Have you ever been faced with that moment of sheer panic when someone calls to ask if they can just “drop by” in a couple minutes to visit?
You kindly oblige, but as soon as you hang up the phone you realize your house is a disaster. What you need right now are a few quick cleaning tips that will help you get your home not spotless, but presentable.
You’ve got dishes piling up on the counter (from yesterday), you’re likely still in your pajamas, you’ve been chasing kids around all morning. Toys are scattered everywhere, and there is paper cluttering the kitchen table and counters like nothing else.
Oh, and we won’t even mention the state that your floor is in. (Or we will, because we’re being honest here – the floor is probably in a tragic state of dirt and enough crumbs to feed a small family of mice for a month.)
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If you’re curious:
Your house is too far gone at this point to be able to just do a quick sweep in the kitchen and throw a few toys into the bedroom and call it good.
You’re in need of some real cleaning tips – but you don’t have all day to spend cleaning.
In fact, your guest is going to be here in half an hour.
And the panic sets in.
If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation (you may even be in this situation right now and reading this article out of desperation – if that’s you, welcome. Take a few deep breaths, and relax) you know the only thing you need is a handful of quick cleaning tips to help you tidy up your home.
Related: 4 Easy Steps to Clean a Messy House When You’re Overwhelmed
Related: House Cleaning Checklist & 13 Things You’re Forgetting to Clean
We’re not talking a top-to-bottom deep clean here, people. We’re talking a get-rid-of-the-dirt-and-clutter-in-the-common-areas.
(If you’re in desperation and NEVER want to be faced with this hectic situation again, Hilary’s Organized Home Course is perfect – she teaches you how to create and KEEP an organized home with humor and extremely relatable lessons. If you’re not able to spend the money on a course right now, she also offers a FREE 5 Word Organization Course that also offers help in creating and keeping an organized home. You can check out the free course HERE.)
If anyone is qualified to teach you about keeping a clean home, it’s Hilary.
She is a busy lady who works as a labor and delivery nurse, is a wife, a mother, AND has figured out the key to organization. (Plus she adds in humor. Yes – humor. Which is probably exactly what you need right now because life is too short to be stressed out.)
Okay – now let’s get on with these quick cleaning tips to get your home presentable. (Did you almost forget that you have company on their way over? Me, too.)
7 Quick Cleaning Tips to Get Your House Company Ready in Less Than 30 Minutes
(Psst – want to skip the whole post and get these quick cleaning tips in a printable checklist? Click here to get the checklist sent to your email.)
Step 1: Gather Your Cleaning Supplies
So that you don’t need to keep running back and forth from the cupboard where you keep your cleaning supplies to the room where you are cleaning, gather all your cleaning supplies into a small caddy (or an empty laundry basket, if that’s all you have on hand right now) so you can carry them from room to room.
Here are the supplies you will need:
- Rags – (These Norwex rags are perfect for multiple uses and make it so you don’t need to carry around a handful of rags – just one or two of these is enough (PLUS they clean amazingly with just WATER – which means you can save money by not having to buy cleaner)).
- Garbage bags – You’ll want to have two large garbage bags to carry with you from room to room. One will be so you don’t have to run to the trash can every time you find a piece of garbage, and the other will be to put miscellaneous and out-of-place items into.
- Cleaner – My favorite cleaner to use is a simple homemade cleaner that consists of two parts water mixed with one part vinegar. (Mix it together in this bottle and you’re ready to start cleaning.)
- Toilet bowl cleaner – I’m a fan of using as few cleaners and supplies as possible, but toilet bowl cleaner is non-negotiable. Get a good cleaner like this one that takes away the need for scrubbing.
- Vacuum cleaner – If you don’t have a good vacuum, grab an affordable, easy-to-carry-around one like this one to easily carry from room to room (and up and down stairs).
- Candles – These aren’t essential, but they can do wonders in clearing up that “musty house” smell and replacing it with a fresh scent. Grab a candle like this one to keep in your cupboard for times like these when you need to quickly freshen up your house.
(PS – If you don’t have a cleaning caddy like this one and you’re carrying your cleaning supplies around in a laundry hamper or by hand, I suggest grabbing one so you can have it on hand for the next time you need to clean your house. Using a cleaning caddy helps keep all your supplies together in one place so all you have to do is grab the caddy – rather than collecting all your supplies which is a lifesaver when you’re in a rush.)
Step 2: Focus on the rooms your guests will be in
If your guests won’t be in the bedrooms, don’t worry about cleaning those right now. You want to focus on the rooms that your guests will be in – and if you have time after, you can do a quick clean up of the bedroom, too.
But we won’t worry about that right now.
For now, let’s say your guests will be in the entryway, kitchen, living room, and bathroom.
Step 3: Pick up trash and miscellaneous items
You can put your cleaning caddy down for now and grab the two large garbage bags out of it. You’re going to start with putting trash into the one trash bag, and miscellaneous and out-of-place items into the OTHER garbage back. (Don’t get the two bags mixed up.)
Start in the entryway, grabbing trash and out-of-place items. Put them in the two bags. From there, move on to the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. Do the same thing in all of these rooms.
Great – once you’ve got the quick pick-up done, put the trash bag by the door (to take out before your guests arrive), and put the bag with all the miscellaneous items in it into a bedroom for now (close the door behind you!).
