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...Or, How to Make Your Home Appear Tidier Than It Is In Ten Minutes!

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I often get asked how we keep our home so tidy with a 3.5-year-old and a dog. The truth is, while our place is probably a little tidier than most, I should have a disclaimer on my Instagram account stating: objects in these photos are messier than they appear!

The same goes for when we have company over. If you're at my place, you can bet your bottom dollar that ten minutes before you arrived, I was in a tidying tizzy!

Above: one of my Instagram shots with the kitchen looking just a little tidier that it normally would (wink emoji)!

Granted, I'm not talking about going from complete disaster to clutter-free in ten minutes. You’ve gotta first lay the groundwork to be in the position to get your home company-ready in ten minutes. And, I know appearances aren't everything. If it's my family or bestie coming over, I may not feel the urge to lift a finger to feign order. But, for everyone else...

As you might have surmised, the kind of maniac who blogs about decluttering is not the kind who's cool with company coming over to a less-than-tidy home!

In this post, I'll share my tips and tricks on how to get the most of out of that ten minute tidy up before guests arrive.

1. Lay the Groundwork

If you want the type of home that's company-ready with just a ten minute sprucing, your starting point can't be something straight out of 'Hoarders.'

It helps to have a regular cleaning schedule (or cleaning lady schedule) to keep things baseline clean. I'll confess, ours comes biweekly; without her deep cleans, we'd have a very tough time making our place presentable with just a quick clean up.

I won't get into the nitty-gritty of how often you should be cleaning various things (because I'm no expert), but you might find the infographic below, useful:

2. Add Stealthy Storage To Your Common Spaces

If you've read my post on clever living room toy storage ideas, you'll know that I'm a big fan of maximizing storage space in common areas.

Ample storage is particularly crucial to last minute clutter concealment (errr...tidying up)!

We make use of a large, mid-century credenza that provides not one, not two, but three junk drawers, and two large cabinets for my son's toys. Most of the time, these cabinets are kept only half full, so that any errant toys can be tossed in for a quick tidy. We keep the bulk of his toys in rotating storage bins in the basement. For more on that, check out my post on how to declutter kids' toys.

We also make use of several baskets to store books and magazines. Again, these are never filled to capacity. When company's coming, I toss our laptops, chargers and other loose odds and ends in here:


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Household Essentials Wicker Storage Bin ($24.89).

Parker Baby Co. Rope Storage Bin ($27.95).


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3. Prioritize the Powder Room

All of your surfaces may be clutter-free, but one unsightly toilet stain or grimy hand towel and you're out of the running for hostess of the year! If your bathroom lacks basic hygiene, it will definitely taint your guests' overall opinion of your home. So, if you're really short on time, start with the bathroom!

Photo via: Cara Irwin/Goldalamode. This isn't our bathroom (unfortunately). We're planning a makeover of our teeny-tiny powder room over the next month or two, and will share that with you all when it's ready!

If you have time to do just one thing before your guests arrive, make sure your toilet bowl is clean! I don't know why, but my eyes immediately drift there when I'm using someone else's bathroom---like some sort of morbid preoccupation with discovering something that might gross me out...

Replace your hand towel with a new one (there's nothing worse than feeling like you're using a dingy towel at someone else's house). Then, if you've got the time, do a quick polish of the mirror and wipe down the sink.


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