Helen’s Housework Helper!

Disclaimer: Before we begin, I’m going to assume that you are fairly on top of your housework overall. Perhaps things are fairly okay, but it’s the middle of the week and you have a surprise visit from your distant aunt? Have no fear, we’ve got this.

This routine is a bit of a cardio workout, Remember, your aunt is on her way and the clock is ticking – so let’s get moving!

  1. Toilet Bombs

I used this recipe to make some bergamot and eucalyptus toilet bombs, which are essentially just small, happy-smelling bath bombs. Make them in advance and store them in a glass jar in the bathroom, then you can toss one in and give the pan a quick scrub before your guests arrive.

Time required: 30 seconds

2. Wipe Around

Grab yourself a soft cloth, dampen it with some antibacterial spray and give any visible surfaces a quick wipe. When you’re done, toss it in the wash and launder it for next time (unless it’s a paper towel, in which case it goes in the bin). If you’ve used my cleaning drawers suggestion, you can shave off valuable time by not having to walk about the home for cleaning supplies. Generally, it took me 4 minutes to clean a mantelpiece, a TV unit, 2 storage units, a coffee table and an end table. A workout for sure! But worth it. Don’t forget, it doesn’t need to be perfect, just wiped down. You can restore perfection when you have the time for it.

Time required: 4 minutes

3. Out Of Sight Is Out Of Mind

Invest in some good quality storage ottomans! We have two of these faux leather bad boys in our lounge and you would never know that one is chock full of to-be-sorted oddities. If it’s to be kept and sorted, pop it in there for sorting after the visit. If it’s rubbish, it goes in the trash. Pop the lid on et voila! Your secret is safe with us.

Time required: 3 minutes

4. Sweep, Don’t Brush

Look, I’ve already assumed that you’re on top of your game so your floors shouldn’t be that dirty. If they’re not, then you should able to get away with a quick sweep with a brush, rather than the vacuum cleaner, which is slower and takes longer. Sweep up any bits and pop them in the trash. A brush will clear up the bigger bits anyway, and the smaller bits that the vacuum picks up aren’t usually immediately visible so they shouldn’t really matter for now. Make peace with it, and make a note to vacuum later on. Unless your guest has a dust allergy, the fact that you haven’t vacuumed that morning shouldn’t matter too much.

NB. If you have pets, consider a rubber brush as they are superb for getting up pet hair, too!

Time required: 3 minutes

5. Claim The Kitchen

If your guests are coming over to see you on a whim, then they are coming over to see you, not your kitchen. Claim to be in the middle of the decorating (we know you’re not) or something and tell them that you’d just hate for them to get wet paint on their clothes and so you’d prefer that they stay out of the kitchen. Sure, lying is never really a good thing, but do you want to have to clean your whole kitchen on such short notice? Didn’t think so.

6. Invest In A Dishwasher

In the time that it takes you to clean the rest of your home, your dishwasher can be cleaning the teacups, coffee mugs or glassware for you. If you’re organised, kudos. If not, most dishwashers have a quick wash function that will have your crockery or glassware sparkling is typically about 25 minutes, long enough for you to stall for those extra few minutes while everyone gets inside and seated. I’m just saying that if your dishwasher has such a function then you should probably learn how to use it. If you don’t have a dishwasher, see it as an investment for saved time and energy.

Time required: 2 minutes (plus running time while you clean!)

7. Spray The Pets Away

If you’re dog (or cat) mad like I am, you’ll know that your home smells of.. well.. dogs (or cats). For us, that’s no big deal, but for some guests it can be a dealbreaker. Invest in a good quality fabric freshener, give the curtains a light mist and open the window slightly. The scent will travel around the room and hide and unpleasant aromas. If it’s cold outside, lightly mist the backs of your scatter cushions, waft them slightly (to dry them) and pop them back. Provided you don’t overdo it, your guests won’t notice.

Time required: 30 seconds

8. Steam Your Hard Floors To Life

I made the transition from a rag mop to a steam mop last year and I had only one question for myself, “why didn’t I do this before?”. Steam kills bacteria instantly and can help give your hard floors a perfect lustre. It heats in a minute and dries within seconds too, requiring no time and leaving no sign that you’ve been busy cleaning.

Time required: 3 minutes

9. Pop-up!

Invest in a pop-up hamper that you can store out of sight and spring open at a moment’s notice. Whether it’s for odd socks or coats, pop them in there and get them out of sight in another room, or cupboard (shh!).

Time required: 2 minutes

10. Empty The Bin

To round up, if you have a lounge bin, be sure to empty it. It’s such a small thing and yet the sight of an empty bin in and of itself can go a long way in making your home look more clean, tidy and organised.

Time required: 1 minute

So there you have it, my 10 step approach to getting my home ready for surprise visitors in under 20 minutes!

Don’t forget, this is not a general cleaning routine and should not be used as one. This is merely a quick 20 minute spruce up routine to help you get ready for those naughty surprise guests!

How do you cope with surprise visitors?

Let me know in the comments!

Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Beautiful,

Helen xx

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