1. Put a bunch of shit in jars.
You know when you buy rice, pasta, or grains, they come in perfectly good plastic packaging? Well throw them out, pour the contents into big jars, and put them on display. This shows that you are a good homemaker with a sense of rustic, country charm.
2. Put some big bottles of mineral water in the fridge.
Your guests don’t need to know that you usually drink water out of the kitchen tap. If you really want to wow them, when you give them a glass of water, just give them the sparkling stuff without even mentioning it. They’ll think you drink fancy water ALL THE TIME.
3. Clean your bathroom.
That’s right. I said it. Don’t look at me like that. At the very least, squirt some bleach in the toilet, wipe down the mirror, and make your sink taps shiny. Admit it, the bathroom was overdue for a clean anyway.
4. Hide your disgusting toothbrush.
When guests come over, it is opposite day for the bathroom. Take all the stuff you actually use off the vanity and chuck it in the cupboard. Then take all the stuff you never use out of the cupboard and display it. Most of these things will be gifts from people who don’t know you that well or miniature hand creams you’ve swiped from hotels. Now’s their time to shine.
5. Put some leafy herbs in jars of water.
Buy some basil, parsley, and coriander and then put them in jars of water for that “I totally grew these myself” vibe. Also handy for sprinkling liberally over all the burnt bits of the dinner.
6. Cover your couch with throw pillows.
You can get some custom cushions pretty cheap online that will make it look like you care about colours and design and shit. They’ll serve the double purpose of hiding the stains from when you fell asleep watching Desperate Housewives with a beer in your hand.
7. Put a hardcover book on your bedside table with a bookmark in it.
You were never going to read Crime and Punishment, but you may as well make it look like you did.
8. Get the biggest bowl in your house and fill it with lemons.
“Better get this out of the way,” you can say just before you sit down for dinner to make sure everyone has seen it, and then never mention it again. Everyone will assume you have jars of homemade lemon curd in your pantry.
9. Show your green thumb.
See this plant? It’s called a jade plant and it is IMMORTAL. One of your neighbours also has it growing in their front yard and they probably won’t mind if you snap off a couple of branches as you walk home from the bus stop. Then when you get home, stick the branches in some different glass bottles and display them around the house.
If that fails, a collection of twigs in a wine bottle will totally do the trick.
10. Dim the lights.
If they can’t see the dust, technically it’s not there. Put a couple of scented candles in the bathroom and leave the lights off.
12. Pretend you can’t remember what wine you have.
If you say something like, “I think I’ve got some cab sav in the cupboard” it will look like you didn’t just buy that bottle before your guests came over.
13. Cook a roast.
Nothing makes you look more like a Genuine Adult than doing a roast. Put some meat and veggies in one of those disposable foil pans and you can have it in the oven an hour and a half before your guests come. That will give you enough time to wash the dishes and polish off a bottle of wine before they arrive.
14. Don’t bother baking a terrible cake for dessert.
A couple of blocks of dark chocolate broken into shards and a plate of fresh fruit tastes great, and no one has to pretend they like it.
15. Overwhelm your guests by offering them many types of tea.
“Tea? Sure! We’ve just got green, peppermint, chamomile, lady grey, irish breakfast, elderberry, lemon and mandarin, licorice, jasmine, rooibos, cinnamon, or lemongrass.”
Just make up the first 10 and end up with the three you actually have in your cupboard; they’ll have forgotten the others by then.