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Let’s talk about 15 ways to make your home look cleaner than it is. When you are short on time and need a presentable space to host family and friends, follow this checklist.
- Start with the most visible spaces.
- The 5 Minute Tidy
- Take out the trash.
- Quick Clutter Round Up
- Kitchen Counters
- Add Good Smells
- Spot Clean
- Clean the Toilet
- Fresh Hand Towels
- Prepare Refreshments
- Take Care of Pet Hair
- Speed Dust
- Tidy Up You
Table of Contents
How To Use This Clean For Company Checklist
The phone rings and your cousin that you haven’t seen in three years is calling to say that they are in town and would love to come say hello. After agreeing to see them in about an hour, you hang up the phone and immediately start panicking. The house is a mess!
We’ve definitely all been there. One Christmas afternoon, my brother and sister-in-law (a woman whose house always manages to look immaculate, by the way) just showed up at our front door to wish us a Merry Christmas. I was happy to see them, but not only were we in our pajamas, (If you can’t be lazy on Christmas, when can you?) but the house had been torn to pieces as well. Wrapping paper was everywhere. Dishes were piled in the kitchen sink. You get the picture. I still cringe thinking about how messy our house must have looked that day.
The holiday season is right around the corner, and there are going to be lots of opportunities for hosting our family and friends in our homes. It’s wonderful to be able to welcome the people we love and not have to be stressed about messy homes. Truth be told, the holiday season is also one of the busiest times of the year, and no one has the time to be dusting the baseboards or deep cleaning.
That’s where this checklist is going to be so helpful. In under an hour, we can get your home presentable and looking cleaner than it really is. Your home will look great, and no one will be the wiser.
Let’s get started!
1. Start with the most visible spaces.
The best way to make the most impact in your limited time is to only clean the spaces that will be visible to your guests. Now is not the time to clean the bathroom that guests won’t use or the closets that guests won’t see.
Start with your front door. Pretend you are the guest walking into your home. What spaces do you see first? If you have a front porch, this is where you start to clean. Move to your living spaces and kitchen. Don’t forget to clean the bathroom that guests will use.
Designate a space that guests won’t see and close that space off so that guests know not to go there. Usually the bedroom is a good place to make into the no-guest zone. Closing the door will show guests you don’t want them in there.
2. The Five Minute Tidy
The first and arguably the most important task on this checklist is to tidy. This is not a deep clean! This is a quick pick up and put away session. Set a timer for five minutes and move from visible space to visible space.
For five minutes, sweep the leaves off your front step. For five minutes, straighten up your entryway. Then, move to your living room, your dining room, and you kitchen, quickly putting things away to make the room feel cleaner. Put books back on the shelf. In the living room, fold throw blankets and fluff pillows. If you have kids, throw their toys into bins to make the floor space look neater. Toss dirty clothing into a hamper
3. Take out the trash.
Grab some garbage bags, gather up any trash around the house, and take it out. There is nothing welcoming about a full and stinky trash can.
4. Quick Clutter Round Up
Getting rid of the clutter in our homes is a valuable project. It makes it easier to clean, and living with less clutter reduces our stress levels. However, when cousin Terry will be ringing your doorbell in less than an hour, now is not the time to start a decluttering project!
We’ve got to get the clutter out of the spaces our guests will see, and for the time being, store our clutter in the places our guests won’t see.
Grab a laundry basket, and run around your visible spaces, gathering as much of the clutter as you can and putting it in the basket. That stack of books and magazines on the coffee table, the pile of shoes at the front door, and the random toys strewn across the room all get put into the basket.
Take that basket to your no-guest area. My no-guest area is usually my bedroom. I put my basket of clutter items in there and shut the door. Later, when you have more time, you can deal with the clutter basket.
Dirty dishes sometimes feel like my worst nemesis. I wash them and put them away only to turn around and see another kitchen sink full of dirty dishes.
If you have time to load your dishwasher before your guests arrive, this would be best. If you don’t have time, I’ve found the best way to handle this is to put your dirty dishes in the kitchen sink and fill the sink with hot soapy water. The dish soap smells pleasant, and soaking the dishes gives the impression of cleanliness.
6. Kitchen Counters
The flat surfaces in your kitchen like the counters and maybe a kitchen table if you have one are important places to clean. These are the places your guests might set down their drinking glass or coffee mug, or they might set down their coat or purse on these surfaces. You don’t want your counters covered in crumbs or food stains.
You don’t want their coffee mug to stick to the kitchen table because your toddler spilled the maple syrup at breakfast. Grab a spray bottle of cleaner and a wet rag, and quickly spray and wipe down your kitchen countertops.
7. Add Good Smells
Nothing can trick guests into thinking you’ve cleaned all day like a good-smelling home. Light a scented candle. Spray a little Febreze on your upholstered furniture and even the rug.
This is especially important if you have pets. You don’t have to be a perfectionist with this task. Just quickly vacuum the center of each visible room. The room will look so much cleaner without pet hair, dirt, and dust bunnies on the floor.
9. Spot Clean
We don’t have time to scrub the entire house,and honestly, we don’t need to do that. All we need to do is grab the same spray bottle of cleaner we used on our kitchen counters and a microfiber cleaning cloth. Walk through the visible areas of your home and quickly clean any smudges or stains you see.
Handprints on the windows, fingerprints on the fridge door, dirty smudges on the door frame, coffee rings on the living room end table all get quickly wiped away. An added bonus is that the cleaner will add to the good smells in your home.
10. Clean the toilet.
You will want to make sure the bathroom your guests will use is clean and fresh. Put a little cleaner in the toilet bowl and scrub it clean. Quickly clean on and under the toilet seat. Make sure there is plenty of toilet paper available.
11. Fresh Hand Towels
Put out new, clean towels in the bathroom for guests to use when washing their hands. If you hang a dish towel in your kitchen, make sure to put out a new, clean one.
12. Prepare Refreshments
It’s always nice to offer something for guests to eat or drink, and it makes your home feel more welcoming. When I’m getting ready for guests in a hurry, I like to get a snack and a drink ready in advance. This way, if the guests ask for something to eat or drink, they don’t have to witness me rummaging through my disorganized refrigerator or see me open a cabinet where my dishes are stacked messily.
If I have something to drink and drinking glasses set out on the counter ready to go, I look like a good hostess and guests don’t see my kitchen’s messy spots. Win, win!
13. Take care of pet hair.
No one wants to sit on a sofa that is covered in pet hair. A quick way to get rid of pet hair on furniture is to use a lint roller. Roll it over the couch cushions and any throw pillows in the visible spaces.
14. Speed Dust
Like I’ve said before, now is not the time to deep clean. We’re on a deadline! Grab a Swiffer duster, and dust only the spaces your guests will see. The living room tables will probably be used by your guests and need to be dusted. The living room bookshelves probably won’t be used by your guests, so skip those since we’re aiming to go fast.
15. Tidy Up You
Lastly, don’t forget to tidy up your appearance. This doesn’t have to be elaborate or difficult. Just wearing clean clothes that aren’t wrinkled or sloppy will go a long way to making you and your home look presentable and company ready. Put on your favorite outfit, and you’ll feel good in your own skin when you answer the front door.
Welcoming our friends and family into our homes is one of the great joys in life. Connecting over a cup of coffee or even a takeout pizza brings us closer together. Don’t let a messy home or a busy lifestyle with no time to clean stand in the way of experiencing that joy. Use this checklist to get your home company ready fast.