If you’re having guests over and you only have time to clean one room, make it the bathroom.
It happens. Maybe your meeting at work ran way late, or that chicken cacciatore recipe that was supposed to take 20 minutes ended up taking 80.
Forget the bedroom — just shut and lock that cave of doom and hope that your best friend’s new girlfriend won’t ask for a tour. Skip the kitchen sink — it will be piled with more dirty dishes very soon.
The guest bathroom, so often overlooked, is the space where you should channel your focus. Rico Gagliano, co-host of the “The Dinner Party Download” and co-author of the new book Brunch Is Hell: How to Save the World by Throwing a Dinner Party, shared this advice on WBUR’s Hear & Now podcast, explaining that if you do this thing, “done at least most of your due diligence.” He’s right.
Away from the distractions of chatter and charcuterie, this is the one place in the house where your guests will be left in stillness, left to notice, left to silently judge. Yes, they will see that cobweb under the toilet, the one you’ve stepped around for the past seven months. Yes, they will look at the bits of mildew around the sink stopper. They will know that your crumpled hand towel hasn’t been changed in a while. They always know.
But you can fix this. The guest bathroom is usually a smallish space that you can freshen up quickly. If you have 10 minutes, you can use glass cleaner on the mirrors, wipe down your faucet, change out the almost-empty roll of toilet paper for a new plump one, vacuum up the hairs on the tile, and replace your hand towel for a clean one.
If you’ve got 30 minutes, holy heck, you have time to transform your bathroom into a luxurious oasis. Do you have a scented candle somewhere, one with a name like “Cosy By the Fire” or “Winter Wonderland”? Put that bad boy out. What about a little tray to place paper napkins in so your guests don’t have to touch the cooties of the their fellow dinner partygoers? Bring it. Oh, and loose seashells.
It’s a known fact: A person who has a bathroom with loose seashells is a person who has their life together.
This is your chance to shine. Don’t waste it by straightening the shoes in the entryway.