Speed Cleaning: Tidy Up in 20 Minutes

Friends popping by for cocktails? Discover the best ways to make your home sparkle — in minutes!
By: Kate Brimer
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©Layla Palmer

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

©Layla Palmer

Photo By: Jupiterimages

Photo By: unknown ©Layla Palmer

Porch Appeal

To guarantee a tidy first impression, home organizer Valerie Hughes of The ClutterFly says to start outside. Shake the dust off exterior doormats and give the porch a thorough sweep.

Prep the Powder Room

Freshen up the guest bathroom by replenishing hand soap and towels, and wiping down the sink. Streamline future cleanup by having supplies handy. "Make sure you have some all-purpose pop-up wipes in every bathroom," advises professional organizer Karen Sprinkle of Organize It.

Kitchen Catchall

Stash kitchen clutter in decorative bins to free up counter space for entertaining guests. These are prefect for items that riddle countertops like dishes, cookbooks and vitamins.

Aroma Therapy

Grind lemon slices in the garbage disposal to rid the sink of odors and give the kitchen a fresh scent. No lemons? Hughes recommends throwing a few dryer sheets and a wet cloth into an empty dryer for 10 minutes on high.

Stow and Go

Clear the floor of kids' and pet toys, and conceal them in a storage ottoman. An added bonus: You can pull it out for extra seating, if needed.

Basket Case

Stack stray magazines in a basket kept near typical reading spots. "A full basket signals that you need to spend a few minutes purging the older editions," says Sprinkle. Manage the clutter, don't stockpile.

Get the Upper Hand on Dust

Forget finding the duster! Slip a sock over your hand and use an oil-based polish to quickly dust furniture, says Hughes. Swipe dust off framed photos in sight, too.

Don't Get Hung Up on Coats

"Consider that guests will need a place to put their coats when they visit," reminds Sprinkle. Take a minute to prep a designated spot for coats and bags.