Some people are just naturally inclined to clean – they relish in grabbing a mop and bucket and going to town; they look forward to spring cleaning; they smile upon a full sink of dishes.
We hate those people.
OK, that’s not really true…but we are envious of them, right? For many, cleaning house is just as dreaded as going to the DMV or the dentist. We’ll do it, but only when and if we absolutely can’t get away with skipping it.
But given the fact that you don’t want your friends to know just how lazy you really are about cleaning, you’ve got to occasionally find ways to at least make things look decent in a hurry.
If you can do so with a minimum output of energy, all the better. Here are a few tips for how to use those precious 15 minutes before guests arrive.
Quick Fire Tips for a Clean House
- Disappear Clutter
The truth is that your guests aren’t examining the nooks and crannies of your place for dust and dirt. They’re taking in the general scene when they walk in, and the impression will not be a good one if your junk is strewn everywhere.
The best plan is to have storage containers for everything, so that there is actually a place for magazines, shoes, blankets, etc. That way you can stash stuff appropriately. But if you’re not there yet, just grab a laundry basket or garbage bag and load it up with any random item that isn’t where it’s supposed to be. Then toss that puppy into a closet or a room where your guests won’t be.
- Attack the Bathroom
I’m sorry to do this to you, but you’re going to have to actually do a bit of real cleaning here. The bottom line is that no one likes a gross bathroom and your friends will judge you if yours is gnarly…plus it’s just kind of rude to subject people you like to a dirty loo.
The laziest and easiest way to get this over with is those heaven-sent antibacterial wipes that come pre-soaked in cleaner. Grab a couple and wipe down the sink and toilet so there’s no visible grime. If you want to save dough, you can make a DIY version by keeping paper towels or rags (even strips of old t-shirts) soaking in a closed container with white vinegar and dish soap. Check out the instructions here.
- Stash Dirty Dishes
Despite your best intentions, once in a while your sink fills up with dirty dishes. It grows higher and higher until it strikes fear in your heart just to look at it. Don’t tell anyone you got this from me, but a great way to fudge a clean kitchen is by spiriting those dirty dishes away into your stove. It’s like a magic trick for the very lazy. If you want to do a little better, get a big dish pan and put some hot water and soap in there with the dirty dishes. That way they’ll be one step closer to clean when you’re ready to face them.
- Low Lighting
Just say, “No” to overhead lighting. If your place is a little less than clean, fall back on romantic lighting to mask the mess. Soft-lighting lamps and candles are your best friends. Most living rooms can be decently lit with a couple lamps in opposite corners of the room. And real pros know to even put a lamp in the kitchen, so you don’t have to flip on that super bright light when you’re grabbing your guest a drink.
- Fresh & Clean Smell
A slightly messy home can be tolerated, but a place that actually stinks? No way, that’s just not acceptable. So go the cheater’s route and keep some type of air freshener out round the clock – there are lots of options: plug-ins, motion-sensing sprays, etc. Just go for a scent that’s more on the clean and neutral side as sweet floral smells tend to be a dead giveaway that you’re trying to cover something up. Scented candles are also a good fix.
- Straight & Narrow
Your last step is just to straighten everything up…literally. Go around and make sure the following items look straight and in place:
- Rugs (try rug tape if this is an issue)
- Couch pillows
- Throw blankets folded & neatly placed on back of sofa
- Anything hanging on the wall
- Stacks of books/magazines/newspapers
- Towels that are hung up
- Coffee/end tables
- Curtains or blinds
- Any items displayed on tables/shelves