Surprised by Unexpected Guests? Give Your Home a 20-Minute Quick Clean

Guests come to visit and see new house

Did you just get a text saying your old friend is in the neighborhood and she’s stopping by? You may not have a lot of time to freshen up your home, but maybe you don’t need it. Fake your way to a clean house with a 20-minute quick clean!

Does the smell of last night’s dinner still linger? Control some smells! Start by popping open some windows and turn on a fan to circulate the stale air. Then put some cookie dough in the oven – easy to do if you store some in your refrigerator to use in a pinch. You’ll get twice the bang for your buck a pleasant smelling house and sweet treats to share.

Clear the clutter. Now is the time for a “teen clean.” You remember those days, when you threw everything in a laundry basket and hid it in a closet. That works when you’re an adult, too.

Tidy your sitting space. The next place to tackle is the room you’ll be sitting in. Do a quick dusting, pick up any magazines, socks, cat toys, or whatever you find in the room that you wish wasn’t there. Toss them in the laundry basket. Work a room from right to left or left to right so you don’t miss anything and you have an easy pattern for success. Have five more minutes? Run a vacuum around this room and the hall leading to the room, and the entry way.

Disinfect with ease. You know those disinfectant wipes you store under your bathroom sink? Now’s the time to pull them out and run a few around the toilet and the sink (and even the tub!). Your bathroom will sparkle in no time. No wipes? Paper towel and an all-purpose spray will work just as well. And while you’re at it, empty the waste basket. And the last step? Put in a fresh hand towel, and make sure you have toilet paper and soap.

Do the dishes. Or at least move any dishes you have in the sink to the dishwasher. Dishwasher full? Empty it or wash the dishes by hand. In the end, you’ll wish you had emptied the dishwasher, so go ahead and get that done if you can.

And remember: A spouse and kids are the greatest Quick Clean helpers around.

And remember this, too: Don’t apologize if you’re house isn’t spotless. You weren’t anticipating guests.

And the best news of all: Your house is clean enough! You can take a break on the weekend (after you put the things in the laundry basket where they belong).

Good Neighbors Build a Good Neighborhood

Two senior women sat in garden waving

Are you ready to get outside for some spring mixing and mingling in the neighborhood? Here are a few reminders on how you can be the best neighbor ever!

Invite your neighbors over. Host a backyard barbecue or have a few neighbors over for some appetizers on a Friday night. You may be surprised at what a great time you have and how often you hear, “We should do this more often.”

Let your neighbors know if you see anything “out of the ordinary” while they are away. Your gut knows. If you see strange cars or other odd activity at a neighbor’s house, call them or text them. Is the garage door open and no cars are around? Let them know.

Drive slowly in your neighborhood. It’s important to be aware of the speed limit on neighborhood streets. Kids are playing, pets are outside, and the streets are often narrow. Slow down and take your time.

Mow your lawn. No one wants to be the person whose yard is overgrown. If you don’t have time to mow or weedwhack, hire a teenager from the neighborhood. Hiring from inside the neighborhood when you need some yard work or a pet sitter or babysitter…that’s being a good neighbor, too!

Don’t shine too brightly. Make sure your outside lights face your house and aren’t too bright. There’s nothing worse than a light shining in your house at night, especially when it’s not your own.

Pick up your neighbors’ newspaper and mail when they are out of town. It’s an easy task and helps keep the neighborhood safe. Mail and newspapers that stack up let others know someone is out of town.

Close your garage door. This may not seem like it has anything to do with being neighborly, but no one wants to look inside your garage. The neighborhood just looks nicer when garage doors are closed. In addition to being a good neighbor, you’ll be protecting your home from would-be burglars who often walk in through open garage doors. So be an even better neighbor by telling your neighbors when they accidentally leave their garage doors open.

Don’t let your dog bark. Besides being less than polite, your barking dog could get you a ticket. If your dog is a barker, hire a trainer to help you deal with the problem or bring your dog inside. And it goes without saying that a good neighbor cleans up after her dog!

Turn your music down. If you like to have the radio on when you wash your car, that’s great. But don’t play it so loudly that everyone can hear it. And don’t forget to turn it off when you go inside.

If you have an issue with a neighbor discuss it in person. Don’t wait until your neighbor’s barking dog makes you crazy or his speeding through the neighborhood makes you mad, discuss the problem in-person with your neighbor. And never leave an anonymous note in the mail box.

And the easiest way to be a good neighbor – Say hello. It’s amazing how far a smile and a hello can go in the neighborhood. It’s the easiest way to create a happy, warm environment. Welcome to the neighborhood!