Company's coming: 12 ways to clean up fast

You've determined that you will not let a little clutter stop you from having friends or family visit your home, but now that you've made the invitation, you're not so sure it was a good idea.

Never fear. There's nothing like company coming to provide motivation. Now all you need is a plan.

The first step is to make a list of all of the things you want to get done before company arrives.

Though we all could probably spend a week cleaning up clutter, most of us don't have that kind of time. Following are some tips to help you conquer your clutter (fast!)

1. Prioritize. Arrange your tasks in order of those most important or most noticeable. Clearing the clutter from the rooms where you will entertain is probably near the top of your list, while vacuuming under furniture is at the bottom.

2. Get a head start. Start by writing down the deadline on your calendar and work toward your goal each day. Do a little at a time. Start with the things you consider most important. If you don't finish, make sure the tasks you miss aren't things that will make you crazy.

3. Be efficient. Set a timer allowing a realistic time for each task. If one is taking too long you might want to move to a higher priority task.

4. De-clutter. Since getting the clutter off the floors and furniture is a priority, you might want to start there. Grab a trash bag and wander around the areas where you will entertain. Remember that anything you throw away will never have to be cleaned, dusted or put away again. If you don't use it, toss it.

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