It’s bound to happen. You get that “We’re in town!” phone call from your auntie, in-laws, or childhood best friend and you’ve got a half an hour to make your lived-in home look like it’s straight out of Better Homes & Gardens. And of course, there’s no time to do that thorough cleaning of the house you were putting off until next weekend. How do you get your home looking cleaner than it actually is? Here’s 6 last minute cleaning hacks to help.
1. Pick up your piles
Look at your entryway with fresh eyes: is there anything in their immediate line of sight that could easily go?
Maybe that laundry that needs folding can rest behind closed doors, rather than on your couch.
Mail, documents, or toys (that includes your electronics!) stacking sky-high? Make sure you have a premeditated resting place for that troublesome clutter. It might be time to invest in that hand-made Valet Tray you’ve been eyeing on Etsy.
(Pro tip: Fill half the sink with soapy water so that it looks like they “caught you in the act” of cleaning, and that’s not really in your control. Plus, nothing’s cleaner than bubbles.)
3. Actually clean the Points of Contact
Will you be serving lunch? Clean off your table (or wherever you’ll be eating), and if necessary, spot vacuum underneath.
Fluff couch pillows, and run a damp rag over coffee tables, mantles, or ledges that might have attracted some dust.
4. Make your bed.
Sure, they might not see your bed, but just knowing you’ve thrown the duvet over your sheets and propped up your pillows may set your mind a little bit more at ease. And if they do ask for that tour, you’re good to go.
5. Take out the trash.
Last-minute, pre-visit cleans are about managing perceptions, and last night’s dinner never leaves a good first impression. Taking out the trash will do a lot to keep your home’s dirtiest corner a bit more family friendly. Bonus points if you remember to take out the bathroom trash.
6. Convince the nose to trick the eyes.
A little fragrance goes a long way. Having an air freshener on hand helps. You can snag one off the shelf (think: Febreeze), or plan ahead of time with a homemade potpourri simmer. Boiling hot water filled with a combination of fruits and spices, then set to simmer, can provide a fresh and GREEN scent for hours. Plus, these can be prepped and poured into jars, and kept in the fridge til needed. (We love Cinnamon sticks + apple, or Lemon and fresh Rosemary.)
Improvise with essential oils or neutralize odors with a light vinegar spray.
Even spending a few minutes each day can help keep your home from spinning into disarray. Knowing where to place problem piles will help you feel on top of your chores, even before you get any done.
If all else fails, call in for backup. Hiring a professional cleaner will help wipe away the worry and let you focus on the things that matter: like eating those cookies in the oven.