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How to Clean Up Fast for Unexpected Guests

If welcome guests drop in unexpectedly, some quick action can quickly get you clean and ready. Your hall, a reception room (aka living room or family room), and a bathroom are the minimum areas you can restrict a guest to. So clean and tidy only those rooms. Follow these tips:

  • Open the windows: Even just five minutes brings freshness into your home.

  • Empty any ashtrays and take the rubbish bin out of the lounge. Emptying it is too involved, so simply hide it in a closed room.

  • Check the bathroom and soap/towel/tissue paper supplies. Add toilet freshener, then flush. Wipe the sink with a cleaning wipe.

  • Plump the cushions on the sofa and push chairs into a conversational grouping.

  • Take up rugs if you don’t have time to vacuum. It brings a cleaner look to the room.

  • Free up coat pegs in the hall, ready for guests. By using coat hangers on hooks, you can get more onto less space.

  • Fill the kitchen sink with warm, soapy water. You can drop any dirty dishes and cups you collect into the sink and thus hide them.

Think five senses and cater to each:

  • Hearing: Put soothing music in the CD player at low volume.

  • Sight: Add instant colour by moving flowers to a vantage point in the living room. If you don’t have flowers, fruit is an acceptable substitute. A bright, mixed bowl makes your home look a healthy one, too.

  • Smell: Use a coffee-scented room spray that adds a nice ambient touch. But steer clear of artificial flowers or meadow breezes. You don’t want your home smelling like a just-cleaned bathroom. In the kitchen, get up a welcoming aroma by putting a bread roll in the microwave for 30 seconds.

  • Taste: Set up a snack area for a taste of treats ahead. Laying coasters and a central mat on the table will make it look as if you went to no trouble at all when you bring out drinks and nibbles for your guests later.

  • Touch: Make the place look cosy. Position cushions at the base of chair backs, ready to give extra support.

More than anything, getting the brightness right can disguise a less-than-clean home.

Turning lights on during the day makes your home appear fresher and sunnier. Estate agents use this trick because they know that bright homes sell faster. An exception is in the kitchen, where halogen or florescent lights seldom flatter. So simply turn on under-cupboard task lighting to direct the focus onto a clear worktop.

Candles are the ultimate in forgiving. Their soft glow hides dirt, yet throws warmth and soft colour around the room. Small groups of candles can effectively light a large lounge. From dusk, draw curtains, turn off any overhead lights, and use candles and table lamps instead.

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