Company's coming: 12 ways to clean up fast


5. Go on a "treasure hunt" for out-of-place items. Make sure you schedule a time to put these items in their proper place.

6. Round up toys. Gather your childrent to help round up their toys and return them to their rooms. Any toys that are left will end up in Mom's basket may not be seen for a while.

7. Put things away (or stash if company's almost there!) Return everything to it's proper place or just hide baskets away until after company's gone.

8. Run the vacuum. Limit yourself to the high-traffic and middle-of-the-room areas. If you are moving furniture, you're doing it wrong.

9. Do the dishes. A dishwasher can hide your unwashed dishes and get you out of the kitchen quickly.

10. Take a last look around. Go outside and take a deep breath. Enter through the front door and look around. Gather up any last-minute clutter. Wipe any remaining spots. Close cupboard doors. Put away any cleaning supplies you have left out. Walk through the areas where you will entertain. Practice smiling. (This is good for your attitude.)

11. Take a breather. Don't forget to allow some time to get yourself ready -- relax, wash your hands and face, comb through your hair, whatever will make you feel ready for company. Take time to get yourself ready -- but not so much time that you notice every imperfection.

12. Relax and enjoy yourself! Last, but not least, remember that your guests came to visit you, not to judge your housekeeping skills.

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