An old friend calls and says she’s in the neighborhood and wants to drop by in 20 minutes. Or you arrive home late from work just before a scheduled holiday dinner party – that you’re hosting! You look around your house and wonder how you’re going to get it clean in just a matter of minutes. Here are some quick clean tips to tidy up before your guests arrive…
First, do a quick de-clutter:
Nothing makes a house look messier than clutter! Grab a laundry basket or a sack and go room by room gathering up random items scattered around. Don’t worry about putting them away. Just stow the basket or the sack out of sight until after the guests leave.
Quick clean the living room:
- Reserve one side of sofa cushions to be shown to guests. Before company arrives, flip over the cushions to reveal good-as-new fabric. When guests are gone, flip them back.
- Rid the sofa of pet hair by wetting the fingertips of rubber gloves and gliding your hand over the sofa. The hair will stick to the rubber.
- Strategically place throw pillows to hide any stains on your couch.
Tackle the bathroom:
- Grab disinfecting wipes or a cleaning cloth and all-purpose spray. Wipe down all the surfaces quickly.
- In a pinch, stash any clutter on the counter in a drawer… or toss it all in a container that you can store either under the sink or in the bath tub with the shower curtain closed.
- Change the trash.
- Quickly wipe down the mirror.
- Make sure there is hand soap, a hand towel, and toilet paper accessible.
- Lastly, light a candle… everything looks better (and smells better) by candlelight.
Clean the kitchen:
- Wipe down all surfaces with a cleaning cloth.
- Load the dishwasher with dirty dishes.
- If the dishwasher is full and the sink is overflowing, rinse off dirty dishes and pile them nicely in the sink or on the counter. One clever idea is to stow dirty dishes and silverware in a large stockpot and pull them out later to be cleaned.
- Cover up the lingering aroma of last night’s dinner by boiling nutmeg, cloves, or cinnamon and orange peels in a sauce-pan on the stove.
- Declutter the refrigerator by taking down notes, drawings, and magnets and throwing them in a plastic bag. Sort through it later.
Tidy up your home office:
- Stash stray office supplies, like pencils and pens, in decorative stationery boxes or filing containers on your desk. Sort and organize them later.
- Rearrange crooked books so that all spines are facing the same direction and the titles all read from top to bottom.
- Temporarily hide wayward Post-it notes and to-do lists underneath the keyboard or in a drawer.
Pick up the kids’ room:
- Stow pajamas under the pillow. This way, they’re off the floor and ready for later.
- Put random small toys in a handled shopping bag and hang it on a hanger or a doorknob inside the closet.
- Put homeless stuffed animals in extra pillowcases. Or prop them up behind shams.
- If your kids have a play tent, hide toys and clothes inside it.
Remember, once you’ve finished your quick cleaning and your guests arrive, don’t apologize for the state of your home! Guests come to see the host/hostess, not the house. Unexpected company, especially, will understand if everything isn’t perfect.