'Tis the season when housekeeping is even more of a challenge.
More bodies are coming and going into our homes, and we're doing lots of messy things inside as part of our holiday preparations - such as wrapping gifts and baking galore.
The solution to this seasonal cleaning challenge? Preparation - in the form of gathering cleaning supplies and tools together in a single place - so you're ready for quick clean-ups.
These holiday speed cleaning tips can help you have a company-ready home - stat!
Shift into high gear by stocking up on supplies for the quick-and-dirty jobs that lie ahead.
Stash cleaning supplies in a portable cleaning caddy that you can quickly move from room to room. (Santa hat not required.)
Being prepared for last-minute housekeeping sprints makes holiday speed cleaning a snap when guests are at the door, and your 4-year-old has just found the finger-paints.
Since you probably didn't mess up the house yourself, why not get the little culprits to help clean it up?
When it is time to clean in a flash, give your kids a chore that seems more like child's play.
Have them don a pair of old, clean socks on their hands and send them about dusting shelves; or give them a spray bottom of floor cleaner and a pair of microfiber floor polishing slippers to clean and polish the floor to a sparkling shine.
No time for a full, proper toilet cleaning?
Pop two denture tablets into the toilet bowl and watch them work their magic. Let sit several minutes, and then flush clean.
What's a host to do when the zillion pieces of her son's latest soon-to-be masterpiece are all over the living room floor?
Grab your broom and dustpan. Not to sweep up the pieces and throw them away (although there are days when I consider this, I confess) but to quickly scoop them up off the floor and into their rightful containers.
This technique works great for any number of small toy pieces that need to be lifted off the floor – fast.
Pull a clean pillowcase over the head of a broom and capture those lurking webs from the far corners of your ceilings in just a twist or two of the wrist. No ladder required.
A lint roller is your best friend when you need couch cleaning at warp speed. Forget the cumbersome vacuum here - simply run the lint roller over your upholstered furniture to collect any small bits of dirt, crumbs, or pet hair.
Small spots or blemishes on upholstery, throw pillow, a window covering?
Blot it to oblivion by dabbing the offending blight with a baby wipe.
Got kids? Then you've likely got scuff marks on the floor.
Whether from hockey sticks, rollerblades, or your own (gasp!) heels, use a soft white eraser for floor-cleaning to remove the marks fast.
Keep an extension cord attached to your vacuum cleaner. That makes cleaning a room quicker, as you can go room to room without unplugging the vacuum each time.
Give yourself a gift this season by being prepared for last-minute speed cleaning. Then, you'll enjoy the season that much more, knowing the only thing that will be tarnished with ashes and soot will be Santa's suit.