In an ideal world, with daily routines and tricks like a tidy home in just one minute, and 10 ways to keep your home tidy, your house would always be spotless. But sometimes life just gets in the way of your aspirations and goals, and your house ends up looking less than picture-perfect.
That’s okay- until the next thing you know someone’s sending you a message to say that they’re passing by and would love to pop in for a coffee- oh and they’ll be there in 30 minutes.
Now some people say that their guests can take them as they find them. I am not one of those people. I equate having an untidy house with not being 100% on top of everything, and would hate for people to visit and find my place a mess.
So if you’re like me, rather than panic, here’s how you do a quick clean up when people are on the way. If you are on your own and do EVERYTHING it could take up to an hour, so go through the list in order. If someone else is in the house to help, this list will prove super helpful as instead of shrieking, “help me!” you can give your partner or child specific directions.
Sort yourself first
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the first thing you do is make sure YOU look okay. I live in my so-called comfy pants at home, which no-one really wants to see. So get changed, brush your hair and put some makeup on. That way, if you get nothing else done, it looks as though you’re not a slob, you just haven’t made cleaning your house a priority.
Clean the toilet
First thing is to check the toilet that your guests are likely to use. Squirt toilet cleaner into the bowl and give the bowl a quick swish. It will not only look but smell clean. If you have boys in the house, check the underside of the toilet seat.
Check there is sufficient toilet paper and that there is a clean hand-towel.
Now it’s time to go to the other areas of the house.
Shut the doors
Go through the house and shut all the door of the rooms your guests will not be going into.
Clear the largest surfaces in every room your guests are likely to enter
This is because the eye is drawn to this largest space, and if it is clean and tidy, then other areas will seem less obvious. In general, this will mean the main kitchen counter, the dining table and the couches. If you really have no time, do a sweep, dump and wipe- sweep everything off the counters, dump it in a basket that you then hide, and wipe down the surfaces. If you have a little bit longer, then do it as follows.
Start in the kitchen.
Firstly, quickly empty the dishwasher
Secondly, gather up all the dirty dishes and stack them into the now empty dishwasher.
Thirdly, grab all rubbish on the counter-tops and put it in the bin.
Fourthly, put everything else into your pantry, scullery, or a spare cupboard. If you’ve gone for the pantry or scullery option, then make sure you get out your coffee, tea, sugar and so on, and put them on the bench. This is so that your guest don’t see the mess inside when you go to get your supplies.
Finally, wipe down the counter tops.
Then go to the living area.
Repeat the same process here.
Firstly, get all the dishes and put them in the dishwasher.
Secondly, grab all the rubbish and put it in the kitchen bin. Then take the rubbish out and replace the bin liner.
When you are putting the rubbish out, grab a laundry basket.
Now take everything on the couches and chuck it into your laundry basket. If you have time, sweep everything else that doesn’t below into the laundry basket as well.
Clear the coffee table and arrange whatever is left on their neatly.
Go to the dining table, and put whatever is there into the basket as well.
Now take the laundry basket and put it in your bedroom wardrobe. This is one place guests are highly unlikely to venture into!
Return to the living area and plump up the couch cushions.
Vacuum the floors in the main areas
Don’t go for overkill here, again just the main tracks will do. This is an optional extra if you are able to do the light trick below!
Dim / switch off some of the lights
If it’s in the evening, this is a cunning technique to make it harder to see the dust and so on that you never got to. Of course you don’t want it to look like you can’t afford to pay your power bill, but more like you’re creating some ambiance.
Light a scented candle
The smell will help banish any lingering other odors.
Sit down on the couch with a magazine and make it look like you’ve just spent the last hour with your feet up!
I’d like to confess that I became a bit of a master of this technique when my husband I were living in our previous home, which had four bedrooms. The fourth bedroom was a spare, and so became the place when we dumped all those things littering the house as described above. After about a month, it became hard to see the floor! It truly was an example of out of sight, out of mind. So, if you do the laundry basket trick, make sure that after your guests have gone that you actually get the stuff out and put it away! Or put it in a more obvious space, like the bedroom as I suggested above, where you will be forced to deal with it.
For a person who likes to have things in control, having people pop in unexpectedly can be a source of stress. However with these simple steps, you’ll have your house looking clean and calm in no time.
Any other super quick things you do when your house is a mess and you have unexpected guests coming over?