The phone rings. It’s your long lost friend from high school, or an old boyfriend from college, or – horror of horrors – your mother-in-law!
Whoever it is, they are less than 15 minutes away from your house. And let’s face it, you’ve been working on your taxes and your house has looked better. What to do? Where to start? Is there a way to fake a clean house in a matter of minutes?
- Odor ControlSpray your favorite air freshener to remove any unpleasant odors. Pay special attention to the trash areas. Turn up the air conditioner, a fan, or open the windows to get stale air moving. Throw something sweet and tasty in the oven. Some women I know keep frozen cookie dough on hand for this very occasion. Not only will the house smell wonderful, but you’ll have a tasty treat to serve your guests.
- Clutter ControlNothing makes a house look messier than clutter. Grab a laundry basket or a sack and begin gathering up items. Don’t worry about putting them away. Just stow the basket or the sack out of sight until after the guests leave. My personal favorite is to grab up all the mail and toss it into the oven. Just don’t forget about it or you will have roasted bank statements the next time you prepare dinner!
- Freshen YourselfIn your clean bathroom mirror, examine yourself. The truth is that your guests will spend more time looking at you than at your house. If necessary, change clothes, run a brush through your hair, and squirt on some perfume.
- Living RoomThe place where you’ll be sitting and visiting the most, needs the most attention. Since you’ve already removed the clutter, and made it smell nice, now all you have to focus on is tidying surfaces. Work quickly from left to right tidying each surface and removing any extra clutter. Quickly vacuum the main walkway of the floor.
- BathroomGrab disinfecting wipes or a cleaning cloth and all-purpose spray. Wipe down all the surfaces quickly. Remove any clutter. Change the trash. Quickly wipe down the mirror. Make sure there is hand soap, a hand towel, and toilet paper accessible.
- EntrywayThe first thing that your guests will see is your entryway. Remove any clutter. Tidy up with a broom or handheld vacuum.
- DishesIf you have a few spare minutes, load those dirty dishes in the dishwasher, or rinse and stack them neatly in the sink. Take a cleaning wipe and wipe down the kitchen surfaces.
- Other AreasIf you’ve finished all this and your guests still haven’t arrived, you can open a bottle of wine, take a swig, and relax. Your visitors are coming to see you, not your house.(Source: About.com housekeeping.)