If you've run out of time and you can't hire a magical maid to make the dirt disappear, explore these cleaning tips for a house that's party-ready in a flash. In just one hour, you can make your house presentable for guests. Check out this crash course in housecleaning.
You can be proud to open your doors to party guests -- even when your preparation time runs out before your usual cleaning routine is complete.
Ideally, you will have scheduled plenty of time to clean all the nooks and crannies, organize clutter, and scrub each room until it's gleaming. Unfortunately, life doesn't always present you with ideal situations. When guests are scheduled to arrive in just an hour or two, pay attention to the spaces most central to your party.
Organize your cleaning plan, and don't linger on any single cleaning chore. Remember, this isn't a deep clean. Hit the important areas, clean only what you must, and move on.
Quick action can make you the hostess who impresses -- even under pressure. When preparing for a party, every home has different priorities. Customize this preparty cleaning plan to suit your home and entertaining space.
Start by reviewing the condition of these guest-focused party locales:
Scan the areas quickly to identify immediate problems. Then follow the recommendations on the next page to get your house party-ready in a flash.
Editor's Tip: Make your one-hour preparty cleanup even easier. Review our 1-Hour Quick-Clean Checklist, available below, to make sure you don't overlook a messy spot, and guests will never know you did all your cleaning in an hour.
Organize your cleaning blitz to get the most benefit in the least time. Don't fret about imperfections. Whisk away the messes that guests notice.
Start at the front door. It's the first thing guests will see. Make a good first impression in just minutes.
Banish clutter. Your everyday, lived-in look is not conducive to mingling. Clear spaces and open tabletops will help guests see you as organized and ready to entertain.
Refresh the bathrooms. Away from the buzz of the party, guests will form impressions of your home. A sparkling bath or powder room shows off your attention to comfort and cleanliness.
Pay attention to floors. In the areas guests will be mingling, make sure floors are clean and traffic can move freely.
After you've refreshed the first-impression spaces, move on to the areas where guests will spend the most time during your party. Use the cleaning tips on the next page to create shipshape kitchen and public spaces for your party guests.
Your kitchen and living area will be buzzing with activity. Put a shine on the areas where guests will linger.
Address kitchen priorities. Deep-cleaning the kitchen could eat up most of a day. When you'll be welcoming guests within the hour, clear the area to ready it for any party-food preparation.
Dump the trash. It sounds basic, but emptying trash containers is a quick way to make everything look fresher.
Stage the party area. Quick touches will have your home ready to welcome guests.
Being organized and efficient about your cleaning plan is the first step. Address the areas that matter most to you, and welcome guests with a sparkle in your attitude.
Editor's Tip: When you have more time to prepare for guests, include cleaning on your party-planning to-do list. Use our 7-Day Housecleaning Plan, available below, to get your home in shape with a short time investment in the days before your party.