Last-minute visit from the in-laws or surprise house guests for the weekend? We know you’ve been meaning to put away that pile of laundry all week, but now it’s crunch time and you are running around like a crazy person trying to get the house in shape. There’s no insta-miracle for a spotlessly clean house, but there are a few tricks you can use to minimize the clutter culprits in each room in as little as 15 minutes. When time is limited, the trick is to be strategic about how you do your chores. But first, put on some music. We promise it will make the cleaning feel a little less awful and a little more fun.
1. The Kitchen: If you do only one thing here, let it be the dishes. Make short work of it by plugging up the kitchen sink, filling it halfway up with hot, soapy water and allowing the dishes to soak while you take five minutes to put other stuff away. Whether it’s bags of baking supplies or piles of snack food, gather up all the kitchen clutter and use bins and baskets to organize similar items. For extra organization, you could even label your containers so you know where to put what next time you get groceries. (via Better Homes and Gardens)
2. The Dining Room: All too often, the dining room becomes a dumping place for everyone’s projects, homework, etc. If paper is the problem, set up a sorting system to organize kids’ papers and the mail. If your dining room doubles as an office or homework station, have a cabinet close by where you can hide all the desk supplies. (via Domaine Home)
3. The Living Room: Start by fluffing and straightening the cushions and any throw blankets. Tidy the coffee tables by corralling remote controls, straightening piles of books or magazines and tossing out any junk mail. If you’re cleaning for the whole family, set up a “lost and found” system in the living room. Create a basket for each family member, and as you clean, toss all their items into their baskets for them to empty once a week. (via The Glitter Guide)
4. The Bathroom: Most of your hustle will need to be here, because guests always need the bathroom. Take the first four minutes to wipe the tub, toilet and sink, then spend one minute to wipe your mirrors, straighten towels and empty the waste basket. Use those final two minutes to grab your vacuum and go to town on stray hairs. (via Lonny)
5. The Bedroom: First things first: Make your bed. Even if you do nothing else, making the bed is the one thing that will make the space look much, much tidier than it actually is. And it’ll really take just a minute! Then try a DIY jewelry organization system to instantly clean up the top of the dresser or vanity. (via Better Homes and Gardens)
6. The Laundry Room: This is the one room in the house that seems to be a collection place for all sorts of odds and ends. Set up jars inside a pretty tray to collect clothes pins, mending supplies, things you find in pockets and any other random items. (via Brit + Co)
7. The Office: We all have that one part of our home office that just drives us crazy. If it’s your main desk drawer, grab a few drawer dividers or trays to organize all those little items. If you have too many piles of paper, try and do as much sorting as you can in 10 to 15 minutes. (via My Domaine)
8. The Entryway: A couple little boxes or a basket near the door is the perfect place to hide important things like sunglasses, keys, etc. This will make them easy to grab as you are walking out the door but won’t clutter up the foyer. If shoes are piling up, organize them in a stylish tray that also helps keep mud and dirt off your floor. (via Lonny)
What are your tricks for last-minute house cleaning? Share your organization hacks with us in the comments below!