How to clean quickly when unexpected company arrives for the holidays

Has this ever happened to you? You get a phone call during the busy holiday season that friends are in your part of town and want to stop by. With their thoughtful heads up, you have thirty minutes to dash through your home and prepare it for visitors. Here are some tips on how to whip your house into shape before they arrive.

First things first—decide which rooms get priority. Are your guests going to be hanging out in the living room or are they going to be clustered around your kitchen for a more casual visit? Focus on the room that they’ll be spending the most time in. Strap on your cleaning apron and get started.

If you’ve been following the rules of clutter control, you shouldn’t have a lot of items to pick up. Everything has a place, and whenever you use something, be sure to put it back into its rightful place. If the clock is ticking, you can sweep every visible item into a laundry basket to deal with after they leave, then stash the basket in your bedroom.

Be sure to give the bathroom a once-over as well. This is where your speed cleaning training kicks into gear. Wipe the mirror from top to bottom and clean as efficiently as possible. Check to be sure the toilet is sparkling and the sink is clean. Make sure that there are fresh towels for your guests to use to dry their hands and a new bar of soap or plenty of soap in the dispenser.

Giving the entryway a quick vacuum is a great idea, since that’s probably where the most grime has accumulated since your last clean. Slurp up the dirt and quickly cover other carpeted areas that might be seen.

If you have time to spare, pull out that batch of cookie dough you’ve been nibbling on and throw some cookies into the oven. You’ll be sure to lure everyone into the kitchen for a cozy treat if they smell those baking when they walk in the door.

Good luck and happy holidays!

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