We've likely all been there, when you've got guests dropping by and you've been given 30 minutes notice of their impending arrival. One glance at your lounge confirms what you already know, that your house could do with a good old tidy. Given the time your house could do with a thorough spring clean. However, time isn't in your side, you've got 30 minutes to get the house a bit more ship shape. Never fear, in 30 minutes there's a lot that can be done....just follow these steps:
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Ok, as with most emergencies it's a good first step to assess the situation. How bad is it? Where are your guests likely to go? If there are rooms where your guests aren't going to go, be tactical and shut the doors. Likely your hit list is going to include kitchen, lounge, bathroom and any other 'through' areas such as hallways that they'll be using. Stick to this priority list and target these areas first.
2. Clear the scene
Sticking to your priority areas, grab two bags and go around clearing the rooms of things that shouldn't be there. In one bag, put things like toys, shoes, books and basically any items that don't belong in this room and make it look cluttered. In the other bag put any trash in that needs to be binned. Put the trash into the bin when you are finished, and put the other bag far from view in one of the 'out of bounds' rooms. Hiding in wardrobes is also an option if your guests are going be allowed free reign of the house.
3. Kitchen blitz
The kitchen is often the hub of the house so it's worth allocating a chunk of your time to this area. Have you got a weeks worth of dishes in your sink? If so, you likely don't have time to wash them. Instead grab a tub and collect the dirty dishes up and put them in your dishwasher. If you don't have a dishwasher, hide them in your oven. This is only temporary and you'll need to remember to grab them out of there when your guests depart. Once the kitchen clutter is away, it's time for a quick once over. Now, when you are normally cleaning you likely have a multitude of products you use for your kitchen, but you don't have this luxury now. Grab one clean cloth, grab one multipurpose cleaner and go to town on surfaces, oven doors, fridge doors and the sink. Whilst you're using your multipurpose cleaner, grab another clean cloth and do a super fast clean of table tops, cupboard surfaces and bathroom counters. It might not gleam as brightly as normal, but it will look clean and free of debris.
One cleaner for a multitude of sins
4. The Floor.
You've not got time for the most thorough of cleans as vacuuming and mopping take a lot of time. Instead, hoover up the crumbs you see and any dust, rather than the whole floor area. The same for mopping, look for marks on the floor and grab a multipurpose surface wipe and just give it a quick clean. A clean (ish) floor will give the illusion of a clean house. If you are really running short on time, then just grab a broom (or swifter) and give the floor a super quick once over.
It's likely that guests will use your toilet, so make sure you do a quick bleach and rinse of your toilet, as well as a quick clean of the toilet seat. This is one area that you don't want to miss.
6. Dust the TV.
You've not got time to dust the whole house so you must choose one item. Choose the TV, and the surrounding air. The static from the TV collects dust like it's going out of fashion so focus your attention on this. If you've got time you can dust the whole house later, but this has to be your focus if time is short. Additionally, TV's are often the central point within a lounge and so you don't want your guests staring at your TV and its collection of dust the whole time they're visiting. Instead let them feast your eyes upon your dust free house and wonder how on earth you keep such a tidy home.
Finally, for some finishing fake touches you might want to:
- Spray some carpet sanitizer on your carpets. This is touch dry within 10 minutes and smells heavenly. A house that smells clean, will fool your guests into thinking that it is clean.
- Light some scented candles. Not only do these candles help fragrance the house, but if your guests drop in of an evening, you can dim the lights and allow your candles to provide an ambient room environment where dust can hide.
- Spray some furniture polish into the air moments before they arrive. They'll think that your house smells super clean.
- Straighten your cushions, plump up your couch. An inviting couch that looks tidy will take the attention away from other areas.
- Fan out any magazines lying around so it looks like you have time not only to tidy your house but keep up with the latest articles, and display them artfully too.
Finally, when your guests are gone, make a resolution to do your housework everyday without fail to avoid being caught out again. Phew!