Did you know that out of all the months of the year, July ranks third in popularity?
According to Ranker, a website that polls millions on everything from film to sports to food, July even topped December, which clocked in at fourth; May secured the top spot, while June came in second.
Regardless of where you stand in this debate, we can’t deny that July is pretty swell. (Yes, it can also be sweltering.) But high heat aside, this month does carry an array of undeniable perks: For starters, there’s the 4th of July holiday, the three Bs (boats, beaches, and BBQ), and the joy of a warm July night is simply unparalleled.
And all the above usually leads to one thing:
The guests are coming. I repeat: THE GUESTS ARE COMING!
Whether your abode boasts a backyard oasis, a plain ‘ol porch, or a DIY fire pit, chances are probably fair that you’ll play host at some point this month. And even if your get-together is outdoors, guests will still be traipsing through your home to use your bathroom or fetch more ice for the cooler.
That means, unless mitigated, your home’s messes and clutter will be on full display. According to professional organizer Meredith Goforth and Imane Fiocchi, founder of Neon Lace, a textile and dye studio that specializes in table linens and kitchen accessories, here’s what tends to be most noticeable:
Small Piles of Mess
If they’re small, they can’t possibly be a big deal…right? Not so, says Goforth. And that’s because these small piles have become common blind spots to us, but they stick out to guests immediately. “We become accustomed to clutter in certain areas of the home,” Goforth says. “Piles of shoes by the door, stacks of mail on the counter, or pet hair that always lingers on the couch.” These are the kinds of things that stick out to fresh eyes.
There’s one room in the house that requires a more thorough cleaning, Goforth says, because guests will absolutely notice a dirty bathroom. “To go the extra mile, I also like to organize the bathroom cabinets with anything a guest may go looking for—like pain reliever, mouthwash, or feminine hygiene products,” Goforth says.
Think about it: A large portion of how a visitor views your home is predicated on what they see as soon as they walk in. Says Goforth, “The front entryway is your home’s first impression—and you shouldn’t forget to keep it tidy and fresh.” To spruce things up, she recommends adding seasonal décor and a clean doormat and removing any kids’ toys or dead plants. Fiocchi agrees. “There are two major culprits that often affect your entryway: shoes and packages,” she warns.
This area can be difficult to camouflage—especially during colder months when hanging up guests’ jackets and coats are a necessity. But even in the summer—when you may not even open a closet, guests will surely notice a closet’s inability to close properly because of the hoodie, softball bat, stray boot—you name it—that’s this close to tumbling out.
Goforth acknowledges that keeping your kitchen tidy can be tricky because, she says, “if you’re serving any food, it’s impractical to expect a sparkling kitchen.” Therefore, some signs of food and drink preparation are unavoidable—and entirely acceptable. However, that’s no excuse to make a massive mess, either. Goforth’s advice? Think: clean surfaces and clear clutter.
When all else fails, the duo offers these nuggets of conciliatory advice: “If you don’t have any overnight guests, bedroom doors can stay closed,” Goforth says. She also notes that playrooms are allowed to be reasonably messy—especially if it’s a kid-free event. Fiocchi adds that even pet toys are granted some leeway. Finally, there’s this: “No one really cares about the garage,” Fiocchi argues. “So, when all else fails, just store all the mess in there.”
Courtney Conover is wife, mom, yoga instructor, and Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor who has called Wayne home since 1995.