Even though most of us don’t have a housekeeper’s number on speed dial, we can at least put on the illusion of organization and cleanliness for ourselves and our guests. Consistently implementing some of these quick-cleaning tips and getting the family on board will make it easier when you wage a full-scale cleaning attack on your house.
Here are a few simple ways to make your house look great even when you’re pressed for time.
Begin with the basics
Arrange and fluff sofa and chair pillows, and fold any throws neatly. Put chairs in their proper places under their respective tables.
In the living room, put all the magazines and newspapers in one neat pile off to the side. Find a spot for all 76 absolutely necessary remotes, such as a basket — or just place them next to the devices they control.
Arrange those haphazardly dropped shoes against a wall in neat order near your doorway or out in the garage. Pick up clothes and towels on the floor and place into a hamper. Corral toys and put them in the toybox.
Next, go to all your tabletops and counters to declutter. Put away things that don’t belong, but don’t try to organize everything down to the paperclips today. Save that job for another day when you have more time.
Making your glass and mirrors sparkle makes your house seem cleaner than it might actually be, so get out the glass cleaner and get rid of as many fingerprints and streaks as you can.
Make it fresh
Spray your sofas and curtains with fabric refresher, and spritz lightly around the front door area with air freshener. Place scented candles in the living room or in the areas you or unexpected visitors may spend the most time.
A giant pile of papers and bills on your desk or countertops makes your house look cluttered, and no one really wants to know that you’ve been selected to enter a sweepstakes. Put any mail that’s strewn about into a basket for future sorting.
Make sure your sink isn’t full of dirty dishes. If you don’t have time to do them, flood your sink with soapy water to mask the smell, or put your dishes in the dishwasher or oven and just leave it off.
Take out the trash. Get a garbage can with a lid so that it’s harder to see the evidence. Use scented garbage bags or baking soda if you have a load of old food or smelly diapers in your garbage.
Knock the cobwebs off the lighting fixtures and grab the dust bunnies with a vacuum. Nothing can be more distracting than Charlotte and her web.
Simply straightening the bathroom towels, removing water from the sink and hanging fresh hand towels will make the bathroom look better immediately. Keep a container of disinfectant wipes in the cabinet for quick cleanups.
Make your bed if you plan on leaving the path to your room visible. If you don’t want unmade rooms visible, close the doors.
If you use these tips on a regular basis, a full-scale housecleaning will be much less overwhelming.