Picture this: it’s Friday afternoon, you’re hosting a group of friends for a fun night out in a few hours, and your apartment is a disaster. You have absolutely no idea how to get your space ready for visitors in time. Mountains of dirty clothes, mail, and random things you swore you’d put away have taken up every surface. Take a deep breath before you start panicking your space from top to bottom. We’ve put together a quick cleaning guide that will help you get your place in order in no time, even if you’re by no means an organizational pro. The key: focus on the mess your guests will make actually notice. If you want to save both time and sanity before your guests arrive, read on for expert tips and tricks to keep your home looking squeaky clean.
1. Change the way you think about cleaning
First things first: It’s important to get into just the right mindset Why you are cleaning. “Focus your mind on the positive reasons you have people over, such as getting together, celebrating, and having fun,” says Linda Samuels of Oh, So Organized! “Setting an intention or clarifying your ‘why’ will influence everything you do to be guest ready.”
2. Clean up any dirty clothes
This is a simple but crucial task! “Quickly scan the common area for dirty clothes hanging around and pick them up and take them to the laundry basket,” urged Badass Homelife Organizing’s Katrina Green. You don’t have to wash, dry and fold a whole load of laundry before the guests arrive. Just make sure those sweaty gym shorts are tucked away from where your guests will gather.
3. Save the bathroom
Guests are bound to use the restroom at some point, so make sure it looks presentable well before they ring the doorbell. “The toilet, sink and floor need to be scrubbed and sanitized,” advised Arlene Williams of Bona Fide Organizing. “I check whether the toilet paper and the soap dispenser are filled with liquid soap. Add a few extra clean towels to dry hands. And empty the trash.” To provide some comfort to your guests, consider adding some hygiene products to your drawers. If possible, keep an eye on the bathroom throughout the evening – Williams will check in regularly to confirm that her space is still clean and well-stocked.
4. Focus on clutter hotspots
Kristin Roser of Kristin + Co Organizing recommended focusing on the “clutter areas” that your guests will no doubt notice. “These areas are usually first seen when entering the home — think of the entryway, mail delivery area, kitchen countertop and hall closet,” she said. To clean up these spaces quickly, Roser provided a few quick cleaning tips. “Get a trash can, box, or laundry basket and quickly walk through the cluttered spaces, collecting things that don’t belong in that space,” she suggested. “Once you collect them, return these items to their rightful storage places.”
5. Prepare refreshments in advance
Claudia Winkler from Wow! Organized! LLC makes it a priority to have food and drinks ready before its guests arrive. “That way, instead of working, stressing and getting distracted, I can relax and enjoy spending time with my friends,” she said. Bonus: This also gives you a chance to put away those chips bags, toss out empty hummus jars, and clean up any mess you just made before someone walks through the door.
6. Don’t dive into big organizational projects
It can be tempting to turn your whole house upside down to get it up and running, but Jenna Haefelin of SPIFF Organizing advised saving major projects for another day. “I would focus your efforts on what’s in plain sight,” she said. Seattle Sparkle’s Jean Prominski agreed. “Unless you really want to give your guests a tour of your entire home, ignore organizing your bedroom or spending too much time folding laundry and putting clothes away,” she suggested. “That’s what doors are for!”
However, if you’re hoping to better organize your space for the long haul, consider investing in a rolling cart or two, Green suggested. She uses trolleys in her own home to quickly round up her husband’s belongings and move them out of sight. “[My husband] collects all his tech stuff in the cart and rolls it away so that the space he was using is now free of clutter,” she explained. “This kind of method also works for crafts or toys for kids… If you have a cart, it’s easy to clean up!”