Five Habits Of People Who Are Always Guest-Ready

Learn the five habits you can adopt to have a cleaner and more guest-ready house all the time.

It’s 4:30 in the afternoon. You’re in the middle of a major craft project. I’m talking paint, glue, paper, and jute string all over the dining room table. The kids are playing that fun game of “scatter the Legos everywhere” that all kids seem to know about. And the dishes from lunch are still {dirty} in the sink. All is fine and well. It’s a small disaster but who cares? No one will see it.

Then the phone rings. Your mother-in-law and her best friend are stopping by to drop off some goodies from their latest Farmers Market run. You panic.

You frantically run around the house throwing things into bedrooms and hiding them behind closed doors. You freak out on your kids and threaten the fastest game of Lego clean up ever.

And in ten minutes, when your surprise guests arrive, you’ve just barely had time to put on a bra and sweep half of the entryway. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Is An Always-Clean House Really Possible?

Guess what? There is a way to avoid this mini panic attack.

I’m sure you’ve surprise-visited someone before and their home looked like it had just been photographed for a magazine feature. And you were slightly jealous and slightly convinced that they have some kind of super power that allows them to clean super fast.

Well they probably don’t have super powers. And they probably didn’t sprint laps around the house before you got there either. They just developed some daily habits to keep their home neat and tidy all the time.

And I know what you’re thinking… “I have kids and pets and a full time job. This won’t work for me.” You’re wrong. It works for anyone and everyone, including me, the mom of a 7th grader, the owner of five pets that shed like a wool rug, and the full time employee of not one but two jobs.

small guest bathroom storage

5 Steps To An Always-Clean’ish House

1.  Wipe down counters every night. Even if you didn’t cook in your kitchen. And even if you didn’t go into your guest bathroom. Wipe down counters every single night. Clean and cleared-off counters instantly makes a room look neater.

2.  Put things away when you’re done with them. This sounds so simple, and it really is.

Finished with the scissors? Put them back in the office drawer. Done snuggling up under a fuzzy blanket? Fold it up and put it away. Brought in the mail? Sort it out and file accordingly.

If everything that isn’t in use is always put away, you’ll never have a mess.

3.  Use a cleaning schedule.  Having a specific schedule for when and how you will clean your home saves you from cramming the whole task list into one day. Here’s a great tutorial on making one yourself.

4.  Have storage for your storage.  A well-organized space allows for everything to have a home.  Things pile up and create messes when they don’t have a designated spot.

So spend a weekend organizing every inch of your house. Containers, drawers, baskets, lidded ottomans, under-bed carts, and wall hooks are great ways to hide all your “stuff”.  It sounds daunting at first, but you only have to do it once. And the reward is instant and lasts forever.

5. Know that everyone understands you live there.  You don’t live in a museum.  Kids are messy. Pets shed fur. You use your kitchen to cook meals. You use your bedroom for sleeping and changing clothes. Your friends and family know that.

So when they show up unexpectedly and there’s a giant sheet fort in the living room, there’s no need to be embarrassed. That’s what homes are for. Nobody has a spotless home all the time. Be okay with it.

Be A Superhero

Give these new habits a try and stick with them. It takes a few weeks to get in the swing of it, but it will come naturally to you soon, I promise.

And one day someone will be jealous of your always-clean home and think you have super speed powers, too. A little advice, just let them think it. It’s nice to be a superhero every once in a while.

Need A Little Push To Get Your Home Clean & Organized?

Grab my free 28 Day Declutter Challenge for a mini decluttering project every day for a month. They only take a max of 15 minutes each and in thirty days your home will be SO much cleaner, neater, and less stressful.

You can pick up that freebie by popping your email address in the box below and I’ll send it right over. No strings attached.

Updated September 21, 2020. Original post from May 2016.


  1. These are great ideas!

    I would love your help with number 2 – Put things away when you’re done with them. What do you recommend to do if you haven’t finished with something but you need to stop do get dinner or go to work?

    We always have things on our coffee table we haven’t finished with but don’t live there as we have run out of time and don’t want to forget. I almost always don’t have time to pick up the mail, pay the bill that’s arrived and file it straight away, so it ends up sitting in the pending pile. Please let me know what you think as it seems to be our biggest problem!

    • Lela Burris

      Hi Emma! I recommend having a basket or tray for things that are still in progress. Then just set a reminder in your phone to check the basket/tray every evening at a time when you’re not busy, like while kids are getting showers or after cleaning up from dinner.

  2. I love this! My husband thinks I’m silly for cleaning the counters every night! 🙂 But I’m the first one up in the mornings and don’t want to wake up to a mess! Great reminder that we LIVE in our homes…and my kids’ block-castle is the coolest part of my family room decor! 😉 Thanks for the great tips!

    • You are SO right! They worked hard on that castle! Show it off! And my husband thinks I’m silly for a lot of things. I’m pretty sure he just stopped trying to figure out why I do some things.

  3. Great ideas! I try to tidy rooms as I go through them and make sure the table and counters are wiped off after every meal. I don’t always get around to vacuuming or dusting like I should but like you said we don’t live in a museum. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing at Manic Monday Linky party, hope to see you next week!

  4. Sandra gandy

    great ideas.

Leave A Comment