Company's coming! Now! Whether you're hosting book club, having your in-laws over for a special celebration, or throwing a full-on party, having guests over is a good reason for many of us to fly into a full-fledged cleaning frenzy.
And if you're like me, that cleaning frenzy often turns into hyper-focusing on all the things that are messy and dirty in the house (which turns into, let's be honest, wasting time cleaning things that no one cares about).
Still, you want to make a good impression, and I get that — I feel the same way! So instead of going wild with the Magic Eraser on the door jambs (as I've been known to do), consult this quick checklist of things to tackle during those 10 minutes before company arrives.
While you may need more time on one task and less on another, getting through these items will make your home look clean and tidy (enough) for guests without too much effort — or freaking out.
1. Put away dishes (3 minutes).
Now's the time to put anything that's been drying on the countertop back into the cabinets. If you have dishes in the sink, put them all in the dishwasher. If you don't have a dishwasher, then quickly wash up those dishes, dry them, and put them away. A clear countertop and empty sink are key when you're entertaining, as new dishes will pile up.
2. Gather the clutter (2 minutes).
Pick up your laundry basket and walk through the kitchen, dining area, and living room and toss anything inside you wouldn't want your guests to see. Put it in the closet. Just be sure to empty it out afterwards — rather than toss laundry on top of it all!
3. Wipe key surfaces (2 minutes).
The cleaner your countertops, the cleaner everything looks. So grab your favorite cleanser and cloth or a disposable wipe and give the kitchen counters and faucet, plus the bathroom vanity top and faucet, a quick swipe to remove any dried-up spills and water spots.
4. Spot-clean any spills (1 minute).
Grab your handheld vacuum to suck up any visible messes in the kitchen or living area. Don't bother doing the full sweep/vacuum thing, because it's just going to get dirty again, but if you have any spills near the sink or trash can, popcorn kernels next to the coffee table, or pet hair on the sofa, lift it up now.
5. Check your glasses (2 minutes).
One thing that many people forget to clean before guests come over: their wine glasses. While it might not bother you to see water spots when you drink out of them, your guests might not feel the same. If they're dusty or dirty, give them a scrub and a rinse and dry them out. That's it!