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How to quickly clean the house for unexpected guests

Kristin Chessman is a freelance writer, editor and mom from Southern California with a passion for travel, fashion, Disney, the beach, Italian food and all-things celebrity. Follow Kristin on Twitter @KristinChessman.

How to… Prep for guests

Prepping for unexpected guests? Don’t turn off the lights and hide just yet! With the right tools and a proper plan, you can quickly clean the house for unexpected guests. Follow these seven simple steps to make a fabulous first impression in a pinch:

Woman in clean kitchen

Step 1: Rally the troops

In order to quickly clean the house, you'll need to arm yourself with the right tools and support. First, grab a bucket and throw in paper towels and old rags, disposable cleaning wipes, all-purpose spray, and dusters. Carry your quick cleaning arsenal with you from room to room. Next, put extra hands to use. Even your toddler can play the clean-up game by tossing her toys into her toy chest.

Step 2: Focus your time

When the clock's ticking, it's best to focus a majority of your house cleaning time on the areas your guests will be visiting the most. This usually includes the bathroom, kitchen, and family room. Keep in mind this is a quick, surface-level cleaning meant to make last minute guests feel comfortable and welcome.

Step 3: Make a positive first impression

Quickly clean your entryway in order to impress your unexpected guests. Grab any stray shoes or toys and throw them into an empty basket. Use a cordless vacuum to quickly freshen your entry rug, then dust your entry table, and any other furniture or crevices near the entrance.

Step 4: Bathroom TLC

When you clean the house for unexpected guests, be sure to spend several minutes in your guest bathroom. There's nothing like toothpaste stains and dirty towels to gross out visitors! Use your all-purpose spray and disinfecting wipes to clean the sink, mirror, and toilet seat. Set out fresh towels, empty the trash, and check for toilet paper and soap. If the tub isn't clean, don't fret; simply close the shower curtain.

Step 5: Freshen your kitchen

Keep prepping for unexpected guests by heading to the kitchen: empty the trash, load the dishwasher, and change your dish towels. Use a disinfecting wipe to quickly clean the counters and appliances, leaving the room with a fresh scent.

Step 6: Tidy up the family room

This is where the extra helpers really come in handy during a quick house cleaning. Assign the kids to pick up their toys and school work and store them in their respective homes. Fluff the cushions and pillows of your sofa, then add a decorative throw to the top of it. Be sure books and magazines are properly stacked in the bookshelf or magazine rack. If you have time, quickly run the vacuum in here, too.

Step 7: Tempt their senses

Once you're done with your quick house cleaning, switch to hostess mode: bake fresh chocolate chip cookies (keep break-and-bake cookies in the freezer) to instantly make the house smell welcoming. If you have a garden, nab some fresh, fragrant flowers and throw them into a vase for an instant room refresher.

What you saidTell us: How do you deal with unexpected house guests?

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