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Gertie's Dirt: Cleaning for guests

Enjoying the company of friends and family is a wonderful part of the holiday season. Here are some suggestions to make this time special without the added stress.

To make sure your house is presentable for unexpected guests, clean the areas they will see and close the doors to other rooms. Make frequent sweeps through the rooms in which you'll be entertaining to reduce clutter and mess.

• Grab a plastic grocery bag and pick up all the trash. Gather up all the newspapers and put them in a neat pile.

• Using a laundry basket or bin, pick up all the kid, dog, cat and grownup toys! Put the bin in another room and shut the door.

• Fluff the pillows and fold the throws. 

• Using a soft cloth, dust only the tables you will use or they will see.

Tackling the kitchen

• Collect all the dirty dishes and load the dishwasher. If you don't have a dishwasher, and don't have time to wash them stow them in the oven.

• Wipe down all the flat surfaces with a microfiber cloth. 

• Sweep the floor.

Take on the

bathroom last

If your guests arrive before you get in there, welcome them and make them comfortable. Excuse yourself and head to the head!

• Pick up all the dirty towels. Put them in the hamper or stash them out of sight until later. Put out a fresh hand towel.

• Remove everything you can from the sink area. Put the items in a drawer or basket for now. 

• If the mirror is dirty, wipe it with a microfiber cloth and dry it with a towel. 

• Wipe off the sink and counter. 

• Shut the shower curtain or shower door. 

• Swish the toilet brush around the toilet bowl.

• Wipe off the seat and shut the lid. Is there enough toilet paper on the roll?

When guests are expected, you can do a more thorough job of cleaning of your home. When your guests plan to stay, here are ways to make sure they're comfortable.

• Change bed linens. Add an extra blanket folded neatly at the foot. 

• It may be difficult for guest to find their way around the room when it's dark, so place some lighting at the bedside and provide a nightlight.

• Provide a chair or place to open a suit case. 

• Fresh bath towels and wash cloths placed directly in the guest room ensures that your guests know which ones are meant for them.

In case they have forgotten personal items, it is always nice to have an extra tube of toothpaste, and some shampoo, conditioner and shower gel on hand.

If you are a guest and want to be sure you will be invited back, try these suggestions. 

• Don't leave garbage or dirty dishes for your host or hostess to pick up. If you decide to prepare a meal, return the kitchen to its previous state of cleanliness, or perhaps even a bit cleaner!

• Keep the guest room tidy. Place your dirty clothes in a laundry bag.

• Make the bed each day. 

• Keep the bathroom you are using neat and clean. If the bathroom is only being used by you, you may leave some of your personal care items out. If the room is shared by others, you should put those items away.

• Hang up your bath towel and plan to use it more than once if possible.

• When you are ready to pack up and head for home, strip the dirty sheets from the bed, gather the used towels and bring them to the laundry room.

I hope these suggestions help to make this time special. My best advice for when you need your house cleaned before guests arrive is to call Gertie's!

Donna Bellino is a nurse and owner of Gertie's Cleaning and Home Service. I care for you, your health and your home. Gertie's: Naturally Clean!