Entertaining and opening up your home to friends and family should be a happy experience. I suspect, however, that for many wondering exactly how to declutter your home in time to be ready for company is stressful and leads to that inevitable last-minute dash to simply hide clutter in absolutely any nook and cranny you can find with no discretion at all as to what is going where.
First off, I’d like to remind you that true friends are visiting you and don’t expect magazine perfection.
Second, stashing away clutter in a frenzied way may solve an immediate desire to have a pretty, welcoming home for guests in as short a time as possible – but doing so will likely create even more stress down the road: lost bills, missed deadlines, and all sorts of other avoidable irritations.
Here’s a better approach for how to declutter your home fast (but smart) when company is on their way:
How to Declutter Your Home Fast in 3 Simple Steps
STEP 1 – ASSESS.
The first step for any project (no matter how much time you have) is to be strategic. Slow down, take a deep breath and take a few moments to think about what you’re about to do and make a plan.
How much time do you have? Obviously there’s a big difference in what can be done in 1 hour vs. 1 day! Be realistic. No matter how much time you think you have – it’s likely less.
What is good enough? Hosting your boss and business colleagues may call for a bit more “polish” than hosting immediate family and close friends.
STEP 2 – PICK YOUR SPOTS.
As much as you may want to, it’s not likely your entire home needs decluttering. Well, it may – but right now remember you’re simply getting ready for current company. Again, be strategic and simply focus on the hot spots.
Is your company coming for dinner? Or spending the night? Focus your energy only on the areas where your guests will spend time. More than likely the kitchen/dining room, main living area, guest bath and possibly a guest room. There’s no need to stress over any part of the house you can simply shut off from your guests. If a guest decides to wander deeper into your home and sees “the mess” – they’re likely family or close friends who’ve seen it all already!
STEP 3 – READY … SET… GO.
Now that you’ve made a plan and know your hot spots, it’s time to actually gather your clutter. Notice how, despite being short on time, this step comes last!
The best way to declutter smart is to gather and stash your stuff by category. Here are a few suggested categories. Select whichever makes most sense to you and fits your specific situation:
By Room – Pass through your hot spots and gather everything that belongs in another room (one pile per room). Go ahead and take the items to their proper rooms. If you have time to continue to put things away in their proper room – great! If not, tuck your piles away to deal with after guests leave. At least everything will be in the right room.
By Person – Pass through your hot spots and gather anything out of place that belongs to anyone living in your home – including yourself (one pile per person). Each person can then take responsibility for continuing to deal with their belongings. If necessary, items can be tucked away in a logical spot (possibly a bedroom) to be dealt with after guests leave.
By Topic – Pass through your hot spots and gather anything out of place and group by broad topic (one pile per topic): Bills, Mail and Other Papers, Clothes/Shoes, Knick-Knacks, Office Supplies. You get the idea. If you have to stash your stuff until company leaves, try and find a spot closest to where each category actually belongs. This will make life so much easier when you move on to the next step of actually dealing with the stuff!
So now you should be able to relax and welcome your guests into a peaceful, decluttered space. Enjoy!
One last note: The work you’ve done up to this point is only a temporary fix. Please don’t skip the next step of pulling out your strategically stashed clutter and returning each item to its proper home.
Do you want help getting control of your clutter so you never have to scramble last minute to declutter your home for visitors again? Check out my program, The DIY Approach, where I help you create a personalized 30-day action plan to get organized!
Hi, I’m Kim Cossette Andre, owner of The Organized Approach. I work with busy, overwhelmed women, just like you, who strive to be organized but simply need a helping hand to get there. Ready to tackle your organizing goals? Schedule a free call!