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20 Minute Cleaning Tips for Last Minute Entertaining

This post is sponsored by Clorox—helping you clean on the go for a happier home.

While I may have a few creative talents, God did not bless me with the skills to be a perfect housekeeper. More often than not, my house looks like it may have been the victim of a natural disaster. (Or aforementioned creative talents.) You’d think with all the people that traipse in and out of the house that I’d keep a Martha Stewart-perfect home, but no.  Last minute panic has provided me with the opportunity to hone my skills at setting a quick stage for company to come over. In casual conversations recently, I’ve discovered I am nowhere near alone in my mad housekeeping abilities, so I’ve put together a few cleaning tips for last minute entertaining to help you next time you’re having people over without a lot of notice.


Sometimes I make it all the way through my cleaning routine prior to company, but sometimes not. I’ve listed them out here in order of importance of what to get done if you’ve only got a few minutes till your doorbell starts ringing. I know there some of you will cringe at a few of these tips – but I’m being totally honest here and I know there will be those of you out there that identify completely! We’re not going for a deep-cleaned house here, just setting things to rights to the point they’re not embarrassing.

1. Close doors.

If you’re not going to be entertaining in your extra bathrooms, office or other rooms, close the door. Clutter inside those areas don’t exist if you can’t see them, and most guests won’t wander through a door that is closed. Focus cleaning efforts on the areas that you’re going to be in!


2. Use the basket method.

Clutter and kid detritus is probably the thing that makes your house look most unpresentable. While everything should have a home and be put back when not in use, yada, yada…there’s no time for that in a mad house cleaning rush. Get a laundry basket, walk through the house, and anything that doesn’t belong goes into the basket to deal with later. Then put the basket in a room or closet that won’t be entered during the visit. Getting the messy pieces tucked away will instantly make your house look cleaner.


3. Clean the kitchen counters.

I’d do this even before dealing with dirty dishes in the sink. Even I think crudded up counters are gross and it might be the one housekeeping chore I do do regularly. (For the record, my husband does all the cleaning heavy lifting so my house IS occasionally spotless!) I keep a little bottle of CloroxⓇ Pump ‘N Clean™ Kitchen & Dish Cleaner on the counter to clean and de-germ the counters all at once with a few quick swipes. They’re ever so convenient, which makes it seem like less work polishing up. There’s also no chemical residue and it makes it smell pretty, too, which makes your house seem cleaner even if it isn’t.



4. Clean the bathroom counters, mirror and toilet.

Especially if you have kids. If your company wanders into the bathroom, make sure the toothpaste has been cleaned out of the sink and no one’s aim has been lacking in the other facilities. I might even move this up to item #2 if you have boys. Close the shower curtain and make sure there’s no trash on the floor and you’re good.

5. Do the dishes…kind of.

Wash them all if you have time, throw them in the dishwasher if you don’t. I’ve been know to even stick my hand washables temporarily in the dishwasher if it means getting them out of the sink before someone shows up. And then wash the sink out! CloroxⓇ Pump ‘N Clean™ Kitchen & Dish Cleaner makes it a quick job.


6. Sweep and/or vacuum.

It’s a little disconcerting to walk across the floor and step on things that crunch. Being able to mop the floor is ideal, but with only minutes to prepare, a good sweeping is what you’ll have to settle for. If you’ve got carpeting, give a quick vacuum; forget about lifting up and moving all the furniture this time, just get up the big pieces.



7. Straighten and fluff the couch pillows.

Just like when you throw yourself the party of the year, sometimes it is just the little things that give your house polish. It takes about a minute to do, but make sure your pillows on the couch are straight and give them a little fluffing so they look inviting.

If you stay on task and focused–and the inside of your house isn’t so gone it qualifies for FEMA assistance–this list of tips for last-minute cleaning before company should take you about 20 minutes to accomplish. I’d love to hear any tips you have for in-a-flash emergency housekeeping!

Paula Biggs

Owner at Frog Prince Paperie
Paula Biggs is a party planner, DIY crafter, and owner of Frog Prince Paperie, where you can find hundreds of party, craft and lifestyle ideas.

Kelley Frank

Saturday 12th of December 2015

Very nice post! The cleaning tips for the last moment are great! It is very nice to have a fast plan if you have unexpected guests. I love having people over for a cup of coffee or dinner, so many times friends just ring on the door bell to check if I am home for a small chat. I keep it pretty clean at home but sometimes I have my moments and I have to go around quickly before somebody sees that it isn't so clean around! Thanks for the wonderful cleaning tips! Greetings! :)

Vickie @Vickie's Kitchen and Garden

Sunday 24th of May 2015

Great tips! Back before we had a dishwasher Mother used to hide her dirty dishes in the oven. We had to look before we preheated! Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty


Tuesday 19th of May 2015

I usually just sling stuff off the floor into cupboards and check the toilet is clean! I could add a few more of these ideas to my repertoire! I like the idea of something to make it instantly smell clean - good call!

Paula Biggs

Tuesday 19th of May 2015

LOL--I love it!


Monday 18th of May 2015

These are great tips for using even every day to keep your house spiffy between house cleanings. Thank you for sharing at Share It One More Time. Cathy

Terri Webster Schrandt

Monday 18th of May 2015

Great tips! We have 50 people coming to our backyard BBQ for my daughter's college graduation! This will help!