Wednesday, October 19, 2011

{6 Steps To Prepare for Company}

{A repost today, brushing up on my technique before we welcome guests next week!}

My In Laws are coming into town next week!  I am excited to shop for and carve pumpkins, go on a picnic or two and, most importantly, spend quality time bonding with these people who are so important to us.

 Keeping up with daily life plus preparing for company can be daunting, but I have a rhythm that I usually follow with excellent results.  Here are my 6 Steps to Prepare for Company - a Timeline.

1) One week before company arrivalArrange for a donation pick up (if you have that in your area, we donate to the Purple Heart).  Most can be scheduled within days of setting it up.  I find this to be enormously helpful.  While you clean your house and do your laundry this week, use it as an opportunity to get rid of any clutter you come across.

2) 5 days before arrival: Do all the family laundry, sheets and towels.  Get those hampers completely empty of any wash you've been neglecting.  Keep them empty by doing a load a day here on out.  This helps keep down the clutter as well as ensure that everyone has the clothes they need when you take a few days off to entertain.  No one likes hearing "Moooom, I don't have any socks!" when you are spending time with guests!

3) 4 days before arrivalTackle the kids' rooms.  In all likelihood, no one will be going into the bedrooms, but better safe than sorry!  Also using company as a motivator works well around here to finally get these rooms clean.  We use this as an excuse to really go through toys and adding to the donation pile.  Sternly instruct all to keep their rooms picked up as best they can and patrol them nightly.  Clean out the fridge to prepare for day 3.

4) 3 days before arrival: Plan your meals and do your shopping.  In addition to regular meals, remember snacks and beverages.  We like to buy disposable silverware and plates if we want to go on a picnic, or just to cut down on extra dishwashing when company is here.  Make your plan of what gets cooked when and stick to it!  Also - keep the kids and wayward husbands away from special snacks!  I have been known to hide specialty items that I don't want eaten prematurely.

5) 2/1 days before arrival: Have your kids help while you do the dusting and wiping down of any woodwork.  Anything you feel comfortable doing this far in advance is great - with small kids I cannot reasonably expect that floors or bathrooms will stay clean this long before the big day, so I do those later.  Do any advance cooking that needs to be done - casseroles can usually be assembled a few days before they are cooked and stored in the fridge.  Cakes and cookies also keep well.  If your company is staying with you, now is the time to have your guest area completely set up and have everything they need available.

6) Day of arrival: If your company isn't arriving til the afternoon, like mine usually doesn't, spend the last morning lightly tidying up.  This is when I run my last load of laundry, do a last walk through of all the rooms, and usually finish up the bathrooms and steam mop the floors.  Any "day of" cooking that needs to be done can happen during this time.  I also famously get a special movie for my kids to watch so that they are occupied and don't make too much of a mess.

The most important thing to remember is that the people who are coming to visit are coming to see YOU!  Most people are very sweet and helpful and just thrilled to be with you, so don't stress out too much.  Remember to have a good time!


How do YOU get ready for company?  Any tips for me?

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  1. My mom just visited for the week last week. And although I tried to do most of the tips you mentioned, it was also nice to know that because it was "mom" coming, things didn't have to be in perfect shape. While she was here, she helped me with things around the house; which was a nice activity to share together while we talked, prayed and laughed. I always make sure to have a vase of flowers and a bible for her on her bedside table. Simple. Enjoy your time with your in-laws.

  2. Thanks for visiting, Carol! You are right, when it is "mom" we can all relax a bit! Most of the reason I go so nuts with prep is so that I can truly enjoy my time with guests and not think "hmmm, when was the last time that bathroom was cleaned?" It is almost more for me than it is for them!!

  3. Lovely, helpful post! Thanks so much! (Sorry, no tips, we rarely have guests over.)

  4. This is great- I'm going to be using this list to get ready for a potluck we're having next weekend. But, I'm searching around for how to schedule a pickup and I can't seem to find anything for our area. Where can I find this info?




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