Clean Up: Tidy Up Your Home in 30 Minutes or Less

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I love parties, and I like having people over. We seem to entertain in some way a few times a month—-nothing fancy, just dinner or brunch with friends and family on the weekend.

It's a lot more fun to entertain when your house is clean.

If you've been using the Daily 7 everyday, or pretty-much-everyday, your house is already clean. There will be incidental clutter here and there, but the house will not be in chaos, and you can feel comfortable having guests in your home.

I don't really like pop-ins. They occur here and there, but for the most part, I prefer a head's up before company arrives. I'm going to share what I do right before visitors knock on my door.

Occupy the Children/Pets

Put on a DVD. Shove them in the yard. Give them a tub of frosting and plop them in the highchair. Something. Anything. Keep them away from you while you quickly move from room to room tidying. If they are old enough to help, let them, but don't waste time micromanaging.

Hide Stuff.

Yes. This isn't cheating, this is practical, and the better you get at the Daily 7 and with PROMing, the less you will have to hide. Grab an empty laundry basket or storage bin, and start at the front door. Toss in random papers that have congregated on the side table and the floor: the umbrella, the one pink rainboot, the string cheese wrapper, and the IPod headphones (or whatever happens to be in your front entry. These are the things in mine at the moment…)

Continue putting things into the basket or bin as you walk through the front entry and into the house. Keep the basket/bin out while you quickly tidy up the front room. Fold throw blankets, fluff the couch cushions, clear off the coffee table, and put any scattered toys or strewn items into the basket. Put this container into the master bedroom closet, or similar hiding spot that is off-limits to guests. Do yourself a favor and attend to this basket/bin promptly—-the last thing you want is a stack of "hidden" item containers!

Guest Bathroom

This is the only place where your guest(s) will be alone. If you are up to speed with the Daily 7, you've been wiping down the bathroom daily, so you're in phenomenal shape. If you haven't been keeping up with this, it's okay. Run some hot water in the sink, and use a hand towel to wipe up the sink bowl and surrounding surfaces. It's okay to splash and get the floor wet. Put away bath toys. Use the wet hand towel to wipe out the bathtub and the ledges. Close the shower curtain or sliding doors. Re-wet the towel if need be, and use it to quickly mop up the floor, taking care to get the dust bunnies out from behind the bathroom door. Remember that your guest is in the bathroom with the door shut, and if he/she is, um, sitting, the floor is on display. If the toilet needs cleaning, do so now. Wipe or Windex off any large and noticeable splotches on the mirror or faucet. Change the towels.

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