Your house is a mess. An array of pillows, toys, magazines and crumbs on the floor, piles of unopened letters on the coffee table next to day old coffee and a half eaten cookie (OK just the crumbs, no one's eating only half of that cookie). You keep putting off cleaning it up because, well, life.
Then the phone rings. It's friends telling you they're close and free and are going to drop by in a half hour.
You need to fix this mess and get your house guest ready - quickly.
I can help. While I can't come and organize your house for you, leading a busy life with three kids in a country where no one calls before dropping by has taught me a thing or two about quick decluttering methods. Here are my five favourite tricks for organizing your living room and more importantly - making it guest ready, quickly and efficiently.
No room for clutter on this table, via Elle Decoration
Large surfaces such as coffee tables (or dining room tables, kitchen tables, countertops, even beds) are a large feeding ground for clutter. You may think you're getting rid of clutter when your clear your table but in fact it's as if you're creating a vacuum for clutter which will quickly pile back.
Here's how to fix that - first take a large storage basket and just sweep everything into it (except for the dishes - put those in the kitchen). Take the clutter filled basket and put it in your bedroom. Close the door. Once the guests are gone you can put everything in its place.
Next, place a large object like a vase, planter, large tray, books - anything that will take up space and force you to put things that don't belong on these surfaces back in their place in real time.
White surfaces always look cleaner, like in this house
Our eyes might not always notice things like fingerprints on windows or drip spots on tables, but we do notice when these surfaces are spotless. Take a damp cloth or some cleaning spray and quickly wipe down all visible surfaces - tables, chair handles, windowsills. If you have time and only one or two small windows - go ahead and wipe those down too. I'm always surprised how little time it takes and what a huge difference it makes.
I would love to sink into that sofa, via Vogue Australia
An inviting home is not about having a spotless and neat space - but rather a space that almost beckons you in. Fluffy throw pillows and plump sofas will make every guest feel wanted, so give them a couple of strong pats.
Mastering the art of throw blanket placement at My Scandinavian Home
If you have a throw blanket (and you should have one) don't be tempted to fold it but rather toss it gently over the side of your sofa or armchair. This is not about living in a museum or high end store, it's about making people (and yourself) feel welcome.
A small tray on a good book is beautiful and thoughtful
Now that you've cleared and cleaned the room, it might feel empty or stark. This is your chance to really think about intentionally placing things throughout the room to give it that extra layer. Place some pretty coasters on a side table, light a floor lamp or a couple of candles, open a design book or magazine to your favourite spread for your guests to enjoy (this almost acts as art on a table). My mother in law always has pretty bowls of nuts on a side table, and I choose where I sit accordingly (close to the Cashews, obviously).
No one wants to seem frantic when their guests arrive. Step away and do something else for a couple of minutes. Wash you face, boil some water, catch your breath. And enjoy your work.
Have any more tricks for quick organizing? Do share them in the comments, we'd love to learn!
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