“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” the song goes, and many of us agree. Family and friends gather at each other’s homes to celebrate all that the season has to offer. Good food is eaten, drinks are shared, and gifts are exchanged. There are so many ways to enjoy the holidays, but the arrival of unexpected guests to your less-than-spotless house isn’t one of them.The following speed-cleaning tips will have your home sparkling and ready for company faster than you can say “Feliz Navidad.”
Step 1: Don't Panic
If you only have an hour until guests arrive, you still have plenty of time. Even 15 minutes will be enough to get the important rooms into shape, especially if you delegate chores among family members. Even very small children can be tasked with some of the tidying, like putting toys away or tossing newspapers into the recycling bin.
Two minutes of deep breathing and planning
Step 2: Do the Dishes
Tackling dirty dishware and utensils first will clear your sink and counters of anything that has accumulated during the day. Wash, dry, and put everything away, and empty your dishwasher (or load and run it). If you have a garbage disposal, rinse it thoroughly to avoid any unpleasant, lingering smells. Once the sink is empty, you’ll be able to give it a good scrub when you get to that step.
Five to ten minutes, depending on how many dishes your have
Fill a pot with 2 to 3 cups of water and add a cinnamon stick, ten slices of ginger, and a teaspoon of vanilla (or try any combination of spices and fruits that you love). Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and leave it uncovered, adding more water as it evaporates. This seasonal concoction will make your house smell like freshly baked gingerbread. It’ll also make your guests happy—and perhaps act as aromatherapy to get you into a festive, cleaning mood!
Step 4: Focus on the Main Rooms
Your guests will probably stay in designated areas and won’t wander off to other rooms or floors of your house (unless that’s where the bathroom is, of course). To discourage curious visitors, close doors to rooms that are off-limits and work on those later. Focus on removing clutter in the main rooms instead (usually the living room, kitchen, and downstairs bathroom). Homework, knapsacks, and extra shoes can be banished to a closet. Recycle newspapers, magazines, and other miscellaneous paperwork, or give them to their rightful owners to put where they belong. Make room for coats in the front hall closet by moving the family’s belongings to a closed bedroom during the party.
Step 5: Clean Visible Surfaces
Remember that your guests won’t be opening cupboards and drawers or looking on top shelves, so only wipe down visible surfaces. Use pleasant-smelling cleaning products and give your dining table, coffee table, or other wood surfaces a thorough dusting. Wash your kitchen surfaces, including countertops, stovetops, as well as the fronts of all appliances. Give cupboard doors a wipedown with a microfibre cloth, and then wash the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Make those surfaces shine!
Step 6: Clean the Bathroom
Be sure that your guests have a tidy bathroom to use. Disinfect the toilet and sink (and bathtub/shower if it’s a larger bathroom), and use glass cleaner on the mirrors. Remember the floor, the quarter-round, and the tops of the baseboards. Then use a dry cloth or paper towel to polish everything quickly. As a festive final touch, light a scented candle—cinnamon, vanilla, or any holiday scent would be perfect. (Just make sure to keep the candle away from children or pets.)
Step 7: Vacuum High-Traffic and Visible Areas
It’s during those stressful, spur-of-the-moment cleaning sprees when you fully appreciate the benefits of a central vacuum. Instead of hauling out a cumbersome machine, you can just grab the hose and give those high-traffic areas a good vacuuming. Make sure to look up and inspect the ceilings for dust and cobwebs around light fixtures and in corners. Give them a once-over with a brush tool attachment or the Spider Fighter by VACUFLO.
Step 8: Wipe Doors and Glass
Wipe off dirt, smudges, and fingerprints from the front and patio doors and windows, particularly if you have a dog who, like most, enjoys leaving his “nose art” on them. This is a particularly easy job and might be a good one for kids.
Two to Three Minutes
Step 9: Add the Finishing Touches
You’re finally done with the big jobs, so look around and add some last minute final touches to really make your guests feel at home.
Take the pot of spices off the stove and discard the contents; wash and put away the pot.
To suit the occasion, play some soothing music or holiday tunes.
Put out some easy snacks like cheese and crackers or a bowl of chips or popcorn. It always pays to be prepared by having make-ahead snacks or ingredients on hand to whip up some simple treats.
Put any unrefrigerated beverages on ice or in the freezer for a quick last minute chill.
Light some candles, plump up your cushions, and fix yourself something refreshing to drink. You deserve to celebrate a job well done!
There you have it—a clean, presentable, and welcoming space that only took one hour! You’ll be able to relax, your guests will be impressed, and you can all enjoy a lovely visit in a nice, clean home. The most important thing to remember, of course, is that your guests have come to see you—not judge your housekeeping skills. Open your home and heart and have a holly, jolly good time!
To learn how you can have the convenience of a central vacuum cleaner for those last-minute cleaning sprees, call VACUFLO. We provide clients with quality central vacuuming products and services, including a wide variety of models and accessories. We also offer free consultations and a support centre where you can find answers to all of your central vacuuming questions. Call us at (416) 445-6886 for Toronto residents or at (403) 243-6886 for Calgary residents.