to your air filter for 30 days of slow-release fragrance to multiple rooms through air vents.
      • Keep guest linens folded, freshened and ready to go. There’s nothing more inviting than soft, clean towels folded at the foot of a guest bed or rolled on the countertop of the guest bathroom.
    • Set boundaries for guest safety—and for your sanity (5 to 8 minutes).

      It’s nobody’s business what’s really going on behind the scenes.

      • Close doors and draw curtains to help guests understand which areas are fair game and which are off-limits. You can hide all kinds of unsightly piles this way, too.
      • Clear walking paths of toys and other objects. If kids are coming over, remove items within reach that could be hot, sharp, heavy or breakable. Keep child-safety outlet covers on hand and install as needed.