According to, a house can be whipped into shape for guests in less than an hour if we have a plan. “Focus your efforts where they’re really going to show,” advises interior designer Paula Jhung.

Start in the foyer by decluttering. Your entrance should look inviting with fresh flowers, rid of spider webs, and debris. It’s the entrance that gives folks a first impression of who you are, how you take care of things, and will our guests want to linger there. “You want to make sure that you get things clean that are closer to eye-level,” she adds. ‘Dust horizontal surfaces, check the floor for dust bunnies, then move on to the bathrooms.’

“Ironically, this area — not the kitchen or the living room — is where you want to be the most fastidious,” says Jhung. “People are in there with blaring light, with no one else around and they can see everything,” she says. Focus instead on the things most people will actually use — the toilet, mirror, sink and counter. Spray bleach/whitening cleaner in, around, and on the front of the toilet AND the sink especially if your facilities are a tad…how do I say this….aged. Remembering that eyes go up and then down, sweep the dust away from the intake vents and for goodness sake, put some clean smelling (not fruity) air fresheners behind the doors in every bathroom in the house. Wipe down the doorknobs, and make sure it’s stocked with napkins, toilet paper, and have a place for a lady to put down or hang up her purse.

I remember cleaning Baby Girl’s room all night long while she slept.  The mess didn’t bother her, but it made me nuts. I was sick and tired of her bedroom being the topic of every conversation. Honestly, it was more like a monologue….me fussing, her listening. Though she felt she had done her part, it was not up to Mama’s code. Since it was bothering only me, I served her and me by taking it on. I love this girl like nobody’s business, so I put on the headphones of my Walkman (now I’ve dated myself!) and cleaned all around her while she slept. Everything but the vacuuming.  The next morning, she was delighted to do the vacuuming and my brain was no longer distracted by the hot mess of a middle schooler’s bedroom. We certainly had better things to talk about and now I could.

This Sunday is Palm Sunday with little people parading with palm branches and our music department presenting an Easter program followed by Resurrection Sunday and all that goes along with that. Company’s coming! Yesterday, I picked up a slew of fresh rain air fresheners at Dollar Tree and Publix had bleach cleaners on sale at three for five dollars. Wearing the gloves of hospitality, I spent some time this morning getting ‘our house’ ready for company.

Yes, there may be a custodian, but I put on fresh eyes, rubber gloves, and instead of wishing someone else would ‘take care of that’, I did what it took to make ‘our home’ ready for guests and company….up to Mama’s code.

“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9