Ding-dong! That sound can only mean one thing this time of year: holiday houseguests arriving at your front door. You can’t always plan ahead for company – and there isn’t always enough time to clean up before the doorbell rings – but that doesn’t mean you can’t impress guests with the illusion of an organized home.
If you tend to be a bit messy, here are four simple ways to clean your house on the fly:
1. Clear your clutter. Decide which rooms your guests will be spending most of their time in (we’re thinking the living room or the kitchen). Take five minutes, and remove the clutter from those main areas. Use your closets and drawers to quickly store magazines, junk mail and anything else that is lingering on your countertops or coffee tables. Don’t worry about being organized, just shove it in! If your mess is mostly small items, grab some infrequently-used tableware and put it to use! Cups and bowls make great accessory holders.
2. Mind your floors. Even a handful of items left below eye level can make a room look messy. Do a quick sweep of your floors with a broom and vacuum your rugs. A recently vacuumed rug is one of the best ways to make a space look cleaner than it actually is! If you have a lot of carpet, but don’t have the time to vacuum the whole house, focus on high-traffic areas and the middle of the room.
3. Wipe down your bathroom. Clean the bathroom that visitors will use most frequently with some disinfectant wipes or a few sprays of all-purpose cleaner. Do you have a dirty tub but no time to clean it? Just close your shower curtain! Also be sure to toss any old toiletries that may be cluttering up the area.
4. Be your own houseguest. Walk outside your front door, and then walk inside your home. What’s the first thing you notice? A pile of shoes in the entryway? Dirty dishes in the sink? Take care of the first things you see, because it’s also what your guests will see when they first enter your home. You only get one chance to make a great first impression!
Bonus: If you have a few seconds to spare, whip up an all-natural air freshener on your stovetop to make your home smell fresh and festive. Then, relax. The happiest hosts know the party is about the people, not the place.