Do good weather and other plans have you frustrated with the thought of spending time cleaning your house before guests arrive? Some cleaning and de-cluttering experts tell us that getting your house in company-ready condition should take less than an hour. Don’t plan on this process producing a sparkling-clean result, but setting priorities can work wonders for a quick fix. Interior designer Paula Jhung advises, “Focus your efforts where they’re really going to show.”
WHERE TO BEGIN…
If you’re planning a dinner party, concentrate on the living room, foyer, kitchen, and bathroom. Home organizing expert Barbara Tako reminds us that “the prime real estate is the entryway and the kitchen counter” where people gather. Jhung says to focus attention on tables, shelves, and places to set a drink as well as eye-level features; it may not be necessary to sweep, mop, and vacuum. Open windows for a fresher smell than a candle can provide, and set a timer for 15 minutes for each area you’re covering.
15 MINUTES IN THE FOYER AND FAMILY ROOM…
>> Clear clutter. Put mail, toys, clothing, etc. in bags that can be put out of sight.
>> Stack magazines in a basket or on an end table.
>> Use a microfiber cloth to dust the TV, coffee table, and all horizontal surfaces.
>> Straighten pillows and cushions, toss a throw over worn or stained spots, and roll a pet-hair roller over any visible fur.
>> Check the floor. Clean up any spots, giant dust bunnies, or pet hair clumps. Remove the bags of “stuff” you found and move on.
THE BATHROOM’S 15 MINUTES…
Here’s where you want to give the most effort, Jhung tells us. While people are alone in there withbright light, they will notice if it’s clean. Focus on the toilet, sink, mirror, and counter.
>> Remove combs, cosmetics, hairdryers, etc. from shelves, counter, and back of the toilet. Put things in a drawer or under the sink.
>> Put dirty clothes in the hamper or in a stash bag.
>> Add toilet bowl cleaner to the bowl; let it soak while you continue.
>> Spray the counter and sink with disinfecting spray; wipe counters with paper towels. Scrub the sink with a sponge and rinse. Wipe faucet and stopper with a paper towel.
>> Spray vinegar solution on mirrors and wipe with paper towels.
>> Scrub the toilet with a brush and flush. Wipe the seat and outside of the toilet with disinfecting wipes.
>> If you have a bathroom rug, shake it outside to freshen and fluff it up. Hang fresh towels; close the shower curtain or door. Empty the trash can.
CLEANING THE KITCHEN – 15 MINUTES…
The kitchen will draw people so focus on clearing the counters and table for food preparation and snacks and making the sink clean.
>> Put away any tools or unnecessary appliances. Spray disinfectant on the counters and wipe them down.
>> Spray cleaner on the sink and be sure it and the faucet are sparkling clean.
>> Wipe down the refrigerator handle.
>> Check the floor for food spots or drips. Wipe the table and chairs to remove crumbs, fingerprints, and stains.
>> Hang clean dishtowels.
>> Empty the trash and take the bags out to your can. Put in a fresh kitchen trash liner.
Lastly, before guests arrive, go through your house, adjusting light switches and lighting candles. Put on some music. Jhung reminds us that a quick clean should not be exhausting and prepares us to enjoy time with friends.