Who hasn't experienced it? The phone rings and a friend announces they're visiting shortly. Cue chaos at home! So, how do you clean up quickly when nothing is tidy or organised? Don’t worry! With a few simple tricks the house will look much better in no time.
The most important thing to remember here is to take the perspective of your guest. Wear your “guest glasses” and imagine visiting your home. When the time to clean is short it’s best to begin from the front door and feel your way through home, much like a visitor would. Pay immediate attention to the things that look unsightly upon first arriving and take it from there.
Don’t forget to take notes and, as always, be inspired!
A visitor’s eyes will naturally fall see the floor so dirt and clutter may draw a critical gaze.
So, quickly remove clutter and visible dirt from the floors in every room your guest is likely to see. This means clearing away kid's toys, placing dirty clothes into the the laundry basket and disposing of marketing leaflets that have been collected in the hallway.
If the surfaces are free of dust everything will look much cleaner so turn on your favourite music and get started!
While more extensive cleaning operations require surfaces to be be damp wiped, for quick clean ups a feather duster or dry cloth will work. The most important thing is to get rid of the dust from highly visible surfaces, such as the TV.
You can leave the small shelves for another time but whilst dusting things like the coffee table, it's a good opportunity to remove old newspapers and magazine and return books, CDs and DVDs to their rightful place.
In many homes the sofa is the centre of the living room. Therefore, clothes, a blanket or bedroom pillows on the sofa will all give the impression that your visitors have interrupted you at a bad time.
If you're seriously short on time, rearranging the cushions and removing personal items from the sofa will make it a more inviting place to sit. If you have a more time on your side you might like to vacuum under the seat cushions, fold any blankets and try to remove any light stains with a damp cloth and all purpose cleaner.
If there are more noticeable stains, you can cover with a blanket until you have chance to clean properly or purchase a slipcover.
Dirty dishes will make your kitchen look unsightly but they are fairly easy to deal with.
Fill the sink with lukewarm water until all the dishes are covered before adding an appropriate amount of washing detergent. The kitchen utensils can be easily washed first with a brush or sponge, followed by the glasses and any silverware. Next you should tackle plates and cups, leaving the most difficult pots and pans until the end.
Rinse everything with cold water and let them dry. During the drying period, clean the table, kitchen worktops and cooker top.
This should suffice to save any embarrassment but when you're in less of a rush, you can take a look at our guide to: A Heavenly Clean And Shiny Kitchen.
Clothes lying around the home can make you look lazy or disorganised, which is unnecessary as they're easily dealt with.
Dirty clothes should be immediately be separated from clean and placed in laundry. Don't forget to look for those stray socks under the sofa and bed!
Clean clothes should be folded and placed in drawers or hung in your wardrobe. Remove shoes from the hallway as they will give a negative first impression – if you have space, place them in the storage cupboard. A better long-term solution is to invest in some smart storage.
The best way to avoid stressful last minute clean ups is by devoting a few minutes every day to the task. The clean up can be easily integrated into your every day routine.
For example, clean the shower with a dry cloth after each use. Attend weekly to any limescale on the bathroom fittings and kitchen sink using strong cleaners and get into the habit of putting shoes in their place after taking them off.
With these little tricks, a critical eye and a few minutes each day, you will have a much fresher home!