How To Prepare For Company In 10 Minutes Flat

04/20/2015 09:41 am ET | Updated Jun 16, 2015

When you're expecting company, your mind starts to go haywire, thinking of all the tasks you have to accomplish before guests arrive. It's like hosting has heightened your senses so you can see all the dust and dirt that's sitting on the surfaces of your apartment.

Fortunately, you don't need a whole day to tidy up your space-- just 10 minutes will do. In the moments before your guests arrive, follow these tips:

Get All of Your Supplies Together

Tidying up in 10 minutes is more of a spot clean than a deep clean, so you'll only need a few things. Get a hamper and fill it with a garbage bag, recycling bag, and cleaning cloth. The cloth can be a damp microfiber towel or box of disinfectant wipes-- either works.

Additionally, fill your hamper with supplies you need to put in various rooms. That could mean extra toilet paper or towels.

Tackle Rooms Your Guests Will Use

Your friends and family likely won't spend their visiting time in your bedroom, so don't bother cleaning this space when you're working against a ticking clock-- remember, you only have 10 minutes! Only work on the rooms where your guests will hang out.

Bring your supplies into the room, and start picking up. Dirty blankets, clothes, etc., can go in the hamper, trash goes in your garbage bag, and empty bottles end up in recycling. Once all the clutter is gone, wipe down surfaces using your cloth.

You should also straighten up the room by fixing pillows, aligning furniture that may be out of place, etc. When you look at the space, it should seem tidy and organized.

Finally, place backup supplies in the room. You probably will only have to worry about this in the bathroom and guest bedroom.

Don't Get Distracted

It's easy to fall into the task of cleaning and forget about the clock. However, because you have a short amount of time and plenty of spaces to prepare, you should only do the bare minimum. If you see dirt on your floor, don't grab the vacuum. If you want to organize your whole living room, don't.

Setting a timer could help you stay focused, as it allows you to see how much time is left on the clock. Consider assigning a certain amount of minutes to each room. For instance, if your living room is large, but the dining room is small, give more to the former than the latter.

Having supplies with you and carrying your hamper from room to room helps cut back on time, giving you more opportunities to clean in every space.


Not all the guest spaces will be disorderly, so only tidy up those that need it. If you see that some rooms need a lot more attention (like the bathroom has to be scrubbed, not just tidied), prioritize that and then quickly declutter other areas with your spare moments.

Even in rooms that need a lot of attention, you can complete chores that make the space look clean even if you didn't do your normal, thorough scrub. For instance, use a disinfecting wipe on your bathroom counter in your 10 minutes instead of grabbing Comet and a sponge.

Enlist Help

If you feel your apartment needs significantly more attention than simple spot cleaning, get help. Ten minutes isn't enough time for you to tidy up and deep clean. Have a roommate or friend come over early and tackle one or two chores while you do the rest. Don't forget to thank them!

By the time company arrives, your apartment should be decluttered and ready for guests. You can worry about serving food and drink when they get there-- it's easier to entertain while slicing bread than while cleaning.

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