Focus your efforts on these cleaning tasks to get your home company-ready in mere minutes.

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The hours before a party or gathering always seem to fly by. It's all too easy to spend time preparing food, setting the table, and putting finishing touches on your decor that cleaning tasks get put off until the last minute. If guests are on their way and you have yet to plug in the vacuum or pick up a scrub brush, don't fret. By tackling a few impactful cleaning tasks, you can get your home company-ready in a matter of minutes. The key to success is focusing on the areas that visitors are most likely to frequent and enlisting family members to help. Read on for the most important spots to clean before guests arrive and learn a few tricks for getting each task done as efficiently as possible. You might even find this routine helpful for giving your home a quick clean at any time.

mudroom entry black shelving
Credit: Joyelle West

1. Pick up the entryway.

Start with your entryway to ensure guests are greeted by a tidy, welcoming space. Remove clutter near the door and make room for guests to kick off shoes and hang up coats. Use a vacuum or broom to sweep the floors, or, at the very least, take rugs outside to shake out loose dirt, dust, and debris.

2. Tidy up the kitchen.

If your gathering involves food, chances are guests will end up in the kitchen at some point. Put away any dishes in the sink and clear unnecessary items off the countertop to instantly create the impression of a cleaner kitchen. Vacuum or sweep any noticeable crumbs on the floor, and wipe down the counters with a damp microfiber cloth or cleaning wipe.

3. Vacuum high-traffic areas.

You might not have time to mop the floors and deep-clean your carpets before guests arrive, but a quick pass with the vacuum can go a long way. Focus on areas that will see the most traffic during the event, such as the living room and connecting hallways, as well as any spots where you can see visible dirt or debris like pet hair. Using a cordless vacuum lets you easily move from room to room without wasting time on tangled cords.

wallpapered bath with bright green vanity
Credit: Jeff Herr

4. Speed-clean the bathroom.

Take a few minutes to clean the bathroom guests are likely to use. To save time, apply toilet bowl cleaner first, then start on other surfaces while it sanitizes. Use a glass cleaner to remove smudges and water spots from the mirror, and wipe down the countertops and sink using an all-purpose cleaner. A damp microfiber cloth can also work if you're really in a hurry. Once the other surfaces are clean, grab the toilet brush, give the bowl a quick scrub, and flush. Lastly, put out fresh hand towels and ensure the bathroom is stocked with plenty of soap and toilet paper.

5. Do a quick declutter.

Declutter your home's main gathering areas with this simple trick: Grab a laundry basket and fill it with any items that don't belong in the room. If you don't have time to put things away in their rightful places, stash the entire basket in a spot where guests aren't likely to look, such as the primary bedroom closet or laundry room.

living room mix and match style
Credit: Adam Albright

6. Fluff living room furniture.

Instantly give your living room a more polished look by refreshing the furniture. Start by straightening and fluffing the sofa cushions and pillows. To give pillows a plump look, strike the top with a karate-chop motion, which creates crisp corners and makes the middle appear fuller. Fold up any throw blankets or drape them nicely over an arm. Strategic placement of pillows or throws is also an easy way to cover up any spots or stains you didn't have a chance to clean. If you have time, go over the sofa with a handheld vacuum or lint roller to pick up any crumbs or dust that have settled into the fabric.

7. Dust common surfaces.

Clear away unsightly dust on easily visible areas such as coffee tables, baseboards, and lampshades. You can skip areas that guests likely won't notice, such as the top of your refrigerator or ceiling fan. When you don't have time to spray and wipe every surface, a handheld microfiber duster ($5, Target) can make quick work of this chore.

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