Have you ever noticed that the afternoon your friends unexpectedly pop by happens to be when your house is at its dirtiest and most cluttered? Or how about that last-minute call from your in-laws who are passing through town and want to stop by for just a minute? If you’ve found yourself in similar situations, you know how stressful it can be to look around the house and see that your place is obviously not guest-ready and you know your maid service won’t be here until tomorrow.
Use these handy quick cleaning tips and a cleaning checklist to get your home back in shape—fast. Keep in mind that these handy tips give the appearance of a clean and tidy home. They’ll get your home just clean enough to pass all but the most stringent “home inspections” and leave your guests thinking you have it all together.
All that clutter by the front door, on the livingroom table stand and in other areas can make your home look dirtier than it actually is. Hide that clutter where your guests are unlikely to venture like a bedroom or closet. If there’s a chance your unexpected guests may go into your bedroom, under the bed and in your closets are perfect places to stash all that clutter.
Recruit any help you can like spouses, roommates or the kids. Even a small child can pick up clutter and get it out of sight with a little direction. That extra help may give you just enough time to catch your breath before you answer the door! Start at the front of the house and get rid of any clutter in the entryway. Move on to the rooms that your guests will probably see and start decluttering.
In the living room, fluff and straighten sofa pillows, fold blankets, stack magazines and put the kids’ toys away. Head to the kitchen and clear off the counters, straighten bar stools and put away any small appliances. In the bathrooms, put clothes and towels in the hamper and straighten any bottles around the sink. Once you’ve gotten rid of the clutter, it’s time to use some quick cleaning tips to get your home ready for your unexpected guests.
Speedy Kitchen Cleanup
Nothing says “unprepared” like a sink full of dirty dishes. Even if you only have 10 minutes to get your place ready, there’s no excuse for not getting rid of that eyesore. If it’s empty, put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. If the dishwasher is full, you can put those dirty dishes in the oven or an empty cabinet. Remember—our goal is to create the impression of a clean house.
Grab a microfiber cloth and dampen it. Wipe down the counters, the front of the fridge, around the sink and any other visible smudged surfaces. Microfiber is perfect for quick cleanups because all you need is a little water and elbow grease to get rid of most dust, dirt and grime. If the kitchen floor has food particles and debris, at least sweep everything to the edges.
Give Your Bathroom a Quick Shine
I know you’ll be in a hurry, but don’t skimp on this one because your guests will almost certainly use the bathroom. Start by closing the shower curtain to hide any clutter around the tub or shower. Use a clean, damp microfiber towel to wipe down the mirror first, then the sink, faucet and vanity. If your family uses bar soap, hide it inside the shower.
Give the toilet bowl a quick scrub with a toilet brush and wipe the top and sides of the toilet with your microfiber cloth. Crank up your diffuser or sprinkle some essential oils in the sink to give your bathroom a fresh scent.
Use the Art of Distraction
If you’re running out of time quickly, use the art of distraction to give your place a tidy and welcoming look. Flowers from your yard in a mason jar can instantly give your kitchen a fresh, clean feel. A white dinner plate with colorful fruit on your dinner table will attract attention away from areas that might be dusty or dirty.
A spritz of your favorite natural scents near the front door and in other strategic areas will create pleasant, inviting scents that will catch your guests‘ attention. Don’t go overboard! Avoid scents that clash and use them sparingly so that you don’t overwhelm your guests with aroma overload. A quick way to give the whole house a cozy feel is to put a pot of water on the stove with cinnamon or essential oils. Keep it on low heat to create a light and pleasing scent for your whole house.
There’s no need to put a spotlight on your mess. Turn down the lights and close the blinds to give your home a cozy feel. The less light you have, the less likely your guests will see any dirt and dust. Just like with your distraction using scents, don’t overdo it. Keep the lighting just bright enough that your guests won’t be suspicious!
Kitchen, bathrooms and living room decluttered and looking good? Check. Pleasant scents wafting through the air? Check. Diversions in place? Check. Now do a quick scan around the house to catch anything you’ve missed and get ready to answer the door because your guests will be here any minute.
Be Prepared for the Unexpected
While the above tips will help you get your home in order quickly, a little advanced planning goes a long way toward reducing the stress of unexpected guests next time. Stop by your local dollar store the next time you’re out and grab a cleaning caddy. You’re going to stock it with the bare necessities you’ll need for speed cleaning. Once you have it all together, keep your cleaning caddy under the sink or in a hall closet for quick and easy access. Then, when you get that surprise phone call or text, you’ll be ready to leap into action and get your home looking and smelling clean fast.
Here are some of the must-haves for your quick cleaning caddy:
Non-scratch cleaning pad
Essential oils or other natural fragrance
The next time you find yourself in that awkward unexpected guests and dirty house situation, use these quick cleaning tips to get your home ready. Just don’t have the time? Give The Maids a call to find out if same-day service is available in your neighborhood.