A House Cleaning Checklist for the Ultimate 30-Minute Clean!

Jacqueline Lavana
July 5, 2017

Have guests stopping by unexpectedly? No problem! Your house can be (mostly) spotless with this 30-minute house cleaning checklist.

Your mother-in-law says she'll be stopping by in an hour. The week's been particularly hectic, and as you take a survey of the state of your home, you realize it looks like a bomb's gone off. You need a miracle -- a serious speed clean -- and you need it right now. Don't panic. Here's a 30-minute house cleaning checklist with tips from professional organizers to save your day!

As you're getting started -- deprioritize! "When company is coming and you want your home to look pulled together quickly, focus on the rooms that your guests will be in. Don't get caught up in a kid's closet or storage area!" says professional organizer Monica Friel, owner of Chaos to Order in Chicago. Making beds? Putting items in their rightful place? All important in the long-term, but for this quick clean-up, focus only on "the appearance of clean," which should serve to impress your guests.

30-Minute House Cleaning Checklist

  1. Hide the Clutter
    Time Required: 5 to 10 Minutes

    Quickly assess and target the main spots where disorder strikes. "Most people tend to have clutter in their entryways and places where paper piles up, like desks, kitchen tables and counters," says professional organizer Liz August, the owner of the New England-based Simplify, Simplify.

    Wondering where to put it? "Large baskets are fantastic for hiding and disguising messes in rooms," says Roxy Hambleton, a certified professional organizer and owner of Positively Organized of Fort Myers, Florida. Shoes, keys, old mail? Return them to their rightful spot in the appropriate room. Or, if you don't have time for that, stash the items in a large bin or basket and tuck it away in a place your guests won't be seeing -- temporarily, that is!
  2. Get Dirty Items Out of Sight
    Time Required: 5 Minutes

    Wash stray dishes or load them into your dishwasher. Even faster? Stack dishes in the sink, which looks a lot neater than having them piled up on the counter. Dirty dish towels? Throw them in the washer or hamper. You don't need to start the laundry now, but you can at least hide the dirty towels.
  3. Wipe Down Surfaces and Sweep or Vacuum
    Time Required: 10 Minutes

    Give the bathroom counters, kitchen counters and any other high-profile surfaces, such as the coffee table or kitchen table, a quick wipe down. You can make this process even faster by having disinfecting wipes on hand. Glass cleaner can also quickly be applied to glass surfaces for added sparkle. If you have time to sweep or vacuum, go for it! This will be your most time-consuming step. This is not, however, the time to mop the floors.
  4. Check Supplies
    Time Required: Less Than 5 Minutes
    Make sure your bathrooms have toilet paper and your hand towels are clean.
  5. Save Time For a Walk-Through
    Time Required: Less Than 5 Minutes

    Absolutely make sure you reserve 5 minutes for a quick and critical walk-through! That way you'll have time to hide away that dirty sock or stray sneaker or dust the coffee table before your guests arrive. Sometimes making a good impression is all about the small details!

Preplan For Next Time
To make your house cleaning check-off go even faster next time, the professional organizers say that preplanning is the key. "A committed time set aside on a daily basis is ideal to keep the clutter at bay. If a family spends just 15 minutes at 7 p.m. every night to put things away, the rest of the evening is peaceful, and you wake up the next day to a more organized environment," says Hambleton. "Making this a new habit is something the entire family will benefit from."

Love to clean, but hate the chemicals? Check out these Natural Disinfectant Options for Cleaning.

Jacqueline LaVana lives in Boston and is mom to 18-month-old Jack.

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