7 easy ways I fake a tidy house when I'm feeling lazy – they work every time

These foolproof tips have never failed me

Living room with green sofa next to bookshelf
(Image credit: Future PLC)

We've all been there. Getting a message from a friend that they're on their way to yours to pay you a 'surprise visit' to which you happily agree to oblige. Little do they know you just scrambled out of your bed 10 minutes ago.

From unexpected guests to those days that just aren't it, we all need a couple of cleaning tips to keep in our back pocket when we're looking to make our homes look spick and span – and fast.

I know what it feels like to have a build-up of doom piles of clutter to tidy away, but if even I can manage to fake it 'til I make it by following these simple tips, anybody can. Believe me when I tell you that even the laziest of us can get behind these decluttering tips.

Living room with green sofa next to bookshelf

(Image credit: Future PLC / Dan Duchars)

7 ways I fake a tidy house when I'm feeling lazy

1. Get yourself a 'catch-all' tray, box, or hook

For the days that you just don't feel like putting things back where they actually belong, having a catch-all spot in various areas of your home is the best way to filter your clutter.

Pop a catch-all tray right by your entryway as a hallway storage idea to instantly drop your keys, wallet, and other miscellaneous items on. A catch-all hook or rack to hang your coat, scarf, and bag when you're not in the mood to put it away yet. And even better yet, a catch-all box in any room to drop in anything else you can't be asked to tidy away yet.

It really does the trick for keeping your bits and bobs together and looks kind of intentional. And when you're ready to declutter, simply carry the tray or box and slot everything back into its rightful spot.

Tray on top of wooden console table next to home decor

(Image credit: Future PLC / Dominic Blackmore)

2. Keep empty drawers and storage boxes in living areas

Similar to the previous tip, keep big storage baskets in communal areas and drawers free inside any console tables. Not only are they a great living room storage idea, but if you're greeted by an unexpected visitor, you can simply hide all your clutter away and place a throw on top of those baskets and they'll never know.

Living room storage boxes in grey shelving

(Image credit: Future PLC / Dominic Blackmore)

3. Don't underestimate the power of scent

Filling your home with the best home fragrance is a sure way to divert any wandering eyes. Ensuring you know how to make a room smell good will pleasantly distract people enough to not ask about the lingering pile of clutter you've left in the corner.

Whether they're fresh flowers, the best scented candles, or diffusers, use scents to your advantage. Honestly, even spraying a bit of cleaning spray will do the trick (my favourite is Method's Anti-Bac All Purpose Cleaner in Wild Rhubarb).

Living room with white boucle armchair

(Image credit: Future PLC / Anna Stathaki)

4. Clean at eye level only

If you're in a rush to get your home in order, don't spend so much time worrying about nooks and crannies that people won't even be looking at. Think about what spots visitors will likely be occupying and focus on cleaning around those.

Clear clutter from those areas, do a quick vacuum and light a candle. It does wonders.

Dining room next to staircase landing

(Image credit: Future PLC / Dan Duchars)

5. Give some love to the bathroom

I don't know about you, but if there's an area I want to make sure I get right for anybody who walks into my home, it'll be the bathroom. Give the toilet a quick clean (keeping some toilet cleaner tablets on hand is super useful), spray some air freshener, and declutter the bathroom surfaces.

It could even be worth trying out some bathroom cleaning hacks on an occasion when you have more time.

Bathroom with grey wall, bathtub, two basins and decorated with plants

(Image credit: Future PLC / Dan Duchars)

6. Change your bins

This one is a winner for me. If you really want to look like you're on top of your cleaning calendar, change the bins in your house – especially any bins in your bathroom as those tend to be smaller, therefore, fill up quicker than others in your home.

utility room, butler belfast sink, storage shelves, assorted storage jars storing wooden dolly pegs and cleaning products

(Image credit: Future PLC)

7. Turn off the 'big light'

As the old proverb says: see no evil, hear no evil. If you can't see the clutter then technically it's not there (we like to try to convince ourselves of this). You'll be surprised at how much soft, ambient lighting just helps to divert from anything else in the room.

Whether it's lighting a candle, turning on a table or floor lamp, drawing attention to the fireplace, or decorating with fairy lights, chances are you'll forget about the pile of clothes you've left in the corner if you've set the mood enough.

Table lamp on top of console table next to house plant basket filled with books

(Image credit: Future PLC / Heather Dixon)

Of course, when you have the time and are feeling up to the job, then you should prioritise deep cleaning your house with the best cleaning products, but these foolproof tips are just my way of staying afloat so I don't drown in an overwhelming amount of clutter.

Seeing as these have never failed me, I hope you'll also keep these in mind for the next time you find yourself doing a panic clean.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring the city, coffee shop hopping, and losing hours to a cosy game.