It's the season for spring cleaning, and homeowners no doubt have a slew of projects on tap in the weeks to come. Clothes will be sorted and donated and unnecessary items thrown in the trash.
Sometimes, however, there's little time for a thorough cleaning, so a quick tidying up is done when guests are coming to visit. There are many ways to tackle the clutter and get a home presentable in no time at all. When you're short on time, consider these ways to give living spaces the appearance of cleanliness.
• Assess the kitchen sink and move all the dishes awaiting washing into the dishwasher. Wipe down the inside of the sink with a disinfecting wipe or a clean sponge.
• Wipe down the countertops quickly with a wipe or sponge. Wet a paper towel or rag and attack any errant spots on the stove and floor, which will become sticky and attract more dirt.
• Fold or hang dish towels in a way that camouflages any stains.
• Place a small pan of water on the stove with some nutmeg and cinnamon and bring to a simmer. This will disguise any smells lingering from last night's dinner.
• Take down magnets and notes stuck to the refrigerator and temporarily place them in a zipper-seal bag.
• Use a static-charged sweeper sheet to grab any hairs, dust or pet fur from the floor.
• Go to the sofa and turn the pillows to the side that is not often facing outward. Consider this the "company side" that may not have any stains or mars in the fabric. Fluff the pillows to clear out dust.
• Use a handheld vacuum to clean up any crumbs or dirt on tables or in the sofa cushions.
• Wipe down coffee tables with a damp cloth to clear away dust and fingerprints.
• Wet the fingertips of rubber gloves and glide your hand over upholstery to rid furniture of pet hair.
• Keep a basket handy to neatly store newspaper, magazines or books.
• Gather and remove the most obvious clutter and relocate it elsewhere less noticeable.
• Dim the lights and light candles. It's harder to spot dirt in a dim room.
• A premoistened wipe can quickly clean the sink and counters from dried-on contact solution or toothpaste.
• The same wipe can be used to rid the mirror of errant spots of splatter.
• Use the same cloth to wipe down the toilet seat and the rim underneath. Use the toilet brush to scrub inside the bowl to remove any rings.
• Put new hand towels on racks or on the counter.
• Glide a lint roller over the bath mat to remove hair and fuzz.
• If the children's rooms are messes, close the doors and make those rooms off-limits.
• Make your bed and fluff the pillows.
• Take dirty clothes to the hamper and put away anything left out. If desperate, pile it into the closet to attend to later.
• Neaten the night stands next to the bed, removing personal effects or storing it in the drawers.