The holidays are coming fast! I always get nervous about having people in my home for the holidays. Especially at this busy time of year, things get messy and disorganized quickly. In my dream world I would have days and hours to clean everything up, but I usually only have a short time to fit it in. There are a few sure fire things I do to prep my house for guests to make it visitor ready in 30 minutes or less.
This list is prioritized in the order that tasks should be done. The first few make the biggest difference, so if you have a limited amount of time you can focus on doing as much cleaning as you can in order. Make it through as many steps as you can in 30 minutes.
You can also tweak the order to suit your needs. If your house is one major dust ball, you can always move that up higher on the list, and the same applies to any of these. Although I do always recommend starting with “manage the clutter” because it makes the biggest difference.
If you do it right, you’ll be able to fake a super clean and guest-ready home in 30 minutes!
1. Manage the clutter
Do you know why all the awesome decor pictures in magazines and on Pinterest always look amazing?
There’s no papers strewn about, or toys on the floor. No empty glasses are left sitting on the coffee table, and no board games are sitting out half finished on the kitchen table. Surfaces and floors are clear of clutter.
To me, this is the step that makes the biggest difference. When all your clutter is out of sight, your house will look at least 50% cleaner.
So the first thing you should do is gather all the clutter in any areas guests will be, and put them in some kind of box or basket. A laundry basket can work well for this. And then put the basket out of sight, in a closet or in a corner of the room.
And voila, your house will appear magically cleaner!
And think broadly in terms of what you can consider clutter. Even if you usually have 10 jackets hanging on the hooks by the front door, those can be put away for guests. The same goes for shoes. Entryways are always important to have extra room when guests come, because their things will end up adding to whatever clutter is there already.
This isn’t a long term solution, just a quick fix. In general if you specify a location that every item in your home belongs, you’ll find you have much less clutter. Maintenance is usually the easiest way to keep your home guest ready.
2. First impressions
First impressions matter!
Whatever the first impression of your home is will affect how comfortable your guests feel in your entire home. If you make the first impression positive, they will think the rest of the house is cleaner. Psychology is strange, but it works.
So consider what your guests will see first, and make sure that space is clutter free and clean. For me the biggest thing is my kitchen island, which you can see from the front door. Keeping it clean and clear of debris and any clutter makes the entire house feel cleaner. Even something as simple as moving a recipe print out from the island to the counter makes it feel cleaner.
3. Sweep and vacuum
It’s amazing what a difference it makes to have clean floors. Your home could be covered in clutter, or spills on the counters, and as long as your floors are clean, it won’t feel icky or dirty.
If your guests come in and take their shoes off, they don’t want to be stepping on yesterday’s crumbs (all though I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of this at times!) Walking on a floor that doesn’t have any dust or crumbs makes you feel like the house is clean, no matter what else is going on.
For us one of the major floor messes is dog toy stuffing. Our pup likes to tear up his toys faster than we have the energy to pick up all the fluff. Just getting the fluff off the floor makes the house look and feel much cleaner.
So even if your floors aren’t amazingly gleaming and shiny, just getting dust and debris off will make a huge difference. Walking on a clean floor is a sure way to make your guests feel comfortable. I’m in love with our dyson vacuum which makes vacuuming go so quickly.
4. Tackle odors
Smell is such a powerful sense. A house can look clean, but if it doesn’t smell nice, nothing else matters. Luckily smells can be a pretty quick fix.
Scented candles, a quick spritz of some homemade febreeze, or simmering some apples and cinnamons on the stove can make a big difference.
5. Clean all surfaces
Do a quick wipe down of surfaces in rooms your guests will see. Clean up bathroom and kitchen countertops, and also wipe down any coffee or side tables. A quick cleaning will make such a big difference. My reusable cleaning wipes are perfect for this.
I think the bathrooms make the biggest difference. When there is no dust and hair all over the place, it feels so much cleaner. Getting the toothpaste gunk off the sink really just makes it look that much better.
Clean surfaces will make your guests feel comfortable to rest their hands or arms on surfaces. After all, there’s nothing that feels ickier than accidentally placing your hand on something sticky. Clean surfaces are the way to go.
6. Dust major areas
If you have time to make it to this step, your house will already be looking almost guest ready. Dusting is just a little extra bonus to your hosting-friendly home.
Hopefully your house isn’t super dusty, but if it is make sure to give it a little extra oomph with homemade dusting spray.
You know best where dust collects in your house. Focus on visible areas (don’t worry about tackling the top of the kitchen cabinets this very second). If you have time to, dusting the baseboards will make your house feel so much cleaner. But that’s really just icing on the cake.
7. Mop floors
Nothing says clean like a good shine! Taking a few minutes to mop and shine wood, laminate, and tile floors will make your guests think that your house is the height of cleanliness. I make an awesome homemade wood floor cleaner that really gives it an awesome shine.
If you make it all the way to step 7, your house will be spic and span. Or, at least your guests will think it is. They don’t need to see the giant box of clutter in the closet, right?
Anyways, this last step will give your house that extra boost. Shiny floors are the ultimate “this house is so clean” message. The look and feel of them is so inviting.
So there you have it! Use these steps to get your house guest-ready in 30 minutes or less. No one has to know how messy you really are, right?
My favorite cleaning supplies