On Simplicity

May 14, 2008

Quick and Dirty Guest Cleanup

Filed under: House & Home,Quick & Dirty — Serendipity @ 5:00 am
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You just found out that company is coming tonight. The house is less than perfect and you’ve got limited time. How should you clean to get the most bang for your limited cleaning minutes? Check out the following Quick & Dirty guide:

1. Hit the toilets. Sure they’re gross, but that’s kind of the point. Even if your house is immaculate, if a guest has to use a dirty toilet, they’re going to remember your house as filthy. It may be unfair, but it’s accurate. So scrub the interior and wipe down all exterior surfaces, especially the underside of the lid. The good part about cleaning the toilet(s)? It’s pretty fast.

2. Light a scented candle in the rooms you’ll be using. By the time you’re done, the fragrance should have time to permeate the room and welcome guests. Easy alternative: open the windows to air things out.

3. Pick up out-of-place clutter. Grab a laundry basket and throw in anything that’s in the wrong place, like toys, shoes, projects, blankets, dog bones, laundry, books, etc. If you’ve got time, return the items to the right place. If not, just hide the basket and put it all back at a later time. Just getting “stuff” off the floor and surfaces can make a huge difference in how clean your house feels.

4. Clear kitchen surfaces. Put the dishes in the dishwasher (or sink), wipe down the surfaces, and get any stray items off counter surfaces. If you’d like it to look great, put away the things that belong on the counter as well, like the toaster, cannisters, or coffee maker. It may be cheating, since those items are going right back on the counter as soon the guests are gone, but it sure makes room look clean without deep cleaning.

5. Dust obvious surfaces with a feather duster. This is not about nooks and crannies. This about major surfaces that guests might touch, like dining room tables, end tables, and shelves at hand and eye level. Feather dusters won’t get rid of the dust, but they’ll get it off the surface quickly.

6. Fluff and arrange sofa pillows.

7. Make the bed, if this is an area guests will see. If not, close your bedroom door and call it even.

8. Clean any urgent floor surfaces, if necessary. If the floor looks “clean enough,” don’t give it a second thought.

You’re done! Relax, pour yourself a glass of wine or tea and kick your feet up. The bottom line: Cleaning for guests is common courtesy that shows respect, but trying to make them think you live in a magazine ad is a disservice to everyone. Now is not the time for perfection; your guests will have more fun if you’re relaxed, so give yourself a break. Also, remember that friends and family don’t expect perfection, and may even get a kick out of seeing how you really live.

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