I am a mom. I am home all day with a 3-year-old tiny tornado. As a blogger, I also work from home each day. Its safe to assume my house looks like a bomb went off for a good portion of most days. I’m not even going to lie about that fact. Every so often, I will get a text from my husband’s aunt, requesting a last-minute drop-in visit. I’d feel rude to say no. That’s when panic usually sets in. We’ve all been there. Someone calls to announce they will be dropping by unexpectedly in a short time. So what do you do when your house looks like a disaster? You clean, and you do it fast. This is my guide to speed clean your home.
Why Do You Need to Speed Clean?
Well, as I mentioned above, maybe a friend or relative plans to stop by and your house isn’t up to snuff. Maybe you have been busy keeping tiny humans alive and haven’t had time to scrub the place spotless top to bottom in a long time. If you work from home, you could be busy trying to meet a deadline. Maybe you’ve been shuttling multiple kids to school and activities and haven’t had time to mop and dust. Sometimes, you just need to spend a day glued to the couch catching up on your favorite show and taking a break from life. Whatever the reason, it happens to the best of us.
What to Speed Clean & What to Skip
You just got the call that someone is dropping by within the hour. Clearly there isn’t time to clean the entire house in that short of a period. So what do you clean and what gets skipped?
- “Public” Areas (Living Room, Family Room, Patio, anywhere your guest may be hanging out)
- Kitchen (In case the guest needs a beverage or snack and follows you there)
- Bathroom (Just the one the guest may need to use)
- Bedrooms (Your guest probably wont need to visit them)
- Kid’s Playrooms (Just close the door and be done)
- Any Unseen Areas (A secondary bathroom, laundry room, etc.)
So now that you know your areas to focus on, what can you do in the small amount of time that you have that will give the appearance of “clean and tidy” and not give away that you have not yet really dug into the cleaning today? Let me break it down.
Step 1 – Clear the Clutter
Do this as fast as possible. Enlist your kids to help. If they can walk, they can clean. They can certainly help carry all their toys into another unseen area of the house. Even if you don’t have time to put the clutter in its proper place, just take the time to quickly move it to another location to be dealt with later.
Step 2 -Quick Dusting and Vacuuming
Luckily, I don’t have any flat surfaces in my living/family rooms. Literally no end tables or coffee table to speak of. Those went out the door the minute my son started toddling (because he’s clumsy and we didn’t need more head injuries). A quick wipe down with a damp cloth will do the trick in a pinch. Then quickly run the vacuum. Nothing suggests clean like carpet lines.
Step 1 – Stash Any Clutter
Bathrooms tend to collect things in my house. Toys and children’s books migrate in there. Random laundry ends up hanging on the back of the door. Random toiletries line the sink. The key to speed clean these items is simple. I quickly stash these things out of sight.
Step 2 – Wipe the Sink Down
Make sure your sink is wiped clean. No toothpaste or shaving cream spots. Run some warm water and give it a quick wipe down.
Step 3 – Clean the Toilet
Even if my toilet appears clean, I still like to give it a quick clean when guests are coming. Only takes a second and makes me feel better. I have a potty training toddler so you just never know what state it will be in, or where random pee will end up.
Step 4 – Wipe Mirror Clean
Somehow, the mirror in my bathroom always seems to get dirty. Water, toothpaste, hairspray, and miscellaneous other toiletries always end up dotting the mirror. Speed clean the mirror. A quick wipe down will take care of these things.
Step 5 – Spot Clean the Floor
My bathroom is small so it takes 4 seconds to Swiffer. I like to do this because, again, I have a potty training toddler. Nothing screams “gross” like pee spots on a bathroom floor.
Step 6 – Put Out Fresh Hand Towels
Even if the towels look clean, I always like to put fresh ones out before a guest stops by. When you speed clean, sometimes the devil is in the details.
Step 1 – Clear the Clutter
My kitchen seems to collect the most clutter in the house. It drives me nuts. Mail, shoes, toys, and random items all end up all over my kitchen. I quickly clear any of this clutter before guests arrive.
Step 2 – Wash Dishes
I think the dishes in my home multiply like bunnies. I can spend 20 minutes rinsing dishes. Finally, I finish and turn around to find a whole bunch more. It drives me nuts. When visitors are on their way, I quickly rinse any dishes that have materialized and toss them in the dishwasher.
Step 3 – Wipe Table and Counters
Since my son tends to be a crumb monster, I like to give the table and counters a fresh wipe down. Nothing drives me crazier than sitting down on a table that appears clean, and then starting to notice random crumbs. YUCK! Speed clean this area before the guests arrive.
Step 4 – Clean the Floor
I am a little strange I guess, because I actually vacuum my kitchen. It is much more effective at getting rid of crumbs than sweeping and its much quicker. (Maybe I just suck at sweeping!) But when I have someone on their way, I always give the floor a quick vacuuming, and then pull out the trusty Swiffer. I prefer the Swiffer Wet Jet because I can control the amount of fluid that goes on the floor and it will dry quicker than full out mopping. Plus, it gives a nice clean smell to the room.
If there are areas of your home that you haven’t had time to clean up before company arrives, just close the doors. Close off bedrooms, or the office, or laundry room. This will help prevent any visitors from accidentally seeing a mess, and help keep the illusion that you are, in fact, the perfect homemaker.
Light Scented Candles
I like to keep clean and fresh smelling scented candles around for these types of occasions. A clean smelling home will also help keep the illusion that your house is spotless.
Have Snacks Ready
Nothing distracts people from paying too close attention to the state of a home than delicious snacks. I find that fresh, homemade baked goods work the best. However, anything you have on hand will work in a pinch. Keep the guests focused on the food and not on the dust bunny you just spotted under the sofa.
Fake It ‘til You Make It
We all want to be Martha Stewart meets Mrs. Brady on crack when it comes to homemaking and keeping a clean house. We all do our best. However, life happens sometimes and we can’t always get everything done and keep everything perfect all the time. When you have unexpected visitors on the way, I find its completely possible to fake it quickly and effectively.
What kinds of things do you do in these instances? Do you have certain friends or family members who like to drop by with little notice? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
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