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How to Speed Clean Your House for Guests


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An essential skill for Wonder Mom Wannabes is to know how to speed clean your house for guests. Sure, it would be great if we could REALLY stop caring what others’ think, but most of us can relax and enjoy company more when we aren’t worried about how messy our house is.

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Ideally, our houses would always be spotless, right? Unfortunately, no matter how great our cleaning systems and chore schedules are, the home of an active family is rarely perfectly clean and organized.

We learn to live with the small pile of mail that still needs to be sorted on the kitchen counter, the pet fur on the stairs that will be vacuumed up later in the week, and the dried water spots on the bathroom faucet. Until company arrives at least, when all of a sudden every speck of dust, fur, and smudge is all we can see!

My husband is super social and loves to invite people over at the last minute. He often calls me from work in the afternoon to let me know he’s invited someone over for dinner. He’ll also invite people over to come hang out if he runs into them while he’s out and about.

This means I have lots of opportunities to get my house clean in a jiffy. Below are my easiest tips for how to speed clean your house for guests.

How to Speed Clean Your House

These tips won’t help if someone shows up unexpectedly on your doorstep. But, if you have 15 – 30 minutes of lead time (e.g. when your friend calls and says”Hey, I’m going to be in your neighborhood in a little bit. Can I swing by so we can catch up over a cup of coffee?”), you can completely transform your house from messy to guest-ready with these tricks.

Here’s how to speed clean your house in under half an hour:

Clear the Clutter

First things first. Grab a big bin or laundry basket and clear all the stuff that doesn’t belong in each room.

You can then hide this basket in your closet or somewhere else your guests won’t be going. It doesn’t matter about putting these items away, you just need them gone.

Wipe Down Surfaces

Next, you want to wipe down all the surfaces of your home. Dust the living room, wipe all the crumbs from the countertops and then sanitize them, and then hit the bathrooms to remove all those toothpaste blobs from the sink. A Swiffer duster and container of Clorox wipes will make this job super quick and easy.

You’re not deep cleaning, you’re just making your home presentable. There may still be germs partying in your sink, but at least it looks clean.

Spot Clean the Floors

Quickly vacuum your living room rug to remove any crumbs the kids have left behind. Sweep the entryway and kitchen and then use a mop to spot clean any areas that need a little extra love. I use my Swiffer with a dry cloth first, then a wet one to make this task extra simple.

Again, the point isn’t to get your home sparkling clean. Most guests won’t be using a magnifying glass to check each area. As long as your home looks clean, that’s all the matters.

Make Your Home Smell Good

Light some candles, plug in an air freshener or even start your essential oil diffuser. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as you make your home smell good.

You want your guests to walk in and smell flowers or baked goods, not the bacon you cooked for breakfast.

Take Out the Trash

Go through each room and empty your trash cans. Most importantly, make sure to empty your kitchen trash, especially if you have anything extra stinky in there like tuna cans or meat packages.

Fill Up the Dishwasher

Last, but not least, hide those dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Even if it’s stuff that isn’t dishwasher-safe, get it out of the sink and into the dishwasher. You can then quickly wipe down your sink.

How to Speed Clean Your House if You Have NO Lead Time

The tips above assumed you have 15 to 30 minutes before your guest arrives. If, however, you don’t know your guest is coming until they pull in your driveway, here’s how to speed clean your house instead:

  1. Pull out your vacuum and set it in the middle of the family room
  2. Set an all-purpose cleaner on the bathroom and/or kitchen counter
  3. Put on plastic gloves
  4. When you answer the door, say “Oh, what a surprise! I was just in the middle of cleaning, but come in and sit down while I put a few things away.”

Okay, that isn’t really speed cleaning your home, but it will hopefully ease your anxiety over the house being less than perfect in front of a guest. Remember, though. This is your home. You live in it.

Homes are not always spotless, especially when you have kids. Take a breath, relax, and know that your home is just as inviting whether it’s spotless or looks lived in. In fact, your guest might even feel more comfortable when your home is less like a showroom and more like a well-used home.

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