how to fake a clean house

Love this post on RealSimple.com’s site- How to Fake a Clean House is a busy person’s guide to looking like Martha Stewart. Next time you get a phone call saying that your in-laws are dropping by the house in 30 minutes, use some of these helpful tricks to whip your place into shape:

In the Kitchen:

  • When the dishwasher is full and the sink is overflowing, stow dirty dishes and silverware in a stockpot and pull them out later to be cleaned.
  • Cover up the lingering aroma of last night’s supper by boiling nutmeg, cloves, or cinnamon and orange peels in a sauce-pan on the stove.
  • Declutter the refrigerator by taking down notes, drawings, and magnets and throwing them in a plastic bag. Sort through it later.
  • Fold hand towels to hide stains. Two tips: Hang the clean side over the oven handle (with the stains in the back), or roll towels in neat spirals and stack them pyramid-style next to the sink.

In the Living Room:

  • Reserve one side of sofa cushions to be shown to guests. Before company arrives, flip over the cushions to reveal good-as-new fabric. When guests are gone, flip them back.
  • Rid the sofa of pet hair by wetting the fingertips of rubber gloves and gliding your hand over the sofa. The hair will stick to the rubber.
  • Stack books, catalogs, and magazines in neat piles on the floor or arrange them in a deep decorative basket.
  • To disguise windows in need of washing, pull curtain panels closed.
  • Fold a clean blanket neatly and drape it over a stained sofa. Strategically placed throw pillows can also camouflage soiled upholstery.

In the Kids’ Room:

  • Stash scattered puzzle pieces in a drawer; stack the boards on a shelf.
  • Stow pajamas under the pillow. This way, they’re off the floor and ready for later.
  • Put blocks in a handled shopping bag and hang it on a hanger or a doorknob inside the closet.
  • Put homeless stuffed animals in extra pillowcases. Or prop them up behind shams.
  • If your kids have a play tent, hide toys and clothes inside it.
  • Pile books neatly on the floor, largest to smallest, next to a chair or a desk.
  • Spritz a deodorizer spray around the diaper pail to eliminate odors.

In the Laundry Room:

  • Fold clean towels neatly on the drying rack. Rope lingerie items on hangers, then place them in the bedroom closet, away from prying eyes.
  • Drape a scorched ironing board with a clean white sheet, tuck in the edges to fashion a make-shift cover, and place the board in the far corner of the room or behind the door.
  • Pile any laundry that needs to be folded in baskets or storage containers and lay them on the washing machine to be sorted through later.
  • As for dirty clothes awaiting washing, simply toss them in the washer.

In the Bathroom:

  • Glide a sticky lint roller over the bath mat to pick up hair.
  • Light a candle. Everything looks better (and cleaner) by candlelight.
  • Hang a fluffy bathrobe on top of damp towels dangling from the hooks on the back of the door.
  • Store a rattan or canvas basket on top of the toilet and throw in stray cosmetic brushes.
  • Hang fresh guest towels. The humidity in this room makes textiles look droopy, even after a recent machine washing.
  • Mound cosmetics and hairstyling products in a container underneath the sink. In a pinch, pile them in the tub and close the shower curtain. Cross your fingers that guests don’t snoop.

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