It’s happened to nearly everyone at some point – your house is a mess, you haven’t cleaned in days and Aunt Jane calls and says she is just around the corner and stopping by to visit. You look around your home as panic sets in and realize there is no possible way to clean the mess in 10 minutes.
Fortunately, there are some simple tricks that will help you whip your house into shape and make your guests think you’ve recently cleaned.
Keep an empty laundry basket on hand for those unexpected visitors. Grab it and run through the main rooms in your home that people see and toss whatever is laying out in the basket. Stash the basket in a closet until the guests leave and then return items to their proper places.
This is good for hiding:
- Kids’ toys
- Kitchen counter clutter
- Drinking cups that haven’t been taken to the dishwasher
- Newspaper or mail
Wipe Obvious Surfaces
How closely do you look at other people’s houses when you go to visit them? More than likely, you glance around and then focus on your friend or family member.
Because most people aren’t going to put on white gloves and run their hand across the top of your fridge, you can get by with grabbing a bottle of your favorite all-purpose spray cleaner and touching up surfaces that are most obvious, such as:
- Kitchen counters
- Dining room table
- Front of the fridge
- Coffee table
- Guest bathroom mirrors and counter
Remember, you aren’t trying to wipe up every little smudge. You’re just trying to make your house presentable, so spray and wipe as quickly as possible.
The Smell of Cleaning
Once you’ve picked up the obvious clutter, you can make your house smell as though you’ve been cleaning for hours with a simple trick.
Grab a sponge, place it in your kitchen sink and soak it in your favorite cleaner. Some cleaners are stronger than others, and you obviously want to pick something with a citrus scent over ammonia. Some scents that work well include:
- Mountain fresh
I prefer using essential oils but you can use any nice smelling cleaner.
Embrace the Mess
Another scenario involves you answering the door only to find someone you know on your doorstep with no warning at all. Instead of hanging your head in shame, invite the person in.
More than likely, they really just want to see you and your house isn’t as bad as you think it is. Even if it is, they really should have warned you before dropping by.
Instead of being embarrassed, just laugh and say something like:
- This is a house with kids. Can you tell?
- We’ve been busy making memories and haven’t had time to clean.
A good idea is to keep one room in your house as clean as possible at all times. If it is the first room guests see, even better. Invite them in, offer them a seat, something to drink and try to avoid the rest of the house.
Instead of being mortified when you’re caught with a messy house, know that everyone has been through the same thing at one time or another. Relax and just enjoy your loved one’s company. There will be time to clean later.
What are your tips to clean your house fast?
Share in the comments below!
Ali Lawrence is the home editor for Kokoa Magazine and blogger at Homey Improvements. In her free time, she enjoys cooking healthy meals in her apple-red kitchen and binge watching TV shows. Find her on Google+.
I had a good laugh at myself while reading this. I kept thinking about how I have scrambled to get things in order so many times in the past when I have had unexpected guests! Thanks for that laundry basket tip…..Have to get myself an extra waste basket 🙂
🙂 Thanks for visiting, Keesha!
Great suggestions. I usually try to keep the kitchen and bath, the first rooms people see (and use) clean – the rest of the house will get a cleaning once a week or so.
I like your sponge idea and will definitely use that one. Although like you, I would use essential oil (lavender) since I prefer not to use chemicals.
The kitchen and bath are KEY to ensuring a clean home, Lenie! I completely agree with you. If you have a dirty bathroom, chances are the house is pretty dirty, too. Thanks for stopping by!
Hello Ali and Jillian,
I have a confession to make. I don’t have kids and I’m not married so it’s not to say that my house isn’t clean from time to time but a dust feather here and there across a few table tops and people walk in thinking my house is clean. There is a difference between being clean and being organized.
That’s how I am, very organized so everything has it’s place and it’s rarely out of place but then again you have to remember, it’s just me.
Luckily I rarely have someone just unexpectedly pop in but it has happened a few times in the 25 years I’ve lived here. I prefer a heads up but we can’t always get what we want right!
Thank you ladies for the share.
Organization is a wonderful thing, Adrienne! I’d love to make sure everything had its own place…maybe once my toddler is fully grown. 😛 Thanks for stopping by!
I use the Fly Lady system…
I love this post! My house gets crazy sometimes and I don’t always have the time to give it a deep clean like I should, but these tips are fantastic. I’ll be implementing them today! Stopping by from the turn it up tuesday link up, glad I did!
🙂 Glad they were helpful, Danielle! Good luck implementing them.
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