Start in the kitchen. Clear the draining board and stash any clutter in a cupboard or drawer. Hide any dirty dishes in the dishwasher or in the washing-up bowl and pop it under the sink. You can come back to them later.
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Sweep any crumbs into the bin and quickly wipe the worktops with a damp cloth. Pop the dirty tea towel in the washing machine and replace with a fresh one.
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In the living room, straighten up the cushions, fold any throws and place them over the sofa back, arm or anywhere else that hides a stain.
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De-clutter by popping any papers, letters or random bits and bobs into a laundry basket. Stack magazines and books into neat piles and pop any gadgets next to the TV or a cupboard.
The living room is probably where your guests will be congregating, so think about where their eyes will fall. Wipe dust and marks from the coffee table and other surfaces with a clean damp cloth.
Give the bathroom a quick clean. Whiz around the toilet rim with bleach and flush. Hide any dirty towels or bath mats in the tub behind the shower curtain.
Take a damp cloth and wipe the bathroom mirror to remove any toothpaste marks, then wipe the sink and taps. Finish up by hanging up a fresh hand towel.
3 – 2 minutes
If you see any obvious bits lying around quickly hoover them up or use a dustpan and brush. If you see only see a few large specks of fluff or paper, pick them up instead of hoovering.
Stash away the hoover, hide the laundry basket of lost items in a cupboard or bedroom and give each room a quick spritz of air freshener. Finally uncork the wine. And breathe.
- Work quickly and in order
- Disguise and hide items to deal with later
- Carry essential cleaning items with you as you go
- Carry a basket with you to collect items that shouldn’t be in the room you’re tidying
- Focus on any one problem for too long. The aim is clearing, not cleaning
- Try to do too much or you won’t have time to do anything
- Forget to open some windows and let fresh air circulate
- Worry if you don’t get it all done – your guests will surely look past a bit of clutter
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