You’ve been there. I know you have. We have all been in that crazed moment where you are looking around thinking, “Half an hour?!? They will be here in HALF AN HOUR?!?” You start wondering if burning the house down is a viable option. You don’t really NEED all of this stuff anyways, right?
It’s okay! Stop. Breath. You can do this! I’ve made you a fool proof list of 15 fast tasks you can “sweep under the rug” to make your house look like you are a clean, organized, functional adult… Even if you’re not. Let’s face it, even the best of us have days (weeks) when we are not living up to “normal” standards.
- Close all of the doors to non-essential rooms. Guest don’t need to see your bedroom or office, so pull the door closed. Everyone values their privacy, guests won’t think anything of it.
- Open the window blinds 3/4 of the way. This will help to hide the dust on them and the sunlight will brighten the feel of the house.
- Look up. If your ceiling fans have small furry critters clinging to the blades for dear life, turn the fans on LOW. If you turn it on too high you will send the dust bunnies flying all over the house, but on low, there should be just enough movement to help hide the nastiness.
- Take out the garbage. Self explanatory. You don’t want the guests smelling Monday night’s pot roast.
- Stash the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Clean dishes getting in your way? Use the oven! I know this sounds gross and a little crazy, but you’re desperate remember? Burning the house down and all of that? Just do it, you can clean it up later (What’s that smell?).
- Turn on the wax melters or spray a nice smelling room spray. If you don’t have either, simmer a pot of water with cinnamon and/or cloves, and a cut up apple or orange.
- Remove all of the “stuff” from the counters and surfaces. Grab a few of the thousands of shopping bags you have stashed into a crater somewhere in your kitchen and start filling. One bag per room so it is easier to put away when guests depart. If you have decorative baskets, use them and they can stay right in the room. All you have to do is fold up a throw and lay it on top. (Voila! Storage ottoman!) Set all of the bags in one of those closed-door rooms.
- Wipe down all counters and surfaces with a hot damp rag, or cleaning wipes. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You just want to get the 2 weeks of dust, and make sure your guest isn’t setting her purse down in the ketchup from your 4 year old doing it, “All. By. My. Self.” Especially if that guest is your mother-in-law (yikes!).
- Wipe down the kitchen and bathroom sinks with a magic eraser.
- Move the mountain of clean laundry from the living room to the master bedroom. Don’t pretend you don’t have one. That’s just not nice to the rest of us.
- Put out fresh hand towels in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Sweep the hard floors quickly. Don’t bother with a dust pan, just sweep your pile onto a carpet that needs vacuumed.
- Get someone to vacuum. If you’re on your own, then vacuum super fast so you just get the big stuff picked up (including your sweeping piles) and leave behind some lines in the carpet (oooh, pretty).
- Pull the shower curtain closed. Make sure the curtain is on the outside of the tub if it is clean enough at the bottom. I have an inside liner and a nice fabric outside curtain specifically for this purpose. Then I know it always looks nice.
- Quickly brush the toilet clean with a quick squirt of cleaner. Flush. Wipe down the outside of the toilet with a damp cloth or disinfectant wipe or toilet paper if that’s all you have near.
DONE! It’s up to you to make it fun! Your favorite music at full blast, catchy tunes or even challenges with the kids to see who can clean up their room the fastest ! Cleaning becomes immediately more pleasant, doesn’t it?
Now you can spend the remaining moments cleaning yourself up in the bathroom mirror. When your guests arrive, you can greet them with a smile and a freshly washed face.