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How to Fake a Clean Home in 15 Minutes

We’ve all been there: guests are scheduled to arrive in 15 minutes, but you got caught up, and the house is still a mess. Here are seven ways to fake that clean home, fast:

All hands on deck. If you’re lucky enough to have family members or roommates around, ask them to pitch in. Divvy up rooms to declutter and tidy. If you don’t have any helping hands, you’ll just have to continue to the next steps, solo.

Focus on trafficked areas. Since time is short, make sure to focus on rooms your guests will frequent, like the living room, kitchen and bathroom. The entryway is also important, as it’s the first thing your guests will see, so hang the jackets, straighten those shoes and stash that mail stack.

Freshen air. As you begin to clean, throw open the windows to let fresh air in. Too cold for open windows? Light a mildly scented candle or spray odor neutralizer.

Declutter. Run through your high traffic areas and remove clutter. Piles of mail, shoes on the floor, blankets unfolded and errant clothes all need to be stashed. If you don’t have time to put things where they belong, do a tornado sweep with a laundry basket, nabbing all out-of-place items to rehome when you have more time. Simply stash your full basket in a hidden area, like a closet or laundry room.

Tidy. Now that the clutter is gone, tidy tables and counters to make your space look open and clean. Stack those magazines in an orderly pile, arrange the remotes, put away those drying dishes and take out the trash.

Wipe down. Head to the kitchen and bathroom with a rag and disinfectant and wipe down counters, mirrors and toilets that your guests might encounter.

Vacuum. Now that your surfaces are fully clean, run a vacuum over the floors (and furniture!) to pick up pet hair and dirt. Nothing says “clean home” like vacuum lines on the carpet, so fake it until you make it.