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How to Clean a Messy House Fast

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We all want to avoid the embarrassment of unexpected guest dropping by to discover pizza-encrusted couch cushions, a sink full of dirty dishes and laundry piled high that hasn’t been attended to yet.  Of course, we forget that they have houses, too…and there are times when everyone gets behind on house cleaning due to sickness or other busy schedule of events during the week.

Too avoid such an embarrassment, I at least try to keep our living room area void of junk and presentable as possible.  My biggest problem seems to be the constant battle of dust since we have older windows and a gravel road to the south side of our house.

It’s great to at least have a 10-15 minute “pick up” time on a daily basis.  I started doing our daily pick up time at 4 p.m (as a family team effort).  That way the house gets picked up before supper and my hubby comes home to a more orderly house.  No, it’s not perfect (I don’t keep a perfect house), but the quick pick up time does help give you a refreshed feeling before the evening routine begins.

I realize some of you may work an outside job, so perhaps a really quick 5-10 minute pickup time before the kids go to bed can be a good time.  Try to make it a daily habit and encourage your children not to leave things in the living room area and to put things away when they’re finished.

Here’s an Emergency Cleanup Plan for Unexpected Company Arriving Soon… (*Printable Copy at the end of this post)

(Remember, quickly assign children some of these tasks to help out.)

1. Forget Deep Cleaning

This isn’t the time for tedious deep cleaning. Concentrate on the areas where your guests will be hanging out – usually the living room, family room, kitchen, and bathroom(s).

2. Clear Clutter

The entertainment center, bedroom dresser, bathroom sink, and kitchen counters. Get clutter out of site fast by assigning a big cardboard box or laundry basket to each room. Dump the clutter from each room into its respective container, label the box or basket if necessary, and stick them in the attic, basement, or closet.

3. Hide Stacks of Paper

Get stacks of paper out of sight fast, but still leave it in a state that allows you to go through it later, grab file folders, label them (“to read,” “bank statements,” “misc. mail”) and dump the appropriate papers into them. Stick the folders in a file cabinet or drawer out of sight.

4. Fluff Pillows – Dust Furniture

Plump up throw pillows and couch cushions. Take five minutes to run a vacuum quickly over the surface of the upholstery to remove dirt or pet hair.

5. Check Floors

Don’t sweat the floors too much. Just do a quick cleanup. Make sure no trash or huge messy spots are in sight. Quickly shake out welcome mats and rugs that lie in the entryway so the first thing guests see is fairly clean.

6. Quick Sweep

Grab the broom and spend five minutes sweeping the porch and steps. Don’t worry about the driveway.

7. Quick Clean Bathroom

Make sure there’s enough toilet paper. Run the toilet brush around the bowl; no need for cleaners if you’re just doing a quick clean. Use disposable bleach wipes to run over the surface of the toilet seat and bowl. Throw kids’ bath toys into a bin and put it in the bathtub and close the shower curtain. Dump the trash can.

8. Close Doors

If there are rooms and closets you just don’t want your guests to see and that aren’t necessary for the party (like your bedroom or the basement), feel free to close doors.

9. Dust Main Areas

Use a feather duster to do a quick go-over of the most obvious areas of the room – the corners of the ceilings you see from the front doorway, for instance, or the top of the coffee table that guests will see and use. Don’t worry about the tops of picture frames or mirrors.

10. Trash Cans

Dump trash cans in the living room or bedroom.

Featured Product: Commercial Round Laundry Hamper

Emergency Clean Up Plan for Quick House Cleaning


  • Rhonda White

    Thanks, Tammy. Some weeks are easier to keep up than others…no matter how hard I try…activities sometimes interfere with my regular “routine” but I’ve learned to “let go” at times like that and realize things will soon be back to normal and I can catch up.

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