I love having friends over to my home. However, it also gives me anxiety. Though I doubt that most of my friends would do this, I can’t help but picture them, wandering into each room and recoiling in shock and horror when they find…DUN, DUN DUUUUUN…A MESS! Water droplets next to my sinks! A bit of spilled kitty litter outside the litter box! Bread crumbs on my kitchen counters! I mean, the very idea! Bread crumbs! On a food preparation surface! What would the Queen think? I’m a pretty tidy person, and I take great pride in people marveling at how clean my home is. Even my housekeeper compliments me. That’s right – the woman I pay to CLEAN MY HOUSE tells me my house is clean! I probably have a problem. I admit that tidying up is probably easier for me than for most people who aren’t neat freaks. But no matter your neatness level, there are things you can do to give your house a quick cleaning before visitors descend.
Got 5 minutes?
If you only have a short amount of time, just hit the rooms where you know your visitors will go and pick up any clutter. Don’t even worry about putting it away. Grab your laundry basket, an empty box, any clean receptacle that can hold stuff and toss it all in there. Put your box/basket/whatever out of the sight of your visitors, but NOT out of your own sight. This is key – I use this trick myself, but I’m careful to stash the clutter where I will see it eventually. Usually, there are random papers on my kitchen counters – bills, fliers, magazines, etc. So, I stash it in my kitchen pantry. My guests won’t see it, but I’ll see it every day, meaning it won’t get lost.
Got 15 minutes?
Do the decluttering from the 5-minute step and add…cleaning your toilets and bathroom sinks! If you want to save even more time, and you have multiple bathrooms, just hit the ones that your guests are most likely to use. Clean the toilet bowl with your scrubber and wipe down the outside (clean under the lid if you have people in your household who lift the lid to pee). Give the sink a quick wipe – just not with the same cloth as the toilet, of course!
Got 30 minutes?
Do both of the above steps, then head into your kitchen! Give your counters a quick wipe down. If you want to be really diligent, wipe out your sink, too. Sweep the kitchen floor – don’t do like the old cartoons and sweep under a rug, either! Then grab your vacuum, dust buster, whatever you’ve got and vacuum the carpet of whatever rooms your guests are likely to see.
Got 45 minutes?
If you’ve got pets and 45 minutes to spare, get all of the above steps and then do a quick clean up of all the things your furry friends leave behind. Put away their toys (or just gather them into one area). Clean around their food dishes and pet beds. In the case of felines, sweep up any stray kitty litter from around their litter box. If your cats are particularly fuzzy like mine are, watch for what I call “kitty tumbleweeds” – loose balls of their fur that hide under furniture – and vacuum those up, too!
There! Isn’t that nice? Your house looks great and you didn’t have to put in that much effort! In case you feel like I’m judging you, please trust that I’m not. Part of the reason I’m a neat freak is because I CAN be – I mostly work from home, don’t have kids, and my husband is a tidy person. It can be difficult to give your house a quick cleaning in alternate circumstances. And although it’s nice to show off a tidy house to your friends, anyone who would judge you for having a few bread crumbs on your kitchen counter is not your friend. I’ll be your friend – just don’t look too deep into my pantry!