When I was younger and company was on it’s way, we all would scramble — or if no one could be coaxed into helping, Mom would scramble — to get the house (or at least the first floor) sparkling. It was a see-your-reflection-in-the-marble-floor kind of clean. But Mom keeps a clean house in the first place, so it’s not so difficult to get it in immaculate condition.
Now that I live away from home, Mom isn’t around to coordinate the cleaning. And because I don’t clean as often as I should, when company is on its way, my apartment usually is in need of a good scrub down. Note: I tidy up fairly often, but the can of Pledge tends to collect dust.
But what if I don’t have much time before company arrives? Enter speed cleaning, er, speed making my apartment look as clean as possible. I use this as a last-ditch effort to appear as if I know what I’m doing in the realm of Swiffers and Windex. I’m not incredibly proud of the techniques discussed below, but I feel it’s better than looking like I live in an episode of Horders.
A little Febreze — or a scented candle — goes a long way
For a really quick fix, spray something that smells better than your wet dog or what you made last night for dinner (or a combination of the two). Your guests might not tell you if you place smells bad, but they will discuss it later with each other. And I find if I go somewhere that is cluttered but smells pleasant, it’s much better than somewhere that’s super clean but smells rotten.
Clutter everywhere? Put it in something — or behind or under something
If you live in an apartment, you probably don’t have too much room for all your stuff. Clothes tend to pile on chairs, magazines on coffee tables and dishes in the sink (or if you are Lauren Boyer, in the shower). If there’s stuff out on the floor or on the counter, put it inside something else. Your guests won’t be able to see it. If you are in a pinch, you can simply stuff those clothes in a closet, put the magazines in a book shelf or if you don’t have one, under a bed, and get those dishes into the dishwasher post haste. This is a pretty obvious solution for clutter removal.
Clean the bathroom — Seriously, clean the bathroom
I hate cleaning a dirty bathroom as much as the next girl, but it has to be done. Your guests (at least one of them) are certain to need to use the facilities at some point during their stay. Seriously scrubbing the toilet, sink and mirror are a must. If your guests aren’t of the overnight variety and you don’t plan to work up a sweat during your dinner party, you probably can forgo the bathtub, for now. The bathroom cleanup will probably account for a large chunk of your total cleaning time, but it’s worth the effort.
Is it visibly dirty? Wipe it down
Dust caked on to your entertainment center? Don’t have time to thoroughly clean it? Get a damp towel and give your furniture a quick once over. The dust will be gone for at least as long as your guests stick around. For larger issues — i.e. spaghetti sauce on the counter or something equally as noticeable — break out the Brillo pads and elbow grease and get that grime unstuck. Even if company wasn’t calling, you probably needed to clean that anyway.
Have time to spare? Get vacuuming
With a dog, vacuuming is mandatory for me. But if you live pet-free, you might not need to break out the Dyson if you are short on time. If you have a few minutes, the vacuum marks in the carpet do add a nice touch. You guests might even think you spent a great deal of time making your apartment as clean as possible.
Do you have any tips for cleaning your place in a pinch? How about advice on keeping it clean so you don’t have to worry when company is on the way?