5 Tips: How To Quickly Make Your House Look Cleaner Than It Is

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So you get a text message that tells you company is dropping by and they're only 10 blocks away. Don't panic. Take a deep breath, now panic and check out these 5 tips for making your house appear clean in a flash. That's right, I said appear. Who has time to really clean in 10 blocks?

1. Clean the Three T's: Toilets, Tabletops, the Television. What? The television? Yup! Most living rooms are centered around your tv and the amount of dust that hangs on it, your netflix stack and dvd box set pile that's off to one side could be tell tale signs of why the rest of your house isn't exactly spotless. Plus if you sit chatting in the living room, you'll be staring at it wishing you would have moved it. Toilets and tabletops are a bit more self explanatory, but important none the less.

2. Stash with Efficiency: When company drops in we've all been in a situation once or twice where things get tossed in a basket and shoved in the spare bedroom or closet. It's a quick solution, but it can be done with more efficiency so you can find your stuff later on. Add things to your basket according to the room they go in. That way when company leaves, you can remove the items easily without making 100 trips across your house or apartment to put things where they belong.

3. Pet Hair: Even if you have a sparkling clean house, if your sofa is covered with a layer of dog or cat fur, it suddenly looks less tidy. Keep a rubber glove or your favorite pet hair busting product on hand to knock it all down in a few sweeps.

4. Dishes Be Gone in Seconds Flat: Please don't judge me for this tip. Admitting that I've done it more than once is punishment enough alright? So here goes. Put your dishes in your oven. Wait, what? If you pile your dishes in the sink then it looks like you threw them all in there at the last minute as everyone knows you can't really wash dishes in that manner and you'll still look like a slight slob, even though you have clean counters. Instead, grab a baking sheet and stack like items together and slide them in the oven. They'll slide right back out, be prestacked and ready to be washed so you can recover from the guilt you just gave yourself for following through with this tip. Side note: don't preheat your oven... even by accident... until they're removed.

5. Spend 5 Furious Minutes on Your House Everyday: Isn't that cheating? We're talking about last minute company here, not preparing all week long for them to come! True, but think about how much you can clean in those few minutes before they arrive. 10 blocks isn't much. With traffic and parking and walking up your stairs, 5 minutes is a safe estimate. Bring that panic to your life every day and clean with the same intensity for just 5 minutes and your house will always look better for it. Plus, you still have time to watch Raising Hope without telling yourself you'll pick up on commercials.

Do you have a quick clean-up tip that helps you out when company calls? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Re-edited from a post originally published 11.1.11 - JL

(Image credits: Lydia Brotherton)