Clean Your House

Don’t let your messy house stand in the way of a good time with friends. We’ve consulted a couple of cleaning and de-cluttering gurus to help you whip your house into shape in an hour or less. The key, they say, is setting priorities: Everything can’t get sparkling clean in this short period of time, but you can get the things clean that people notice most.

“Focus your efforts where they’re really going to show,” advises interior designer Paula Jhung.

Where Should I Start?

For a dinner party, the most important areas to clean will be your living room and foyer, the kitchen and your bathroom.

“The prime real estate is the entryway and the kitchen counter,” says home organizing expert Barbara Tako. “These are the areas where people tend to congregate.”

You won’t have time to sweep, mop and vacuum the house. That’s not really necessary, Jhung says, as most people will be looking higher, and focusing more attention on tables, shelves and places to set their drinks.

“You want to make sure that you get things clean that are closer to eye-level,” she adds.

Before you start, put on a sweater and open a few windows while you clean. This will get out any odors and make your place smell fresher than any candle could. To keep yourself on schedule, you can set a timer for 15 minutes for each of the cleaning areas you’re covering.