Unexpected guests? Avoid panic with these quick house-tidy hacks.

Surprise

Sharing a home with others can be great, but also fraught with potential problems.

Say for example you get on well with your house-mate, but they’re a bit slovenly on the house cleaning front. You arrive home from work and get a text that a friend (or maybe even new romantic interest) is in the area and would love to stop by.

Great! But the house is in a complete state and your house-mate is nowhere to be seen.

Don’t panic! Here are some quick ways to get the place looking presentable in just a few minutes.

The areas your guest is likely to see are the hallway, living room, kitchen and bathroom so focus on blitzing here.

Scan the hallway for piles of junk mail or unopened post and either put into piles or remove. Stack anything else such as shoes, bags or umbrellas, neatly. This instantly makes the area look tidier and welcoming.

Always keep the bathroom visitor ready (or nearly visitor ready) as chances are this is one of the rooms they’ll visit. Put out a clean hand towel and extra loo-roll and run an antibacterial wipe over the loo and sink. If you have a few more minutes empty the bin too.

If surfaces are cluttered, grab a smart looking box and chuck everything in then pop on the lid.

Living room looking a little more than lived-in? Take a minute or two to sweep clutter from surfaces.

Keep a stack of pretty wicker baskets to hand and chuck in whatever you can. If the baskets are overflowing then put them in your house-mate’s bedroom and shut the door.

Maybe leave a polite note saying that you had visitors and wanted to tidy up a bit. They might get the hint to start being a little tidier in the first place! Quickly wipe a damp cloth over the mantelpiece, TV and any exposed shelves to remove unsightly dust.

If you have pets, keep your sofa on guest alert by using an inexpensive throw or fleece blanket. Store nice cushions in an ottoman out of reach of claws or paws.

Remove the throw and replace with the cushions while your guest is taking their coat off in the hallway. You could even use the throw to cover up a particularly messy area that you didn’t have time to tidy.

Don’t worry about dirty dishes clogging up the kitchen. Move what you can into the oven and leave them there until your guest has gone. Just remember to remove the items before you put the oven on.

Empty the bin here too if you have time. Even better – brew some coffee. The lovely aroma will distract guests from any other smells.

Finishing touches…

Light a candle, put on some music and if it’s evening, turn down the lights. The soft lighting will hide many messy sins.

Finally, simply shut the door on untidy rooms that you don’t want your guest to see or risk going into and relax!