How to Clean Your House Quickly for Last-Minute Guests

Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada
Marcello Gavioli Rustic style dining room
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There's no miracle solution when it comes to keeping a house clean – anyone that's been responsible for keeping a space clean knows that a full cleaning can last up to a full day, no matter whether your home is richly furnished or minimalist. This ideabook is all about approaching the cleaning of a home in the most efficient way possible, creating a plan for doing a quick, effective sweep through in those rushed moments before guests walk through the door.

It is always nice to receive visitors: they bring a cheerful atmosphere and friendly conversation to fill your home with good memories. However, most people feel best when they can welcome their guests into a well-prepared home that's effectively organized, tidy, and properly cleaned. Like all chores, cleaning is generally considered an unpleasant task. There's a certain cycle of procrastination that often becomes responsible for that last-minute hustle to get everything in its place before the guests pull into the driveway, scrambling to attend to the dishes piled in the sink and your dirty clothes lying on the bedroom floor. Through lack of proper planning, a fun unexpected visit that you enjoy can puts you into a panic because of the disorder that surrounds you in this moment – you're okay with living in it, but it's not what you want to showcase to your guests! The time is ticking, and you must act quickly to accommodate these unexpected guests in a pleasant and fresh interior. But where to start? Here is a roadmap for a dynamic and fast cleaning.  Follow the tips below to succeed in record time, hide this disorder, and eliminate home chaos! Put on your rubber gloves, prepare your cleaning accessories, and start your stopwatch – and remember to sit back and have a great time with your guests!

Prep your materials & start your watch

It can be hard to get up from the couch when you're feeling relaxed, but it's entirely within your ability to find the motivation! The first step is to turn off the TV. After all, when you're dealing with the possibility of unexpected time pressures,  needless distraction is your worst enemy. 

Much like a cooking show, you'll be most efficient if you first prepare all the tools and appliances you'll need to do a good cleaning. Bring out the garbage bags, brushes, brooms, vacuum cleaners, loofah sponges and rags, and don't forget to prepare the timer on your watch. Perhaps the most important contributor to your success will be the reminder that your stopwatch provides – there's no use in aiming for a 10-minute clean if you're not ready to get an accurate measure of how long it actually takes! The countdown will help provide motivation to press through, clean efficiently, and avoid distractions along the way. It's time to make this happen!

20 Minutes: Organize and Clean the Furniture

You might run straight for the vacuum or broom, but it's best to start with any rearranging or tidying that needs to happen on furniture first. It's good to have clean floors as a base, but the fact is, your guests are more likely to come in close contact with your chairs, tables, counters, and sofas much moreso than your floors! That said, use a vacuum cleaner to clean sofas, and make sure you get a quick clean on any shelf, sill, rack, bench, and seating areas – these are spots where your guests will sit, touch, and leave their personal items. With a damp cloth, wipe down surfaces on your coffee table, around your light switches and doorknobs (yes, they're probably full of smudges, and it's one of the first things people see and touch in a home). If you have time to mop the floors, you can help them dry more quickly by making sure to leave the windows open so the wind will pick up the moisture from the freshly mopped surfaces. You can also use a fan to speed drying if you wish.

Looking for more ways to add a sense of welcome and liveliness to your living room? Look no further than this ideabook with 7 simple ideas for transforming your living room.

20 Minutes: Pick up, then sweep

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Now you're prepared to start getting the floors clean! Pick up, then sweep. Make sure you do it in this order! There's no sense in starting in with the broom, only to find yourself needlessly sweeping around objects you're bound to move anyway. Therefore, you should first do a quick run-through and collect and store all miscellaneous items inside the house – it works well to have a bin in a closet dedicated to all of these random objects so you'll know where you stowed them when you're searching for them afterwards. Sometimes a hastily stored object can seem to get lost for weeks on end, simply due to the fact that you put it in an unexpected place during your clean up rush. After picking up objects, set in with the broom or vacuum – with everything off the floors, these second step should be a breeze!

15 Minutes: Clean the Kitchen

The kitchen is probably the place where you and your guests will spend a large portion of your time. That said, you'll want to give special attention to your kitchen's state of cleanliness, and not just the countertops! The surfaces in your kitchen include the fridge door, cabinets, and dishwasher – wiping down these forgotten surfaces can often have a huge impact, as all together they can create a grimy vibe with their speckled and greasily-handprinted surfaces. Keep the sink cleaning for the end because you will surely be using it in the meantime!

10 Minutes: Clean the Bathroom

Your top priority in the bathroom is the mirror, sink, and toilet – if you're running short on time, ditch the last-minute effort to get the tub and shower all sparkly clean. Chances are, your guests will spend more time looking at the mirror and the sink!

Feeling a little out of touch with your bathroom's decor? Redecorate your bathroom space with these easy home decor tips for small bathrooms!

Don't forget the patio!

Give a quick glance to any outdoor socializing areas – it's no fun to arrive at someone's home and hope for a barbecue, only to wait for your host to dash outside and wipe off the grill, sweep off the leaves, and bring the chairs out of storage. If you have potted plants on your patio, a good way to create an instant clean feeling is to remove the dead leaves and remove any dirt that's accumulating on the deck or between the pots.

Extra Time: Organize Your Room

Your guests aren't as likely to venture into your bedroom – that said, cleaning your home in a pinch is all about priorities, so you should only stop into the bedroom if you have extra time, after everything else is done. In your room, take anything lying on your bed and store it all in drawers and on shelves. Change sheets and pillowcases – if there's no time, simply make the bed and fluff up your pillows for a fresh look.

Last Minute Finesse

Do whatever you need to do – spray some air freshener, light a candle, set out a plate of cookies – whatever your personal finishing touch is, add it!

What do you think of these last-minute cleaning tips? Comment below!

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