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Published: Friday, 9/10/2010

Power up your cleaning routine when seconds count

(ARA) - At one time or another, everyone has found herself racing around the house with an armful of cleaning supplies, scrambling to tidy up for unexpected guests. But the prospect of surprise visitors need not cause a full-scale panic.

Cleaning and organizing expert Donna Smallin offers practical tips for completing a vigorous, efficient cleaning routine when every minute matters.

* First things first. To make a great first impression, start with the entryway and then follow the path your guests will take. Think entryway, living area and bathroom. This is no time to reorganize your sock drawer. If you can, close doors or pronounce the upstairs or other section of the house off limits to guests, and you've cut your cleaning job in half.

* Conquer clutter. An uncluttered entryway is warm and inviting. Do a quick lap around your entryway and living area with a laundry basket and/or trash can, tossing junk mail and collecting out-of-place items to be organized later.

* Speed-dust at eye level. Microfiber picks up dirt like nobody's business. Grab a microfiber cleaner for a quick "dust-busting" of your bookshelves, lamp shades and coffee tables.

* Vacuum just the high-traffic areas. When you want to impress guests, nothing freshens up a room like clean carpet and rugs, and an ergonomically designed vacuum can make spontaneous carpet cleaning easier.

"I'm loving the PROlite Multi Cyclonic vacuum from BISSELL, which offers all the power of a full-sized upright unit, but in a sleek, lightweight design that makes it easier to use, lift and move from room to room," Smallin says.

* Speed clean mirrors. In the bath room, lightly wet a microfiber cloth and squeeze it dry to clean mirrors and glass surfaces.

* Give furniture a facelift. Take just two minutes to fluff sofa cushions and pillows to breathe a little freshness into your living room.

* Make countertops sparkle. Spritz kitchen and bathroom counters with a freshly scented all-purpose cleaner and quickly wipe away spots, crumbs and everyday grime.

* Rally the troops. When time is of the essence, divide and conquer. While one family member is vacuuming, a younger one can follow behind, wiping down baseboards. Or while one is taking out the garbage, the other can load the dishwasher. One way to motivate family members for these situations is to instigate a regular power cleaning competition. Make a game of timing how long it takes to tackle key cleaning chores, and you'll have your own family SWAT team ready to go when guests are on their way.

* Prepare for future speed-cleaning sprees. Speed cleaning is even easier when you're prepared, so get your supplies in order now. Keep a caddy of cleaning products ready to go, and you can save precious seconds when guests are en route. You may even want to stash cleaning supplies in spaces around your home so you can tidy up on the fly. Small cleaning supplies can easily be hidden behind the TV, behind books on bookshelves, in drawers, or even under your sofa.

Master this fast and furious cleaning routine and you'll always be ready to take on last-minute houseguests. You may even have time to give yourself a manicure before they arrive.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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