Forgotten anything in the panic?
Strictly speaking it’s a cheat but sooner or later you’re bound to be caught out like this, so …
If you know that your guests are arriving shortly and you don’t have the time to clean the house, follow my superquick routine to get your home looking presentable.
Open the windows to get in a quick blast of fresh air.
Get a basket, a bucket, a carrier bag or a cardboard box and go from room to room where you know ‘they’ (the guests) will see. Put all clutter that has accumulated like newspapers, magazines and childrens’ toys in your basket and put it somewhere out of the way like the garage.
Flush the toilet in the bathroom and squirt a bit of bleach or toilet cleaner down it. Spray the wash hand basin with a bathroom cleaner that is designed to work largely on its own. Leave it on to do its thing for a few minutes while you get on with other stuff.
Use a feather/ lambswool/ or one of those dusters that works using static electricity to whisk over surfaces that you feel are all too visible, or that you know they will touch. Don’t bother moving ornaments – you don’t have the time right now.
Go back and rinse out the wash hand basin.
If you have the time, give the floors a quick hoover, but only in the areas they will see. Don’t bother moving chairs etc.
If it’s an evening visit, put on side lights only. It’s more welcoming anyway and it means they can see less!
Spray a squirt of your favourite perfume in the entrance hall. (Just the one …too much and it will smell suspiciously like a tart’s boudoir)! Alternatively, do you have a nice scented candle you could light?
FINAL TIP: I tend to always have some cut flowers in the house, just because I really like cut flowers. At panic moments like this they can be great to have around because it’s amazing how any fresh flowers at all in a room will divert your visitors’ attention away from any perceived shortcomings in your housekeeping. So, if you should happen to have flowers, or you can nip out into the garden to get some, put them somewhere where everyone can see them!
Time taken: I have been known to do this routine in 15-20 minutes tops (although admittedly I may occasionally have looked a little flushed in the face when I greeted my guests)!
Bottom line? If you’re still in a panic, remember that those you love really are coming to see you – not to judge your housekeeping skills!