I've teamed up with Merry Maids Season’s Cleanings for this post.
A few weeks ago, I told you all about cleaning your house in just 30 minutes a day for 7 days to prepare for the holidays. I love being on top of my housework and feeling at ease around the holidays, knowing that my home is clean and ready for guests. Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way of my best laid plans, and before I know it stacks of mail have piled up, there's toys strewn all over the living room, and the laundry is overflowing the hampers. It's almost uncanny that on those days I get a phone call that a friend is in the neighbor and wants to pop in for a visit.
I asked the experts at Merry Maids for some tips about cleaning in preparation for the holidays and I was able to get some great tips straight from Debra Johnson, national cleaning expert and staff trainer from Merry Maids. Debra knows that the holidays bring lots of joy, but it can also be a stressful time of year. With shopping, cooking, volunteering, school programs, and so many other holiday obligations, people just don't have the time to keep their homes clean and tidy every single day. Debra says, "the good news is that there are simple tips and strategies to getting a home in tip-top shape – from being selective with holiday décor to having a laundry closet packed with your trusty cleaning solutions – making cleaning easier and far less stressful.”
So, what do you do when a friend wants to drop by for a visit and your home is in less than perfect condition? Debra says you can make it "appear" that you've spent a full day cleaning! Just grab a microfiber cloth, your handy household cleaner, and set your timer. You will be amazed at what you can do in just 15 minutes if you focus and work quickly.
When you walk into my house, you walk into a great wide open floor plan. This is lovely, except when it's messy and I can't hide it. I can't avoid taking guests into the kitchen or simply bypass the messy living room. They're right there for all to see. So, that's where I need to focus for swift cleaning. Luckily, I keep my cleaning supplies together (another great tip from Merry Maids!), so I'm able to just grab them and go.
First things first - the smell of your home is important and can make a lasting impression. You want your home to be warm and inviting, so start by lighting a scented candle to get a lovely scent to fill the air. I love to have holiday scents on hand like pumpkin, sugar cookies, balsam, or candy cane. This will only take a second, but makes a big difference!
Merry Maids suggests sweeping up your front porch and foyer... you know what they say about first impressions, and I'm pretty sure the entrance into your home is the prime example of this, so this is a must. We have a central vacuum system in our house, but that's so bulky and cumbersome, that I prefer to use a small, battery powered vacuum most of the time. Even better, sometimes I can get my toddler to push it around - score! The entrance to our home leads you right into our living room and that's an area where stuff just seems to accumulate in our house.
If you've got little ones, you probably have some stray toys laying around. Collect them and get them out of sight. I'm sure your guests know you have kids, but the general areas of your home don't need to look like a toy store exploded. Move the toys into a spare room, or even your child's bedroom, then shut the door. Hopefully, your guests will get the hint that rooms with closed doors are off-limits. Same goes for random things that just might be "decorating" your living room and kitchen. Laptops, tablets, backpacks, shoes, books... whatever you've got that's causing your home to look cluttered, gather it up and put it in a spare room and shut the door until your guests leave.
Then swipe the surfaces of your coffee and end tables with your microfiber cloth and toss some magazines on the table. Fluff up your throw pillows and fold the throw blankets in the living room.
Next, head towards the bathroom that your guests will be using. In our house, this just happens to be the bathroom that's right next to our toddler's room. I think it's pretty safe to say that no one wants to use the bathroom next to a tub filled with bath toys, and they don't want to wash their hands in a sink filled with Jake and the Neverland Pirates toothpaste.
Again, put away any stray items and place toothbrushes, toothpaste, and anything else on the counters in a drawer or medicine chest. Then, as Merry Maids suggests, give your sink and counter a good swipe with your microfiber and leave a festive box of tissues behind. Here's a little tip - for streak free mirrors, use newspaper instead of paper towels or a cloth. It'll be streak and fuzz free. Don't forget to restock the toilet paper too!
For me, the next and final stop was the kitchen. It's centrally located and a big part of entertaining, so I needed to give it a once-over for sure. Our kitchen is also a collecting place for random stuff, so I definitely needed to get that out of sight. Just looking through some of those random papers, I was able to recycle some, and stash the rest in our office for sorting and filing. As Debra suggested, I simply threw the dishes in the dishwasher and turned it on - that way I'd have clean and warm dishes ready for dinner. Then I put all of those clean sippy cups and pans away. It only took a few minutes but made a world of difference.
Doesn't it look so much better?! It's easy to make it look like you've spent a full day cleaning your house if you focus on decluttering and tidying up! I'll definitely be utilizing these tips from Debra Johnson of Merry Maids anytime I have a visitor that plans to drop by in 15 minutes.
What's your best quick cleaning tip?
Disclosure: I've teamed up with Merry Maids Season’s Cleanings for this sponsored post. All opinions are my own.