Do you ever arrange for someone to visit you in about 20 minutes’ time and then look around your bomb site of a home in sheer panic? These moments are often when I do my most frantic of tidying and cleaning and it’s sometimes difficult to know which areas to focus on.
Do you start with the living room or the kitchen? The toilet or the coffee table?
You obviously can’t do everything, there just isn’t the time so you need a strategy!
I’ve teamed up with the guys at cleaning company Hassle.com – who have just launched in Brighton – to get some top tips on how to use your limited time to the best effect.
Cleaners Duane and Megan say the first thing to do is de-clutter. “First things first, make your way around the home clearing away any unnecessary clutter,” they explain. “This will make the actual clean up much easier. Even if you just throw everything into a box or basket and hide it away until after your guests leave, your home will appear much tidier for it!”
This is where storage comes in handy. Storage baskets are great, ottomans at the bottom of the bed or even shoving things in the bottom of your wardrobe or under your bed will do. Just get it out of sight for now and you can put it into its proper home later.
Next up, focus on your guests’ first impressions. Megan and Duane say: “The hall or entry way is the first thing your guests will see, so it’s worth putting a bit of extra effort into this area. Give the floor a quick sweep or a once over with the vacuum cleaner. Dust and wipe down visible surfaces and make sure any shoes are stored in the shoe rack and coats are hung up. You can even light incense or a scented candle so your guests are immediately hit with a pleasant and refreshing scent when they enter.”
We have a cupboard under the stairs where we keep our shoes so luckily our hallways is pretty clutter free. Don’t forget your skirting boards – they can really pick up dust if left for too long and will be a giveaway if you don’t give them attention. I think incense or a scented candle is a really nice touch too, if you don’t have somewhere like a shelf or ledge for it to properly live in your hallway, you can always put it out on the floor while you’re cleaning and move it before your guest arrives so a nice scent is still left behind.
Prioritise rooms. “Think about which rooms your guests are going to see the most of; probably the living room and bathroom, or maybe the dining room if you’re having a dinner party,” they suggest. “Focus more on these rooms. Wipe down any surfaces in the living room and dust ledges and appliances. In the bathroom, work on the most visible places, mainly the mirror, sink and toilet. Wet wipes are a really quick and easy way to clean these spots down when you’re in a rush.”
I think the key areas are the main surfaces (tables or sideboards/sink or toilet in the bathroom) and the floors. Those are the areas that will be used the most and that your eyes are drawn to.
Wet wipes are a really good shout too. There’s nothing that annoys me more (in cleaning terms, anyway) then when you’re trying to clean a dusty surface and rather than collecting the dust your cloth is just kind of moving it all around. Pointless! Antibacterial wet wipes are good at actually picking up the dust as you go, so make sure you’ve always got some wet wipes in the house for emergency cleaning situations like this!
Always try to have a quick whizz round in the kitchen too. “Even though your guests might not be spending much time in your kitchen, you should take care that your kitchen at least looks presentable! Empty the bins, put out fresh towels and wipe all the visible surfaces. This won’t take long at all, but can make all the difference!”
Finally, if you have any time left you can add the finishing touches. “Once you’ve covered all the essentials and if there’s still time, you can go back and pay a little more attention to detail,” explain Megan and Duane. “Vacuum the living room, wipe door handles with a wet wipe, fluff the pillows and make the bed (just in case!).”
It can be done – don’t panic – just make sure you’ve got the cleaning, scented props (candle or incense) and storage essentials you need beforehand and prioritise. Then sit down with your guest, relax and enjoy their company!
This is a collaboration with Hassle.com