Clean Sweep

Got guests coming? Focus your efforts on the things they'll really notice.

Easier Than You Think

clutter control

Lenora Gim

Inviting family over for the holidays sounded like a good idea, I blithely told myself last September. But before I knew it, December crept up on me, and the house was still the same pastel-pink, Hello Kitty-fied mess it had been for months. My relatives had to move nursing pillows out of the way to make room on the sofa and step around the Pack 'n Play to find the dining room table.

It's easy to feel defeated by kid clutter, but you don't have to spend days doing a top-to-bottom cleaning. "You'd be surprised how quickly you can straighten up in only five minutes," says Stacey Crew, author of The Get Organized Guide for New Moms (Clear Vision Organization). Put your efforts into the following speed-cleaning strategies, and even Great-Aunt Sylvia won't find fault with your house.

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