You know how it is. Your home is your domain, and your sanctuary. You don’t always need for it to be clean. In fact, there’s almost that strange sense of satisfaction that comes from having a house that has just enough flavor of mess to be yours. It’s your place, and you don’t care what anyone thinks…
…until you suddenly learn that company is coming over.
But no worries! Take that dread and channel it into excitement! Because…
…we’ve got 12 simple tips to help you declutter and make your place look cleaner than it really is.
1. Hit the most noticeable surfaces first.
It may not be the most pleasant, but some suggest starting with the “three T’s” first.
Toilets, obviously an important to have shiney and disinfected. Tabletops, used in all sorts of activities. Finally your television, because you never know when that special someone might want to stay over and watch a movie.
If you have time, go ahead and hit the other kitchen countertops and the sinks of the home as well. If there’s time still, get those mirrors nice and sparkly.
2. First impressions are everything.
Consider what rooms will be seen first, then how the flow will likely go. Work on them in that order. Clean the entryway first, and then the living area, and continue with the pattern. Focus on clutter and cleaning noticeable dust and grime off of surfaces, first. If you have time, you can do the floors as well.
3. Bathrooms bathrooms bathrooms!
If there’s one thing that can make or break a person’s comfort in the home, it’s the bathroom. By now, you should have already flushed and cleaned the toilet. You can close the shower curtain to help offset any unpleasantness that could be spotted in the bathtub. Close all drawers and medicine cabinets, and see if you can improve the look of any wet, hanging towels by placing a bathrobe over them.
If you have a little more time, clean off the mirrors, the sink counter and the inside of the sink. If you have more time, scrub the shower out, just in case a post-movie encounter leads to a shower scene.
4. Correct the clutter.
If you have books or magazines out of place, stack them or put them in a bookshelf. Collect your remotes and place them side by side in a neat arrangement, out of the way, or place in a small basket. Get all random, dirty clothing and hide in a laundry basket, out of sight.
If you don’t have time to take things to their appropriate rooms, place in some baskets by which room they belong so that it’s out of the way for the time being. You can take care of it after your encounter.
5. Towels are often overlooked.
Replacing the hand towels in your kitchen and bathroom are a wonderful way to increase the feeling of freshness for your guest. If you don’t have time to iron any of them, spray them with a little starch to give the appearance.
6. Pet hair patrol.
Not only is pet hair a bit messy, but it can also aggravate some allergies. If you don’t have a lot of time, and your cushions are clean underneath, just flip them. You can also throw a sheet or blanket over the furniture. If you have time, use a lint roller or vacuum cleaner to thoroughly remove the hair. Apparently, you can even use a rubber glove to help get the hair off of your upholstery.
7. Deal with those dirty dishes.
Obviously, it’s best to have your dishes cleaned and put away. If you don’t have time, and your dishwasher is full, you can place them in the oven as long as you don’t plan to cook dinner later. If you have a bathtub that won’t be seen, you can get some hot soapy water going and place the dishes in it. Be sure to pull the shower curtain to, just in case.
8. The nose knows.
Febreze is one way to remove strong odors from rooms. Another is to light some incense, or open the windows if it is a pleasant day outside. You can also boil a number of random things on the stove to fill the home with the scent. A few examples would be Cinnamon, lemon or citrus peel, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
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9. Let there be light.
Again, if it’s a nice day, open those windows. You can also just open the shades if it is too hot or cold out. At night, lower lighting helps keep imperfections invisible, and makes things feel a little more relaxed. If you light candles, set them in places for optimally lighting where you’ll probably spend the most time. Be sure not to mix too many random scents if the candles are scented.
10. Window washing time.
You can hide blind dust by turning them upward, or raising them all together. If you have time and are lacking window cleaning solution, spray some vinegar on a newspaper and you’ll be amazed at how well it cleans the glass.
11. People love shiny things.
Placing something shiny in the room can help naturally attract attention away from what you don’t want people to notice. The more you light it up (without blinding them) the better the effect.
12. Finish with flooring detail.
With wood, tile or linoleum, get some final touch ups with the appropriate swiffer tools. With carpets and rugs get that vacuum out and make sure you hit the areas that will be most visited. Once finished, you can leave a the vacuum or swiffer out to let your guest know you cared enough to clean what you could. It can help take the edge off of anything left undone.
And if all else fails… ask for help!
Why make things harder than they have to be? If there is any help you can quickly recruit, do so! You never know when a friend will do you a solid for friendship sake, or trade you for a later favor.