When it comes to planning ahead for overnight guests, a party, friends coming over for dinner… you need to think ahead a bit and get ready for that event. Just a little pre-planning eliminates the overwhelm, the rushing around, and all the things we hate about the rush, rush, rush of the holidays. I have a simple system for how I plan ahead and clean for guests that works – this is the perfect time to try it.

If you’re new here, check out this post for how I do holiday cleaning – I keep doing the Clean Mama Cleaning Routine.

Planning ahead for guests

Block out the week before company is coming – do the normal Daily Cleaning Tasks and Weekly Cleaning Tasks. On each of those days, think ahead to something you could do to make preparing for company a little easier.

The perfect companion for your planning is the Clean Mama Homekeeping Planner – it’s perfect for keeping all of your to-dos straight in the simplest way possible. Bonus:  it’s undated so you can start using it the day it arrives, not after the New Year.

Let’s say company is coming on Friday – this is how I plan ahead for guests:

Friday before: Catch-All Day Plan the menu out for the week ahead and the weekend that company will be in town.
Saturday before: Wash sheets and towels – if you have a guest room, guest bedding and towels takes priority. Make sure bedding is clean and clean towels are ready. If your guests are staying in a child’s room(s), save the bedding until the day they arrive.
Sunday before: Prep ahead any food that can be made ahead and frozen.
Monday before: Clean all the bathrooms, concentrating on the bathrooms that guests will be using. Make sure that you are stocked up on paper products – tissues, toilet paper, etc.
Tuesday before: Quickly dust the entire house making sure to dust where guests will be staying thoroughly.
Wednesday before: Vacuum the entire house thoroughly – if you have extra time, run your attachments over corners, vents, and baseboards if needed.
Thursday before: Wash floors thoroughly – if you have extra time, wash baseboards.
Friday – guests arrive: Use the 30 Minute Quick Clean Checklist below to do a quick clean through the house if needed. Do any last minute grocery shopping and food prep. Relax and enjoy your guests!

What if my house is a disaster? What should I do?

If you are reading this and thinking, this list would work for someone that has a clean house already but mine is a MESS, here’s my recommendation. Start now and spend 15-30 minutes a day on the daily tasks – concentrate half of that time on the ‘clutter’ task. Clutter is what holds us back from a clean home most of the time. Need more explanation? Head to this post about my 5 daily tasks. This post also talks about how to clean when you’re in survival mode.


Keep doing this week after week – once you feel like you have a handle on them and like you’ve cleared some clutter, do a whole house clean.

A checklist for a quick whole house clean

If you want a quick whole house style checklist, grab the 30 Minute Quick Clean on my free printables page – there’s room to add your own tasks and it’s intended to be a quick clean checklist to get ready for guests. I love it and use it anytime we have company coming over. Of course, if you have overnight guests, there might be a little more involved in getting ready and that might take a little more than 30 minutes, but this is a great reference printable and place to start. I also have a How to Speed Clean Your House printable that guides you through a process. Grab one or both, print, and get started!

Want a couple more places to check before company arrives?

  • Clean the refrigerator – empty it, wipe it out, fill it up with food for company, making sure you have some of their favorites.
  • Clean the microwave – do a quick wipe down and wash the tray.
  • Wipe door knobs and switch plates – use a wipe or a little rubbing alcohol on a cloth to clean.
  • Bed + bath prep – If you have overnight guests, make sure that you have a clean bathroom, fresh bedding, towels, paper goods, and toiletries ready for them.

How I clean while we have guests

While we have guests staying at our house I never want them to feel like they need to clean so I keep the cleaning minimal. I make sure we clean up the kitchen after meals – everyone typically helps, I toss a small load of laundry in when I can so I don’t get behind, and wipe bathroom and kitchen counters daily (not the bathroom guests use), change out kitchen and bathroom hand towels, and we pick up little messes as we go. So basically, we keep up with the 5 Daily Tasks:


I am so excited to share that your guide to quieting your home with each season – the Clean Mama Quarterly – Winter Edition is available in my shop. 18 pages of calendars, inspiration, homekeeping guides and moments for you.

Simply print off the pages and get ready to love your home this holiday season. Grab yours here!
Clean Mama Quarterly – Winter Edition