Focus your efforts on these cleaning tasks to get your...

Focus your efforts on these cleaning tasks to get your home company-ready in mere minutes. Credit: Getty Images/TNS/Basak Gurbuz Derman

The hours before a party or gathering always seem to fly by. It's all too easy to spend time preparing food, setting the table and putting finishing touches on your decor, and put cleaning tasks off until the last minute. If guests are on their way and you have yet to plug in the vacuum or pick up a scrub brush, don't fret. By tackling a few impactful cleaning tasks, you can get your home company-ready in a matter of minutes.

Pick up the entryway

Remove clutter near the door and make room for guests to kick off shoes and hang up coats. Use a vacuum or broom to sweep the floors or, at the very least, take rugs outside to shake out loose dirt, dust and debris.

Tidy up the kitchen

If your gathering involves food, chances are guests will end up in the kitchen at some point. Put away any dishes in the sink and clear unnecessary items off the countertop to instantly create the impression of a cleaner kitchen. Vacuum or sweep any noticeable crumbs on the floor, and wipe down the counters with a damp microfiber cloth or cleaning wipe.

Vacuum high-traffic areas

You might not have time to mop the floors and deep-clean your carpets before guests arrive, but a quick pass with the vacuum can go a long way. Focus on areas that will see the most traffic during the event, such as the living room and connecting hallways, as well as any spots where you can see visible dirt or debris like pet hair. Using a cordless vacuum lets you easily move from room to room without wasting time on tangled cords.

Speed-clean the bathroom

To save time, apply toilet bowl cleaner first, then start on other surfaces while it sanitizes. Use a glass cleaner to remove smudges and water spots from the mirror, and wipe down the countertops and sink using an all-purpose cleaner. A damp microfiber cloth can also work if you're really in a hurry. Once the other surfaces are clean, grab the toilet brush, give the bowl a quick scrub and flush. Lastly, put out fresh hand towels and ensure the bathroom is stocked with plenty of soap and toilet paper.

Do a quick declutter

Grab a laundry basket and fill it with any items that don't belong in the room. If you don't have time to put things away in their rightful places, stash the entire basket in a spot where guests aren't likely to look, such as the primary bedroom closet or laundry room.

Fluff living room furniture

Start by straightening and fluffing the sofa cushions and pillows. Strike the top with a karate-chop motion, which creates crisp corners and makes the middle appear fuller. Fold up any throw blankets or drape them nicely over an arm. If you have time, go over the sofa with a handheld vacuum or lint roller to pick up any crumbs or dust that have settled into the fabric.

Dust common surfaces

Clear away unsightly dust on easily visible areas such as coffee tables, baseboards and lampshades. You can skip areas that guests likely won't notice, such as the top of your refrigerator or ceiling fan. When you don't have time to spray and wipe every surface, a handheld microfiber duster can make quick work of this chore.

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