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  • 5 Foolproof Ways to Speed-Clean Your Space

    Perfect the fine art of faking a flawless dwelling.

    Cleaning tips

    Hosting the book club, poker group or soccer team seemed like a great idea at the time. But whether you volunteered your humble abode five weeks or five hours ago, a lot of life has happened in between.

    Your house might not be clean in the strictest sense of the word. But with a couple targeted tidying tasks, you can still create an inviting atmosphere in a matter of minutes—as long as you don’t mind keeping a dirty secret or two.

    After all, there’s no shame in cutting corners for the sake of spending quality time with your guests.

    • Swipe it in.

      What do toiletries, books, toys, office supplies, knickknacks, dishes, laundry and refrigerator magnets have in common? They can all be swept into a basket or bin, given a temporary hideaway in the dishwasher, oven, a closet or drawer, and restored to their proper spot once the festivities wrap.

    • Wipe it off.

      You don’t have to be a hardcore minimalist to know that a clutter-free patch of countertop sends the message that you’ve got clean under control. Once you clear that swath (see “Swipe it in”), wipe up any dust or spills. Repeat for mirrors, windows and stainless steel.

    • Drape it over.

      Nothing says “I had all kinds of extra time” like a throw blanket artfully cascading over a couch, or a lovely curtain hanging just so in front of a window. While you’re at it, fluff all the accent pillows.

    • Line it up.

      Our brains register order instead of chaos when we see items neatly arranged, even when there are a lot of them. Take a moment to stack books and papers, and arrange collectibles into lines or groups to suggest rhyme and reason.

    • Spread it around.

      There are three things you do want strewn throughout your space: Light, color and freshness. All three brighten the mood, and distract from less-than-immaculate areas. Exploit natural lighting whenever possible. Place wildflowers on a table. And amp up the fresh factor with a Filtrete™ Whole House Air Freshener., available in five scents.