by JENNIFER FRAKES

We’ve all experienced this feeling at one time or another – the frazzled state of panic just moments after a phone call announcing that unexpected company is on their way. Follow these simple tips to get ready for company in under an hour. Your guests are guaranteed to think that your house always looks this good!

  • Grab a laundry basket or other large container and go through the rooms in which you will be entertaining. Since there isn’t time to make sure that everything is put in its proper place, put all old magazines, toys and other clutter in the basket.
  • Then, put the basket in your bedroom and shut the door. In fact, shut all bedroom doors.
  • Dust in the rooms where you and your guests will be, paying special attention to the TV and other electronic equipment (they tend to collect the most dust).
  • Vacuum and/or sweep the floors in those rooms.
  • Wipe down the mirror, counter, sink and toilet of the guest bathroom. Put out a fresh hand towel and make sure that there is plenty of toilet paper on the roll. Make sure to check for clothes or any unmentionables that may be in sight and put them away.
  • Sweep the bathroom floor.
  • If there are dishes in the kitchen sink, load them in the dishwasher. If there isn’t enough room in the dishwasher, rinse and stack the dishes neatly in the sink. If you have time, go back and hand wash them.
  • Wipe down the kitchen counters and sink. Sweep the floor.
  • If it’s daytime, make sure to open the blinds or curtains to let in plenty of natural light.
  • Take a minute to breathe. Check to make sure that you look presentable (and no, the old college sweatshirt with the coffee stain doesn’t count as presentable).
  • Enjoy the visit!

Here are some additional tips to make sure that you are always prepared to feed unexpected company

  • Have a box or two of mini-quiches and/or cheese pastry puffs in the freezer.  They heat up quickly and are perfect to offer as appetizers.
  • Who doesn’t love cookies?  Have premade cookie dough in your fridge.  The cookies bake in minutes and make the whole house smell delicious!
  • If you have enough space, it is always a great idea to have a frozen lasagna or other type of premade casserole in your freezer. If guests happen to be coming during the dinner hour, you will have another option besides ordering pizza.