Your mother-in-law just happens to be in the area, and she'd love to stop by for a brief visit. Before you panic and hide, take a deep breath and assess the situation. Where will she be spending most of her visit? Sitting in the living room for a brief chat or watching the kids play in the family room? Once you determine the area of your visit, you can focus your limited time there.
Nothing screams "messy house" louder than a pile of clutter or dirty dishes on the counter. Start by loading used dishes in the dishwasher for a quick hide. Throw stacks of magazines and unread mail into a decorative basket or chest. Picking up after little ones? Grab a laundry basket and move from room to room, gathering clutter as you go. Stow the basket in the laundry room or garage until your guest leaves. Speaking of the laundry room, worried about that pile of dirty clothes? Simply toss it in the washer for an instant fix.
Vacuuming instantly makes a room feel cleaner. Start by vacuuming your entryway, followed by the main hallways and walkways your visitor will pass through. Don't miss the stray hairs and dust bunnies that settle in the corners, either.
Eliminate any lingering odors by emptying all trash cans and taking the trash out. Still smelling last night's burnt popcorn? Spray a neutralizing air freshener or light a scented candle (try freesia) to combat the offending odor. In addition, don't forget to open the windows or turn on the air conditioner. Fresh air and sunlight makes any home feel cleaner.
Making the beds is a simple way to tidy up in an instant. Dirty sheets? Not to worry -- your visitor won't notice once the comforters are pulled up, the pillows are fluffed and the blankets are neatly folded.
Eliminate pet hair by going over your couches and rugs with a lint brush. Next, grab a duster and focus on the surfaces that are easily seen.
Fake a clean bathroom by adding fresh towels and tossing the dirty ones in the washer. Wipe down bathroom surfaces with disinfecting wipes and touch-up the mirrors with your all-purpose cleaner and paper towels. Make sure your soap dispenser and toilet paper are well-stocked.
Distract your visitor from any messes with the tempting smell of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies. Pick up some break-and-bake frozen cookie dough, and you'll have a delicious smelling -- and tasting! -- treat in minutes. Also, if you have the time and resources, cut a few fresh flowers from your garden and put them in a lovely vase for an instant room pick-me-up.
Lifestyle expert Lainika Johnson-Colbert shares some tips on fast ways to keep your bathroom looking clean and fresh.
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