There’s a reason why people love the holiday season. It’s a time for celebrations with friends and family, for seeing people’s reactions to the perfect presents and for eating cookies while watching holiday movies.


But, as you may know, the holiday season isn’t all bliss. It’s also a time for gunning for parking spots, for stressing over what to buy and for planning holiday parties.

While there are things in place for dealing with holiday stresses — like valet parking, suggested items on online shopping outlets and family recipes — some things don’t come so easily remedied: like cleaning up before guests arrive. Luckily, I have some tricks up my sleeve for quick, last-minute cleaning. If you have company coming over and little time to tidy up before they get there, here’s what to focus on and how to get the job done in no time:

1. Concentrate on the areas your guests will see. Declutter the entry-way, living room and kitchen. Grab a large laundry basket (or two) to stash items quickly without having to take the time to put them away neatly. Use grocery bags to keep smaller items separated from larger ones.

2. Tackle the bathroom. Stow away visible clutter in drawers and cabinets. Clean the mirror, countertops, and toilet seat. Wipe down the floor with a damp towel or a sweeper with disposable cloths. Set out fresh hand towels and close the shower curtain.


3. Make room for shoes. You know your guests are going to take their shoes off when they get there. Move your family’s shoes to the closet to avoid extra clutter.

4. Make your bed. Houses always seem cleaner when they’re opened up and beds are made. If you need to stash your bin of last-minute, picked-up clutter in the bedroom, put it on the side that isn’t visible from the door.

5. Take out the trash. Empty the receptacles in the kitchen, bathroom and other areas guests may see. This will help cut down on cleanup time after the party, too. Put smaller bags inside larger ones and take them out all at once. While you are at it, hide outdoor receptacles from guests’ view, if possible.

6. Turn off the TV. Noise can clutter a space just as much as “stuff” can. If you want to leave it on, turn it to a scenic channel and play gentle music to go along with it.

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