The list of product essentials:
1. Swiffer Duster - This little guy is a life-saver. I have two darling mutts that shed enough to make two new dogs every single day. If it wasn't for the Swiffer Duster, all my surfaces would be perpetually furry.
2. Voluspa 4.5 oz tin candles - These little candles are amazingly powerful for being small, and they're cheap at just $10 a pop. My favorite is the heady & luxurious, Champaca Bloom & Fern. You must keep at least three handy: one for your entrance, one for your kitchen, and one for the guest bathroom)
(My Entrance. Voluspa candle on shelf)Windex - Tried and true glass cleaner. My mom used it, her mom used it. Any time I stray to other glass cleaners, I always frustratedly wonder what I was thinking.
4. Mistolin - For those of you not in Miami, it's like your Lysol or Mr. Clean. Except way more fragrant. Wiping your bathroom down with this will make it smell and gleam like you spent hours in there.
Steps to "clean" in 30 minutes or less:
1. Hide EVERYTHING (5 minutes) - Pick up all your junk and literally throw it in a closet or room that no one will go into. You don't have time to put things away, but you're not going to embarass yourself and let people know you live like this: hide the evidence. I hide everything in my laundry closet. If you ever come to my house, please never look in there.
(My laundry closet. Don't judge me!)
(My dining table)
3. Swiffer Duster all surfaces only in the rooms in which you will be entertaining. Don't be too thorough. You want to do a quick swipe on anything obviously within eye-sight. This does not mean you should swipe every item in your bookcase individually. Just the front where all the dust/hair settles. (7 minutes)
(Console table in my living room)
4. The 7 Minute Bathroom Make Over:
-First, add fresh towels or pretty napkins for guests to wipe they're hands with. These little sensory details register in your guests' brains and add up to their recollection of your home as clean and inviting. Their brains will note that your towels smell fresh (or not) or be delighted by the pretty pattern of your fancy-pants napkins. (1 minute)
-Moving on, quickly rip a handful or any nice-looking flowers/plants/weeds from your backyard or neighborhood for a pop of color (just green works, too!), snip the bottoms and throw into a pretty goblet or small vase with some water. Place on top of the vanity. Don't waste precious time on this arrangement. Haphazard can some times be artful. (3 minues)
-Wipe the bathroom mirror with Windex, and wipe your bathroom surfaces with Mistolin (forget the tub, just close the curtain), including the toilet (and under the seat, too!). Finish by pouring some Mistolin in the toilet bowl. Leave it there. The tinted water will hide what you missed, and it'll make your bathroom smell clean and fresh. (3 minutes)
(My downstairs half-bath)
5. Vacuum & Mop (7 Minutes) - Only the high traffic areas of the rooms in which you will be entertaining. Do your entrance, your guest bathroom, around the coffee table or wherever you will situate guests, and in your kitchen (but not thoroughly--worry only about the things people can see). The vacuuming should only take about as long as it takes you to walk slowly through each of these areas. Ditto for the mopping. When you mop, use hot water and a few splashes of Mistolin. Be careful not to add too much to make the water sudsy or your floor will look all residue-y.
(Stairs to my loft + gallery wall)
6. Fluff and Primp (3 minutes): Fluff the Pillows on your sofa, slap on some lipstick & put on your heels. Pour yourself a glass of wine, girl--you did it! And no one will ever know 30 minutes ago your house was a disaster...unless they look in your closet.
(My living room)
(Image via North Valley Magazine)