NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

July 10, 2013

A half-hour to prepare for guests? Some tips

Summer is the season of inviting friends over for impromptu barbecues and last-minute, casual get-togethers. That means it’s also the season of cringing when you realize your house is in no condition to be seen by the guests who will be arriving any minute now.

On summer evenings, “My husband will invite people over after golf,” says interior designer Mallory Mathison. “He’ll call and say, ‘We’ll all be there in 30 minutes.’”

That’s when she begins rushing around, quickly prepping their home for the soon-to-arrive guests.

What’s the best way to use that half-hour or so before the doorbell rings to get even the messiest home party-ready? Try breaking it down like this:

10 minutes of cleaning

“Most people don’t mind clutter,” says Evette Rios, a lifestyles blogger and a correspondent on ABC’s “The Chew.” ‘‘But they mind grime.”

So focus on wiping surfaces in your kitchen and bathrooms. Then grab an old sock or pair of pantyhose, and use that to quickly dust surfaces in your living room and dining room.

Save time by cleaning only the rooms guests will enter, suggests Donna Smallin, founder of unclutter.com. And don’t feel obligated to give anyone a full-scale tour of your home.

Got dishes in the sink? There’s no time to wash them, so Smallin suggests keeping an empty bin available for stashing dirty dishes under your sink. Or stash them in the oven, assuming you won’t use it during the party. (Just be sure to pull them out and wash them the following morning.)

Rios points out that having your dishwasher empty when the party is over will be helpful. But don’t hesitate to fill it with dirty dishes if necessary.

If you have carpets, a minute of quick vacuuming in major traffic areas can make a difference, Rios says, especially if you sprinkle on a bit of carpet deodorizer.

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