Holiday Houseguests? Get Your Home Ready in Less Than 30 Minutes

iVillage organization experts Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore tell you how to get your home tidy in no time

Seeing friends and family is the best part of the holidays, but hosting those friends and family members is also stressful. It's unfortunate that this cheery time of year can become overwhelming, and trying to make everything perfect for guests at your home can heighten your holiday stress. Fortunately, with some simple planning your home can be guest-ready in short order and you can enjoy a carefree time with your visitors.

Here are five things you can do in less than five minutes that will make you feel good about your home and ready to relax with your guests.

1. Vacuum/Sweep Only Heavily Trafficked Areas
One of our core philosophies at Buttoned Up is to apply the 80/20 rule to getting organized. Rather than going over every inch of floor space, zero in on the one or two rooms that, if vacuumed, would really spruce up the place.

2. Ask Them About Their Favorite Things
Take five minutes to call your guests ahead of time and ask them about the foods they like. Small details, like having the type of milk they usually drink on hand, will make them feel comfortable and welcomed. The best part about these items is that you can take care of them before they arrive—at the same time you're doing your grocery shopping for the week. As an added touch, leave them some of your favorite lotions or soaps in the bathroom.

3. Freshen Up Linens in the Dryer
Before you make up the guest bed, throw the linens in the dryer with a dryer sheet for five minutes. Not only will that zap odors and/or lingering linen closet mustiness, it also rejuvenates their shape.

4. Squeegee Shower Doors
If your guest will be sharing a highly trafficked bathroom, get a squeegee, preferably one with suction cups that you can hang right on your shower wall. Every time you use the shower from now until your guest arrives, use the squeegee on the glass doors and walls to eliminate spots and prevent soap scum and mildew from accumulating.

5. Do a “Commercial Clean” in the Main Rooms
This week, every time you're watching TV, use the two-minute commercial breaks to tackle some clutter in the most-used rooms of the house. Again, use the 80/20 rule to make a big impact fast. Zero in on the relatively small handful of items that don't belong in the room and put them away.

Voila! Your home is gorgeous and guest-ready. When your company arrives, kick up your heels, grab an eggnog and enjoy being surrounded by friends and family at home.

iVillage organization experts Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore are real women on a mission to help busy people get sanely organized. They cofounded Buttoned Up, Inc. Got a question for Sarah and Alicia? Go to their expert page to ask their advice!

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