How to Fake a Clean House in 45 Minutes or Less

Sarah B. Weir, Shine Senior Writer

Throwing a party seemed like a fabulous idea three weeks ago, but now you are in a panic because there is less than one hour to go before the doorbell rings. Maybe you were held up at the work or got in stuck traffic, perhaps you just procrastinated-whatever the reason-you need to tidy up fast and save a few minutes to spruce yourself up as well. Fortunately, you don't need to deep clean your home to get it party-ready-and you may want to save your energy for a post-event cleaning blitz, anyway.

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"Your kitchen and your bathroom are the most important rooms to tackle when you have guests coming over," Frank Trotta, owner of urbanmaidgreen.com, which was named the best green cleaning service by New York Magazine, tells Yahoo Shine. "No matter how big your house is, everyone always congregates in the kitchen." Trotta recommends cleaning any shiny surfaces that might catch the eye including appliances, fixtures, and mirrors. Yes, quickly polish the bathroom faucet-it makes a difference. He's also fan of microfiber cloths and says use them to give the furniture in public areas a quick once over.

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Guests won't notice a few crumbs in the carpet and you can always draw the shades to cover grimy windows. It's the clutter that really makes a home look messy. Trotta says its key to stow away magazines, mail, remote control units, and other lose items, and also clear any products off of the bathroom counter.

Other speed cleaning tips:

Tidy up your entrance area. Clear away extra coats and shoes, stash your mail pile, and put out some flowers if you have the space. It's the first area guests will see and will make the rest of your home seem cleaner if it appears organized.

Take out the trash and open the windows for a few minutes to eliminate any bad odors. You will need the empty garbage cans for the party, anyway.

Don't have much storage space? Grab a laundry basket or even a big cardboard box and use it to stash your clutter, you can always sort it out later. As a last resort (or if you like a more "lived in" look…ahem), stack piles books and magazines neatly and top with a knickknack or small vase-your clutter will like you meant it.

If your home has truly been invaded by an army of dust bunnies and you need to clean the floor, forget using a broom and just do a mad vacuum through the high traffic areas where people are likely to gather.

All those kid drawings and grocery lists that are stuck to the fridge with magnets? Take them down for the party, they make your kitchen look messy.

If your sink is full of dishes or silverware and you don't have time to wash, hide them in a big stock pot and deal with them later.

Look for obvious sticky or dirty spots and clean with a damp microfiber cloth instead of tackling an entire counter or other surface area. The same goes for floors and stairs.

Spruce up your bathroom in 30 seconds by shaking out the bathmat into the tub and drawing the shower curtain closed, hanging fresh hand towels, and lighting a candle.

Make your bed neatly, it's the one thing guests will focus on if they see your bedroom. Remember when you were eight-years-old and your mom told you to clean your room? Shoving everything under the bed still works.

In the final few minutes before guests arrive, after you have applied your lipstick or tucked in your shirt? Take a deep breath, dim the lights, and make your home smell inviting. You also can simmer mulled wine or cider on the stove for a warm and spicy scent or just spritz a little deodorizer near your living room seating area, bathroom, and kitchen. Trotta likes the biodegradable products made by Simple Green. And never, never apologize for the condition of your home, your guests came to have fun, not to give the white glove test to your countertop.

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