If you've only been given a little bit of time to clean up before unexpected guests make their way to your home (or you completely forgot about that dinner party you said you were going to host one night) don't stress out about the state of cleanliness your house may be in. There are a few proven ways to clean up quickly before company shows up.
1) First impressions: Walk outside then walk back in. What do you see? A messy entryway? Couch cushions all asunder? Focus on what your guests will see first and pick up those areas. You'll set the tone for a clean house (even if your carpet hasn't been vacuumed in awhile).
2) Where will they be spending their time? The answer is probably the living room, so focus on that room next. Toss magazines and books back onto shelves and anything else that is out of place. Don't worry about putting everything in the exact right spot (we know, this goes against good organizational advice)—if you've got a drawer you use for shoving things out of the way, then use it.
3) Clean up that bathroom: The other room your guests will probably want to use is the restroom, so wipe down the sink and toilet quickly (we love disinfectant wipes for this purpose), close the shower curtain, wipe down the mirror and make sure the towels are folded and there's some hand soap nearby.
4) Make it smell good: My roommate and I have stumbled across a magical phenomenon. A few sprays in some of our corners of Mrs. Meyer's all purpose cleaner and the whole house smells like we cleaned it. We didn't invent this trick, but we do suggest sticking with a natural cleaner so your guests don't end up inhaling chemicals.
5) Relax! You don't want to be out of breath as soon as your guests arrive (you'll let on that you were just rushing around) so do the above steps, sweep the floor a bit if you've got a minute, and then put some music on and wait for guests to arrive. They're there to see you, anyway, and probably won't notice too much messiness!
What are your favorite get quick clean tips? Have you ever been surprised by a guest when your house was really messy? Have you ever managed to be surprised by a guest and your house was actually clean? Let us know!