I try hard to keep on top of things with the housework. I thought having a job where I work from home would mean it was much easier than it was when I worked in an office but alas, I still find myself struggling to get it all done. On the weeks where things go awry and I'm unable to get to every chore on my list, I have tricks I use to make my house appear cleaner than it really is. We have frequent visitors and I try to keep things in "company shape" as much as I can but it's not easy. Here are my sneakiest hacks for making your house seem as clean as a fancy hotel lobby when you only have minutes to make it happen:
1. Wipe Down Fixtures
It takes two minutes and makes a world of difference. Toothpaste stains on the faucet make your bathroom look like it belongs in a frat house but wiping it up so it's gleaming takes no time and gives the impression of overall cleanliness.
2. Light Candles
It's about how things look and also, smell. I have candles lit as long as I am home and awake. People compliment me on how cozy and nice-smelling my house is and all the while, I have a gross dog that steps in his own poop and a steaming pile of dirty laundry waiting to be dealt with.
3. Spray Febreze
Along with the candles, employ Febreze. Not a ton, but just a spritz near the doorway and on any rugs where people wipe their shoes. Wet rugs stink up quickly, says the girl who lives in a wintry climate and has been dealing with slushy boots since October. Trust me on this one.
4. Fold Blankets And Straighten Pillows
The first thing my kids do on their daily mission to clutter up my house is toss the throw pillows and blankets on the floor. It makes things appear much worse than they are so my first step in a tricky clean-up is to put them all back where they go. Instant improvement.
5. Do A Clutter Basket
My mother did this if we had to get things neat in a hurry and it's the best idea ever. If you don't have time to sort out everyone's junk, grab an empty laundry basket and put all stray items in it to be dealt with later on. Stash it in a bedroom and close the door. Ahhhh, don't you feel better already?
6. Hide All Shoes
There are only four people in my house but my God, do we have a lot of shoes. They end up strewn all over the entryway and if we don't put them away, it's a pretty terrible first impression for anyone coming into the house. Luckily, it takes 30 seconds to shove them all into a closet.
7. Use Clorox Wipes
These things are my sneaky house-cleaning BFF. I leave them in the bathroom and kitchen and use them all the time. That fixture-wiping trick that makes things gleam? Brought to you by Clorox wipes.
8. Get A Dog
I hardly have to sweep my kitchen floor and whenever a kid spills food, I typically call him in to do the dirty work. Sure, dogs can make messes but as Roombas in the kitchen, they can't be beat.
9. Minimize Counter-Top Clutter
Mail, school papers, snack wrappers, spice containers. My counters easily fall into disarray if not constantly maintained. The good news is cleaning off the counter doesn't take long but surfaces free of clutter give the impression of cleanliness when maybe you haven't actually mopped the floor in a month of Sundays.
10. Get Toy Bins
My kids have helped clean their own rooms since they were toddlers because they have toy bins. I long ago stopped caring what went in each bin. When everything is picked up off the floor and the illusion of clean is achieved, I don't really get concerned about where it all went.