DETROIT (WWJ) – Unexpected visitors seem to increase during the holiday season, and it never fails to happen when you have dishes in the sink, a project spread out across the living room and laundry hanging in the bathroom. Such little surprises don’t need to spiral your stress levels.

Experts at The Maids offer these five steps to help get your home ready for guests in half an hour or less.

Concentrate on areas the guests will see, such as the entrance hall, living room, kitchen or bathroom, and spend what time you have on clutter removal and surface cleaning.

Visitors want to see you, so don’t worry about a white-glove inspection. If you focus your cleaning on what’s visible to the eye, your company won’t know your speed-cleaning secret.

1. Sweet Smell of Home — Light a scented candle or spray some air freshener through the rooms. If you have frozen cookie dough, throw a batch in the oven. Not only will your home smell inviting, but you will have some comfort food to offer guests. Throw out any trash, including what’s in the bathroom trashcan.

2. Clear the Clutter — Throw papers or other items covering tables or countertops into a box or basket and place it out of site. Don’t worry about saving items in their proper place until after the visitors have departed. Remove any pet blankets or other protective items from couches and chairs.

3. Bathroom Basics — Wipe down the sink, and if there’s time, clean the toilet. Clean mirrored surfaces if they need it. Remove any unnecessary items from the room and place new towels on the racks and replenish the toilet paper and hand soap.

4. Conquer the Kitchen — Place dishes in the dishwater and wash those that aren’t dishwasher safe. If you don’t have time for a complete wash, rinse and stack them neatly or hide them in the dishwasher until guests leave. Wipe down countertops and the kitchen table with a lemon/water mixture. The lemon not only has disinfectant properties but adds a fresh smell to the room.

5. Dust Busters — Use a microfiber cloth to grab dust from the most visible surfaces. Sweep or vacuum the floors in the rooms where guests will spend time.

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