Unexpected visitors really have a lot of nerve. Not only do they disrupt your schedule but they are also rude enough to drop by without giving you ample time to clean your house.
While you might generally keep your house fairly neat and clean, there is always going to be a bit of clutter, dust or grime at any given time, and that time usually hits when unexpected guests call to say they are five minutes away. Six quick and sneaky tips can work to make your home appear clean and cozy in a jiffy:
1. Shiny Spots
Making the bright shiny silver things around the house as bright and shiny as their supposed to be is a very quick and easy way to make it appear as if your whole house gleams. Think about it. If you see a dingy stainless steel sink or, worse yet, a grimy broiler handle beneath the oven, you don’t really pay it much mind. But when you see that broiler handle so dazzling bright that it reflects sunlight, you automatically think, wow, this person keeps a really clean house. They even clean the broiler handle.”
The same could be said for your home if you simply wipe a damp rag over the silver stuff and then dry it off before it makes those horrendous streaks. People will be so blown away that all your silver things shine, they will fail to notice the carpet needs vacuuming, the shelves need dusting or that you haven’t washed your windows since you put on that political sticker that says, “We Like Ike.” If you do an exceptional job on the bright shiny silver things, their brightness might even be blinding enough to hide any other disarray even if others are looking for it.
2. Windows and Mirrors
Windows and mirrors, with our without Eisenhower stickers, are automatically going to get people’s attention. They, too, should be shiny and gleaming if possible. A quick trick for cleaning mirrors is always a splash of water or window cleaner wiped dry with a single sheet of newspaper. Newspapers prevent those streaks that can make even the cleanest mirrors look like they belong in a haunted house.
Cleaning windows is a bit trickier, since they annoyingly come with two sides that require your attention and no quick fix — unless you have a tablecloth or a large skirt lying around. Large tablecloths and wide, full peasant-type long skirts work well as an impromptu window dressing that adds interest and texture while drawing attention away from the griminess of your windows. Simply strategically place a few thumb tacks through the edges of the skirt or tablecloth so it drapes artistically around the window and, voila, the effect is so dashing no one notices the filthy glass. This particular step can be avoided, of course, if you have existing window treatments you can close to hide the dirty panes, citing a headache for your reason of needing to be in the dark.
3. Clutter Cache
Even the best-kept homes can look like a scene from Sanford and Son if you have clutter clogging it up. It really doesn’t matter if everything is dusted, polished and situated neatly in a proper place, the whole house looks like a garbage dump. Creating a clutter cache, or a large, readily-available hiding place to stash all your clutter in a jiffy is the answer you seek. Clutter caches can be a large box, bin, laundry tub or any other storage-type container you can easily put out of the way once its full of all your clutter.
To make the most of such a cache, opt for decorative containers that match the room’s décor. Try sweet wicker baskets for the bathroom clutter, fashionable fabric-lined bins for the living room junk and a large ceramic or terra cotta planter to hold all the newspapers and magazines from your kitchen table. Certain furniture items make natural clutter caches, such as those ottomans that open up for storage, those roll-top desks that contain so much unused space and the oven and dishwasher, provided you remember you stuffed all your stuff inside and do not turn them on.
4. Hiding Spots
Similar to the clutter cache, hiding spots serve the same purpose of concealing your junk, just on a much larger scale. A hiding spot goes one better. The best ones are large enough to hold a clutter cache – just in case you’re stuck with a clutter cache that doesn’t have a lid. Many nooks and crannies built right into the home make great hiding spots, with closets as the most obvious.
One exceptional hiding spot is the bathtub or shower stall, either of which is usually large enough for several clutter caches, a bicycle and any unwanted visitors. An opaque shower door or curtain is a must to hide whatever you’ve crammed in the stall or bathtub or it will blow your whole scheme. Other effective hiding spots are in, around and under furniture, beneath couch cushions, and under bed and bedding.
5. The Great Rug Sweep
Sweeping things under the rug is a trick so old it’s even used as a phrase to describe hiding things you are supposed to deal with. It’s stuck around and remained so popular because the practice works. If you pull up a corner of any rug at any given time you’ll find dirt, grime and flattened dust bunnies that get trapped beneath it anyway There is really no harm in adding a bit more from time to time.
This sneaky trick works especially well as a quick fix if you’ve lost or broke your dustbin or accidently drop something that scatters while you’re at a friend’s house for dinner. Please note the trick does not work on wall-to-wall carpeting that’s been installed with nails and tacks. Please also note it will only work for a limited time until the rug starts looking lumpy or rising up and hovering above the floor like a possessed Ouija board.
6. Creative Redecorating
Creative redecorating is the finale of last-ditch efforts to get your house spic and span before that doorbell doth ring. Creative redecorating involves the movement or adjustment of furniture, rugs, wall hangings and other large objects to hide a major flaw you can’t fix in the few minutes you were allotted. Prime examples of creative redecorating include moving the coffee table to the left to hide the juice spill on the white carpet or moving the armchair against the wall to hide the crayon artwork from this morning of which your child is so proud.
Other quick fix methods work best if you have a ready stash of more tablecloths, large peasant skirts or sheets with patterns that don’t have that obvious bedding look. In addition to hiding grimy windows, such large swatches of fabric can cover tables that need dusting, couches that need steam-cleaning and even work to cover a clutter cache you could not stash. Simply throw a decorative piece of fabric over the clutter cache, place a few books and a candlestick on top and you’ve created a makeshift end table. Your guests will be amazed at the immaculateness of your home and you will – guaranteed – be amazed at your level of creativity.