1. Have a routine in place
Every morning look around your hallway and the room where you would take someone who just droppped in. Are they reasonably clean and tidy, or would you be embarassed if someone saw them like that. I'm not advocating a deep clean every day, just 5 minutes each morning to quickly tidy them. (Note, if you have young children, don't worry about the toys that are everywhere. I for one don't mind at all if I drop in on friends with children and there are toys everywhere - it looks natural and right!)
2. Let them help you if they offer
I can almost guarantee that if I'm going to have an unexpected guest, they'll come when I'm right in the middle of something, but if they do, and they offer to help you with what you're doing, let them! If they offer, that means they are willing to help, and come on, we could all do with a bit of help from time to time.
3. Listen to people
When you are chatting with people, listen to them! They may say, "I may drop in to see you this week" or "If I'm in your neighbourhood, I'll call in to say Hi". These are warnings that this week you may have unexpected guests!
4. Be aware of times when unexpected guests are more likely
I know that I am more likely to get unexpected guests around birthdays, Easter and other holidays, when especially family like to call round to drop off presents. Don't take this as more pressure at times when you are already a bit stressed, but I always try to keep on top of housework at these times in anticipation of more guests than usual.
5. The most important tip of all - Don't apologise!
If someone drops in on you, open the door, smile, say hello and welcome them. They have come to see you and your family. They haven't come to inspect your house. And to be honest, they are probably worying about inconveniencing you. So if you start apologising for the mess and everything else that you think is wrong with your home, you are probably making them feel awkward and wishing they hadn't bothered to come. Plus, if you mention the mess, you're far more likely to draw someones attention to it.
I have two friends, one has an incredibly untidy home, but whenever I go, she never apologises for the mess, she just welcomes me in. Another friend has a lovely home that is usually no untidier than my own, but whenever I go (even when I've been invited) she apologises constantly for the mess until I feel quite uncomfortable and almost regret going.
I know who I'd rather be more like! I want my friends and family to feel welcome and wanted in my home, even when deep down I wish they hadn't chosen today to drop in!
For more tips, head on over to We are THAT Family