Our homes never looks as good as when company arrives. Or as worse as just a few hours before. Here’s my “fluffing” routine, as I refer to it.
Be sure the bathroom is fresh. This means wiping down the water marks around the sink, tidying up and providing fresh towels and a full roll of toilet paper. Wipe down the mirror and vacuum the exhaust vent if it needs it. And yes, scrub the toilet.
Stock the refrigerator. If serving cocktails, ensure there’s fresh citrus, filtered (fizzy) water, mixers such as cranberry juice and of course, ice. We always have a stash of cheeses and crackers ready to go at a moment’s notice. If serving wine, always keep a bottle of white or rosé in there and a red if you’re leaning that way.
Prepare your signature cocktail. This can be done in advance. Mix the ingredients in a small pitcher and place in the refrigerator. Just shake over ice when ready. More time with your guests and less time in the kitchen.
Keep the home smelling beautiful. Light your Lampe Berger an hour ahead of time and leave it on for about a half hour.
Set the scene. This is why you insisted on dimmer switches. Adjust the lighting for company – not too dim, but not too bright, depending on the time of day. Show off your artwork and dust off those tchotchkes and picture frames.
Pipe in the music. If you have a music system like Sonos, just turn it on to your favorite cocktail hour mix. Or step it up depending on the crowd. If you don’t have a system, you can easily grab a bluetooth speaker.
Fluff the pillows. You’ve been taught how to get your pillowscape just right, so put those skills to work. No one wants to see flat pillows.
Empty the dishwasher. Nobody wants to see glasses and dishes pile up. Even if you’re having people over just for drinks, a clean, empty sink is a civilized thing to have.
Get out the coasters and napkins. If you’re serving drinks and nibbles, have them out – your guests shouldn’t have to ask.
Take the dogs out. Invariably Maude and Babs decide they need to go just as guests arrive. Do it ahead of time so you don’t need to worry.
Be sure there are enough coat hangers. When guests arrive, they’ll need a place to put their belongings. Make it as easy as possible.
De-clutter! This one’s a given, and it means clearing off the countertops, coffee tables, dining tables and dog or baby toys off the floor.
and finally …
Get ready ahead of time. Do your hair, makeup and choose and outfit as early as you can. How awkward to answer the door with wet hair!