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We recently moved into a new house where we did some major renovations, and of course, everyone wants to stop by and see it!

While I LOVE company, I’m not the biggest fan of house cleaning. So I’ve developed a few tricks to help my house stay neat and orderly without having to spend hours cleaning every time someone drops in for a visit.

I still have to do a major cleaning every week or two (thanks to a toddler and cat), but these tips help keep things under control.

  1. Picked up = 80 percent clean. I know everyone always says picking up is half the battle, but it’s really more like 80 percent. To a casual visitor, if your house is picked up and clutter is eliminated, it’s going to look clean. They are not peeking under your couch for dust bunnies (unless it’s your mom) or checking to see if you’ve Windexed every mirror in the house. Remember this the next time someone announces they are coming over with only an hour’s notice!
  2. Bathrooms are important. You do need to make sure your bathroom is guest ready. Now, not every bathroom in the house needs to be sparkling—just the one guests will use. Don’t have time for a deep clean? Shine up your sink and mirror, wipe down all surfaces and you’re good to go.
  3. Toys, toys, toys. If you’ve got kids, you’ve got a toy problem. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a designated playroom, toys seem to migrate all over the house. If there isn’t time to properly store everything, throw them all into your kids’ room or basement and firmly shut the door. Unless you’re preparing for a playdate, your adult friends don’t need to see where the kid chaos happens. Investing in attractive storage bins is also a good idea. If you toss toys into pretty wicker baskets, they are much less offensive than when they’re strewn across the room.
  4. Little details: There are a few small chores you can do that will make a big difference. Making beds is one of them. A made bed instantly makes a room look cleaner. Loading up your dishwasher with whatever is in the sink is also an instant improvement.
  5. DE-CLUTTER!!! I saved this one for last, but it’s definitely the most important. Throw away old magazines, collect any glasses that have migrated to bedrooms or bathrooms and put them in the dishwasher. Do you have a pile of notepads and pens sitting on your kitchen counter? Throw them in a drawer. Pile all of your kids’ hats, coats and mittens into a box and shut all closet and cabinet doors or drawers.

Even if you only do a few of these tips every day, doing a major housecleaning will be much easier. The key is to not let the mess build. If you can keep it fairly under control most of the time, you can be ready for company at the drop of a hat!