My 15-Minute Speed Cleaning I Do Before Guests Arrive

There’s something so satisfying about a rapid fire clean-up round. If someone is coming over in less than 20 minutes, I’ve got a formula for speed cleaning that helps me feel like my space is welcoming, yet I’m not going to be hustling at the last minute. (Generally, I’m only focusing on the first floor including the entry, living room, dining room, and kitchen since that’s where most of our guests stay).

Chris Loves Julia Living Room
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The very first thing I’m going to do is to light a candle or turn on my Pura diffusers. Lighting a candle just adds a little something special. Turn on all the lamps, turn off the big overhead lights and turn on some music. I start with these so whenever guests arrive, even if it may not be completely clean, it will be calm and welcoming. It’s all about delighting their senses with soothing light, soothing smells, soothing music. That should only take about 3 minutes.

Chris Loves Julia | Kitchen nook with glass cupboards.

Marble Fruit Bowl | Lamp | Faux Eucalyptus (similar) | Handles | Knobs | Pendant Light Fixture

Next I head to the kitchen. If there are dirty dishes on the counter, I’m going to stack them in the sink. We’re not loading the dishwasher right now there are only 15 minutes! IF a dishwasher is empty, I can usually load it quick (is there anything better than an empty dishwasher?!) But if it’s not, you don’t have time. Wipe down the counters and that’s it for this space in 4 minutes.

Grab a basket and pick up the shoes lying around (just me?) and put it under the entry bench as if it’s intentional. I throw my mail in a tray on my desk. If you have any boxes or packages lying around (again, just me?) then put them in a corner out of sight. That’s the entry done in 3 minutes.

Then I run to the powder bathroom and make sure it’s clean. I’m going to put a fresh towel on the towel ring. Then close the lid of the toilet — I don’t like the lid of the toilet up. That should only take a minute.

Chris Loves Julia | Living room viewing into the dining room

Couch | Leather Accent Chair | CLJ x Loloi Bradley Rug | Floor Lamp | Lamp (vintage) | Dining Table | Dining Chairs (vintage) (similar) | Gallery Frames | CLJ x Shades of Light Edie Two-Tier Chandelier | Dining Room Wall Sconce (similar)

If I still have time, I run to the living room and fluff the pillows on my couch and put magazines away. I have another basket handy to throw any little toys in, and I put it on the back stairs so that I or one of the girls can grab it and take it upstairs on our next trip. But at least it’s contained! If I’m feeling good on time, I’m going to do a quick vacuum but it doesn’t always happen since we’ve got 4 minutes here.

Then the last minute before people come, I get a big wooden board out and put little hors d’oeuvre on it. Always have a little bite to eat as soon as everyone gets there to buy yourself some more time if you need it.

And that’s my normal routine — I don’t stress it too much if something doesn’t get done! Perhaps my biggest tip is: I guarantee that when you have people over, they’re not bothered by your home’s natural state. I know when I go to someone’s house, I am not looking at things on the floor. I am matching the energy of my host! So more than anything, I try to make someone feel welcome and relaxed by being welcoming and relaxed.

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