Desperate times can call for desperate measures, especially when you only have 10-15 minutes before company arrives. Don’t beat yourself up for taking a few shortcuts. Here are my tricks for getting your home surprise-guest-ready under 20 minutes.
1. Plan Ahead
Keep a large zippered bag (like the ones duvets are sold in) and have a set of wash cloths, bath towels and hand towels. You will have clean (and stain-free!) towels in the bathrooms your guest will go into without having to rummage through your linen closet. While you’re at it, put a fresh bar of soap in the shower. This will help give the bathroom a fresh boost.
Tip: Keep several clean-smelling candles (like Clean Linen, Fresh Cotton, or soothing Lavender scents) in your arsenal. Light these when you start cleaning, and by the time your guests arrive the scent will spread throughout your house. This is totally a shameless fog and mirrors effect: a house the smells clean gives the impression that it is clean.
2. Clear out clutter
Start in one corner of the room, and move in a circle around the room. As you walk around, pick up any items on the floor, on the backs of chairs, and anything out of place (including little knick-knacks). If you have a dishwasher, empty your kitchen sink of dirty dishes and hide them inside. An oven works, too, if you don’t have a dishwasher. (Just don’t forget about your secret stash after your guests leave, or you’ll have a super hard time finding the smell of last week’s dinner.
Tip: Have baskets for last-minute stowing of toys and blankets. I have a bookshelf in our living room where I stash the dog toys out of sight. I also have a basket to store extra blankets. It’s amazing how handy a few baskets can be for making your house look tidy.
Desperate Measures: If you are super short on time, grab an empty laundry basket and dump all miscellaneous clutter into it. Hide in the laundry room or in an off-limits closet.
3. Dust from top to bottom
Always dust bookshelves, countertops, and—if in a dire state—ceiling fans before vacuuming. Try to steer clear of feather dusters that will scatter dust and create more work for you. Instead, use microfiber cloths and dusters, or better yet furniture polish to reduce the airborne dust flurries. Take a quick look at your corners, floor and ceilings, for cobwebs.
In my experience, there’s nothing worse than guests enjoying their time with you when you suddenly lean back in your seat, see a dusty ceiling fan, and pray that no one else notices.
If your ceiling fans only look dirty when company is on its way, you’re not alone. Bonus points for being short, needing a step ladder to clean the fan blades and having dust fall in your eyes. A vacuum like the Dirt Devil® 360° Reach™ has an attachment perfect for ceiling fans (with another that can also be used to dust the top of your fridge and kitchen cabinets when you’re ready for a deep cleaning).
I love how I don’t need a ladder to clean the blades. It suctions up the big dust bunnies so the dust never hits my mouth (or eyes).
While you’re at it, run the portable vacuum quickly between couch cushions for those sneaky crumbs of food.
4. Motivate Yourself
Who says it has to be boring? Make sure you have music to help keep you moving (and help you keep track of time!). HGTV’s blog has an excellent list of tunes sure to make cleaning just a tad more fun.
5. Don’t Forget About Yourself!
You did it! Don’t let your guests find you all flustered and unkept. (I’m totally guilty of this myself. Sometimes I look like the cleaning lady and not the hostess!) Find a few minutes for yourself. If you need a shower, keep it under 1 minute. Dry off, brush your hair, and dab on some CC cream. Finish off with a bold lipstick and a flattering outfit. Now you look as good as your house does!
Do you have any tips on how to
save face get your house ready for those surprise visits?
If you want your own Dirt Devil 360° Reach, the special package price of $149.99 is available at http://buydirtdevil.com and includes an additional attachment package valued at $75 (while supplies last).
P.S. Be sure to visit my other cleaning tips too!