Practical tips for getting guest-ready in less than 20 minutes


  by Kate Shaw

Love your friends but hate surprise pop-ins? Stop stressing and start moving. It’s possible to create a clutter-free appearance for your home in no time at all.



Hit your entryway

Grab a plastic bag for rubbish and a crate or tub for clutter (a washing hamper will do if it’s the only thing handy) and hit your front entrance. Corral shoes into shoe boxes and coats onto coat hooks, or collect them in your crate. Pick up any rubbish.

Tip: Try setting a timer for 20 minutes before you get started. Having a set deadline is likely to keep you more motivated (if the thought of guests turning up to your untidy home isn’t motivation enough).



Sort out open-plan spaces

Head into any open-plan living spaces and repeat the process, popping toys into toy boxes where available. Next, throw the rubbish bag in the bin and pop the crate in a nearby cupboard or bedroom. Vow to unpack immediately when guests leave. Shut the bedroom or cupboard door.

Wipe down the kitchen bench
Grab a cloth and spray and wipe the kitchen benches. Pop unwashed dishes in the dishwasher or rinse and stack neatly in the sink. Make your tap and splashback shine.

If your sink is not full of neatly stacked dishes, pop in the plug, turn on the taps and spray in a little fresh-smelling disinfectant to do its thing as you work. Before your guests arrive, pull the plug – your house will smell effortlessly clean.

Tip: Many a time-poor parent has found baby wipes the perfect go-to for myriad uses beyond their baby’s bottom. Even if you’re not in the baby phase, wipes are a handy item to keep on hand for emergencies.



Tackle the guest bathroom

Enter your guest bathroom if you have one, or family bathroom if not. Throw some toilet cleaner around the toilet bowl and leave it to work its magic while you hit the surfaces. Spray and wipe the vanity. Employ wet toilet paper to dust around the corners of the floor. Use a dirty towel to wipe the floor (don’t forget to throw it in the laundry hamper when you’re done). Replace the hand towel, check the toilet roll and flush the toilet.

Tip: For extra brownie points, roll up your guest towels as seen here. If you do this ahead of time your guest bathroom will always have a polished look.

Get out the vacuum cleaner

Grab your vacuum and hit the entryway and living areas. Stick to the main floor area (no time for thorough cleaning under the sofas today). Pop the vacuum cleaner away.



Set the scene

Wash your hands, light a scented candle, pop on the kettle and throw a brush through your hair. Pat yourself on the back – you’ve done it! (And if the guests still haven’t arrived, you probably should hand wash those dishes.)



 Never again?

Feeling tired at the thought of the the 20-minute tidy up? There is an alternative. If you tidy as you go you’ll never have to face it again. It’s easy to learn how to be a ‘tidy person’.



Quick hacks

Or would you rather clean quickly but cleverly?

Top tips for a tidy house include clever use of storage. The 20-minute tidy up will have a longer- lasting effect if instead of a random washing hamper you have designated storage boxes throughout your home.

Both of my children have their own storage box that remains on a shelf in our kitchen area. Anything they leave downstairs gets popped in their box, which they are asked to empty nightly. I also keep a box at the bottom of the stairs for items that belong upstairs, and each time I head upstairs I ensure I take this box with me. Small measures such as this have made a huge difference to the general organisation of my not-very-organised home.

Good luck, and if you don’t quite get it all done, remember your guests are more interested in you than your house anyway.


Houzz is a platform for home renovation and design, bringing homeowners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community. These guest posts are supplied by their community of authors and first appeared on www.houzz.com.au

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