You’re doing great – your house is already looking better (at least the parts visible to your guests), and you still have plenty of time before your guests show up.
On to the next step.
Step 4: Do a quick dusting/wipe
Now it’s time to grab your cleaning cloths (these ones are my favorite because you can use them to clean with JUST water) and cleaning spray out of your cleaning caddy and quickly (QUICKLY) wipe down all the visible surfaces in the entryway, kitchen, living room, and bathroom.
Wipe down any surfaces that are dirty in the entryway, and put shoes into their place (THIS is perfect for keeping shoes organized. Easily.)
In the kitchen, wipe down the kitchen table and counters (and straighten everything on the counter to make it look presentable and neat). Wipe down the kitchen appliances, too.
Move any dirty dishes into the dishwasher, and quickly hand-wash any dishes that can’t go in the dishwasher.
If you’re running out of time and don’t have time to hand wash the dishes, stick them in the dishwasher just to get them out of the way – then take them out of your dishwasher and hand wash them when your guests leave.
(Hint: use this on your rag to get rid of marks and make your stainless steel appliances shine.)
Right now we just want to focus on surfaces that are VISIBLE – this means that you don’t have to worry about anything above eye level. You will also want to work from top to bottom – otherwise, you will just be creating more work for yourself.
In the living room give the coffee table a quick wipe, as well as any shelves that have visible dust or dirt on them. This isn’t a time to straighten and sort through everything you own – just give everything a home for now (even if it’s not the right home) and make it look tidy.
In the bathroom quickly remove everything from the countertop and spray it, along with the mirror. Unless your bathtub and shower are filthy, don’t worry about cleaning it.
Spray the toilet and squirt some toilet bowl cleaner into the bowl of the toilet. Let sit.
Move quickly back to the mirror and countertops, give them a quick wipe down and put everything back in its place.
Move to the toilet and wipe it down, starting with the top of the tank, wiping everything on the exterior of the toilet before getting to the bowl. (Don’t forget about the bottom of the toilet – where the toilet meets the floor. This area tends to collect hair, dust, and dribbles quite frequently.)
Take your toilet bowl brush and give the inside of the toilet bowl a quick scrub. Flush the toilet to flush the cleaner away.
Step 5: Clean the floors
You’re doing great – are you exhausted or raring to keep going? We’re on the tail-end of the cleanup, and your guests will be here in about 10 minutes, let’s get this done fast.
Grab your vacuum and, starting in the entryway, work your way through the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. Don’t forget about the hallway that leads to the bathroom, too.
Don’t worry about doing a stellar job right now – you just want to remove visible dirt, crumbs, and dust bunnies.
Don’t worry about cleaning the baseboards or vacuuming under the sofa (unless you can see the dirt under there without bending down to actually look under it).
Focus on the high-traffic areas that collect the most crud – the entryway (dirt tends to get dragged in on shoes), the kitchen (specifically under the table) and main areas in the living room.
Step 6: Throw out the trash
Go back to the entryway where you left the garbage bag full of trash and quickly take that out to the garbage bin (do a quick check while you’re out there – are your guests pulling up yet, or do you still have some time?).
Step 7: Quickly clean up your supplies and freshen the room
Run back inside and put away all your cleaning supplies (a cleaning caddy makes this task exceptionally fast).
Throw the dirty rags straight into the washing machine, or the dirty laundry hamper.
If you still have some time, grab a candle (this one is perfect) and light it to add a nice, fresh smell to your home (and mask some of the vinegar-y smell from the homemade cleaner).
Alright! You did it! You have successfully quickly cleaned your house using these handy quick cleaning tips.
I’m sure you’re feeling ready to sit down and relax now – just in time for your guests to show up.
Once your guests have left:
Now that your guests have come and gone, you can go into the bedroom and take that bag of miscellaneous items and sort through the stuff. Put everything in its proper place, NOT where it was (since that was clearly not the right place for it).
If you don’t need some of the items or don’t have a home for them, consider keeping them in the bag and bringing them to the thrift store next time you’re in town.
You can also drag your vacuum cleaner back out and finish vacuuming your floors – specifically under your couch.
For the future:
To make these tasks easier for you in the future (and to save you time by not having to run around and collect all your miscellaneous supplies before getting started cleaning), here are a few tips:
- Use a cleaning caddy to store all your cleaning supplies so you only need to grab ONE thing, rather than all your different cleaning items.
- Use Norwex cleaning cloths – these cloths can be used with cleaner, but they also work just as well with just water, no cleaner needed. (They can be pricey, but boy do they work good!)
- Keep up on weekly cleaning tasks – keeping a weekly cleaning schedule will help you be prepared for guests any day of the week, and will cut down on the time it takes to get your house from a mess to company ready.
- Only keep the essentials – a cluttered house comes from having too much stuff. To solve this problem (and spend less time moving miscellaneous stuff out of a room), purge your house regularly and only keep the essentials. (You can find a list of things to declutter from your house here if you don’t know where to start.)
Now that you’ve learned these quick cleaning tips you’ll be ready for any unexpected guests to show up – at any time.
Want to grab these quick cleaning tips in a printable checklist? You can do so below.
Grab your free quick cleaning tips checklist: Click here!
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