We moved into a new house recently, and after about three weeks of getting settled, we had our first house guests — my sister and her fiancé — for a whole weekend! But between stocking up on food and taking the kids to school and trying to get pictures hung before they arrived, I didn't get to the last thing on my to-do list: actually clean the house.
I fully intended to sweep and mop the floors, vacuum the rugs, clean all the dishes in the sink, and scrub the toilets. Or at least, wipe down the bathrooms with Lysol wipes. But somehow, they arrived right on time (note to future guests: Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes late if you want me to be totally ready for you), and none of that stuff got done. So the floors were dirty and the bathrooms weren't pristine. Ack!
And can you guess what happened?
On the one hand, my sister is the best person for my slacking — she's pretty low-key and forgiving, so she's unlikely to care if she happens upon a dust bunny in the hallway. But on the other hand, she'd tell me if she thought I was disgusting. So I was waiting for it … and she didn't say anything. She even seemed confident walking around with no shoes on and eating off our plates and everything. Which means she must not have been totally disgusted by our home! Or maybe it mattered more that I'd taken the time to stock the wine fridge.
All of this is simply a good reminder that when your guests come, they're there to see you, not to judge your place. There are certainly times when people will really scrutinize your space — like if you're interviewing for roommates or listing it to sell — but I'd venture that anyone you like enough to have for dinner or an overnight stay is going to be sympathetic. And they probably have an idea of your general cleanliness level already (I have some dear friends whose houses are always filthy, but I don't love them any less).
The point: When you're entertaining, it's worth stressing less and being relaxed when guests arrive. Wouldn't you rather have a host who you know isn't going to sweat the small stuff when there's a chance you'll accidentally break a wine glass anyway?
More on Cleaning for Company
Would you ever skip the cleaning frenzy before guests arrive? Or is it absolutely essential to you that the couch cushions are perfect and the counters are total clear?