Dirty house? Keep calm and seasonal party on

Posted September 22, 2016 6:15 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 2:04 p.m. EDT

This story was written for our sponsor, Pella Windows and Doors of North Carolina.

One of the most difficult and never-ending battles most homeowners face is keeping a clean and tidy home while working full time, being sure the kids are well taken care of and running errands.

Since most homeowners don't "realize" how dirty they think their house is until guests are on the way over, here are 10 cleaning tips that will help hosts dazzle guests as the holiday season approaches.

1. Emergency "dust" by closing the blinds
If guests will be over during daylight hours, the sun will be a worst enemy in exposing dust within the home.

Closing the blinds helps hide dust on little-used tables or countertops and bookshelves.

Investing in between-the-glass blinds or shades can provide an extra step of protection, as the blinds are sheltered from dust (and damage) by being tucked between panes of glass.

Pella - Spotlight - Designate a “clean” hamper

2. Designate a "clean" hamper
If clean laundry tends to pile up, especially in under-used rooms where hosts might usually take guests’ coats, buying a new hamper and labeling it for clean clothes can help keep dirty and clean laundry separate -- without being an eyesore -- until it's convenient for the laundry to be folded.

3. Junk drawer
Families that have a junk drawer are in great shape, especially if the doorbell just rang. Scissors, notepads, pens, extra soy sauce -- all of these things can have a home in mere minutes, clearing clutter and surface area for hosts.

Pella - Spotlight - Overflow dishes stashed in the oven

4. Overflow dishes stashed in the oven
As long as the party doesn't require baking, the oven is a great place to hide away dirty dishes once the dishwasher gets full. Homeowners just need to be sure they remember the dishes before preheating for tomorrow night’s dinner.

5. Hide the toys
If the den or playroom will be used by guests and there are just too many toys to put away or organize, homeowners can be creative in hiding them.

Toys can be hidden in plain sight if the family owns a play tent or indoor playhouse, as well as in hollow ottomans or other pieces of furniture. This allows the toys to be on hand for children once guests leave and not boxed or inconveniently stored out of their reach.

Pella - Spotlight - Flip couch cushions

6. Flip couch cushions
Flipping couch cushions is one of the easiest ways for people to "clean" their sofas. The newly exposed sides look much cleaner, and a simple fluffing of throw pillows and folding of blankets will create a pleasant appearance of neatness.

7. Baskets
This requires a little forethought -- homeowners should consider buying a few storage baskets that are left unused until needed. This way, any extra clutter that doesn't fit in the junk drawer but can't yet be thrown away can be stored in attractive containers within minutes.

Pella - Spotlight - Fuzzy socks

8. Fuzzy socks
If homeowners don't have time to mop while performing other chores to prepare for hosting, wearing fuzzy socks in non-carpeted room is actually a very effective way to clean the floors.

It's recommended a different pair be worn for each non-carpeted room to avoid merely moving dirt and dust from room to room.

9. Sweep it under the rug
Literally -- if crumbs have piled up in kitchen and dining areas, including the living room for many families, sweeping them under the rug and out of sight creates an image of cleanliness. The crumbs can be vacuumed later, when more time is available.

10. Light a candle
Hosting is all about presentation, and lighting a candle creates an aura of aromatic and visual comfort.

The glow and scent of a spiced fall candle can alter the mood of an entire room.

This story was written for our sponsor, Pella Windows and Doors of North Carolina.