Get the House Ready for Company in 15 Minutes

clean in 15 minutesI had company over this week – it’s nothing formal and they won’t judge me by the cleanliness of my house, but I always like to have my place look tidy! But between the two whirlwinds toddlers who make messes faster than I can clean them up, a husband who sleeps during the day so I can’t be loud, and having extra appointments, my time for cleaning up got very short. I’ve found that even with a short amount of time I can be productive and have a seemingly tidy house (as long as you don’t look too closely!). Here are the areas I am always sure to tackle…

  1. Clean the Bathroom.

I don’t mean CLEAN the bathroom, but I always make sure I spend 5 minutes in there. Priorities for me are washing down counters and sink. Wiping mirrors. Filling the extra toilet paper and cleaning the toilet. Those things should be quick and easy and make me feel so much better about letting someone use my bathroom.

  1. Tidy the living room.

This again, takes me about 5 minutes or less. I make sure I fold all the blankets and fluff the pillows. If we have any magazines out I stack them neatly and do my best to at least get toys up off the floor (usually impossible with the dog and toddlers, but I at least give it my best effort). I’ve found that you notice the dust less if things are straightened!

  1. Spot Vacuum

We have a dog that sheds ALL. THE. TIME. so running the vacuum is the last thing I do in an effort to pick up the most hair. I do a 3 minute walk through of the high traffic areas where I know the dirt and hair collects and call that good enough. I’ll have to sweep and mop again after everyone leaves anyway.

  1. Tackle the kitchen.

Our kitchen is the first thing people see when they walk into our house. I don’t prefer to have counter clutter, but it’s just the way it goes when you live in a house, so I pretend that doesn’t exist and focus my efforts in two other places – washing dishes and wiping the table/counters. I do my best to get all the dirty dishes out of sight (depending on what kind of ‘party’ I have been known to stash dishes I don’t have time to wash in my oven, but be careful to get them back out promptly so you don’t accidentally cook them). Thankfully the party this week was the kind where my stack of clean dishes drying on the counter was no big deal! And if you are having a dinner party dirty dishes are to be expected so don’t stress about it. Your guests know you live in your house so this isn’t so much about making an impression as having space for people to set things down when they arrive!

  1. Bonus extras if there is time.

*If I have time I always spend a minute in our bedroom so I can use the bed for coats and purses if necessary. I make sure all dirty laundry is in the baskets, straighten the blankets on our bed and shut the closet door!

*When I’m having a large group over I make sure I lower the temperature in the house in the hopes it will be more comfortable for everyone.

*On the days I’m really ambitious I spend a few minutes in our entryway putting away shoes and moving coats around so that people have space to put things upon their arrival. Most times the space looks like chaos, so people just add to it and we pretend no one saw anything. 🙂

My dad always wonders why people clean their house before people come over and make it dirty again. And while I agree it’s sometimes silly to do SO much cleaning before people come, I’ve found that I enjoy myself more when I’ve taken 15 minutes to do some specific tasks. I’d love to hear what tasks you are always sure to tackle before company comes – feel free to post in the comments!

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