We’ve all been there before: your friend or family member calls last minute to drop by and your house is cluttered from head-to-toe. You find yourself scrambling to vacuum the floor or declutter the living room, and you feel an ensuing bout of anxiety instead of excitement for the surprise of a close one’s visit.
If you’re wondering how to get your house guest-ready in no time, take a look at the following tips from cleaning and organizing experts.
Focus on likely to visit areas
With limited time, strategic cleaning is key. Firstly, focus on the rooms that are most likely to be visited and how long it takes to clean them. These might include the guest bathroom (five minutes), kitchen (10 minutes), and living room (10 minutes).
Tricia Holderman, author and cleaning expert has some top tips for what to target in these areas: “In the bathroom, wipe down the counters, shine the mirrors and clean the toilet. If you have products on the counter, find a place to store them. When you only have a few minutes, a clutter-free room looks cleaner, even if it’s not. In the kitchen, wipe down the counters, load the dishwasher and sweep the floors. For living room spaces, sweep or vacuum floors and dust surfaces.”
Foul odors can radiate from food waste in the trash, dirty litter boxes, and sweaty laundry. Remember, a smell can hit our guests’ noses in no time and make an impression before they’ve even looked around.
Holderman’s best piece of advice here is to ditch the spray deodorizer, she explains that most only mask the odors without eliminating them, they’re bad for the planet, and can actually be unsafe for people with breathing disorders. Instead, tackle the problem at the source and take them out of your house. If you still suspect a smell, light a candle or simmer water in a pot with cinnamon sticks or lemon for a more natural scent,
Take out the kids’ clutter
If you have kids, your house is most likely littered with toys. Here if they’re old enough to help out, delegate them to help out.
Professional organizer Jamie Novak has a top tip for this challenge, “You can disguise the mess by scooping everything into a basket and covering it with a folded throw blanket. Or you can involve the children by turning the chore of cleaning into a quick game. Set a timer and challenge the children to see how many items they can put away before the buzzer rings.”
Don’t feel embarrassed or worried if you don’t get the job done in time. Like we said previously, everyone has been there so there’s no shame in being transparent with your guests, you’re likely to receive an understanding response.