Due to computer issues, this post should have been up on Friday, Sept. 12!

If You Have 15 Minutes:

Freshen the bed. Shaking out or changing sheets kicks up dust, so do those tasks first. To further freshen, spray sheets with linen spray before making the bed. Ms. Superiority’s helpful hints: Steam cleaning can be done with your iron – run an iron over the fabric that has been lightly spritzed with water or linen spray for a fresher smell. This takes no time at all (works great on mattresses as well – and kills anything that might be harboring – good after someone has been ill!)

Damp-dust surfaces. Spritz an electrostatic or microfiber cloth with dusting spray and make your way around the room in a clockwise circle.

If You Have 30 Minutes, Add the Following:

Tackle the floor. If it’s wood, run a damp (not wet) microfiber mop around the edges of the bed and all other exposed areas. (Remember — don’t wet-mop hardwood floors, as they could warp.) Vacuum the same zones if you have carpeting.

If You Have 1 Hour, Add the Following:

Get under the bed. And behind it, too.

If You Have Half a Day, Add the Following:

Do the windows, walls, and lights. Use a microfiber or electrostatic cloth and a glass or all-purpose surface cleaner to clean panes, frames, and windowsills in one fell swoop. Wipe down light switches and fixtures. Use an eraser pad to take any scuffs and stains off the walls.

Hit the closets. Why? Because dirt and dust are in there and will eventually find their way out. Vacuum or mop the floor. Also, dust the shelves and wipe down the doors with a damp microfiber cloth.

The Goods

Caldrea Linen Spray. Formulated with essential oils and purified water, these scented spritzers won’t stain or leave water marks on even the most delicate linens. (So you can rest easy, 400-thread-count devotees.) The fragrances — citrus-mint ylang-ylang, green-tea patchouli, basil–blue sage, and six others — are subtle and clean, not perfumy or antiseptic.
To Buy: $12 for 32 ounces, www.caldrea.com to buy and for national retailers.

For guest rooms, there is a little bit further you should go with organizing and cleaning. You want the space to be comfortable, not noisy (keep pets and children away), clean and sparse. Try to think of all the convenience you would love to see in a guest room, but are too shy to ask for.

Guest Room Musts:

For the room: A nice alarm clock, a selection of books you are finished reading so your guest can take them home to finish, a reading lamp, a throw blanket, piles of pillows, clean sheets, a few empty drawers, and closet space, a mirror.

For the bathroom (be it shared or a separate guest bathroom): $1 at Target will buy you a small version each of toothpaste, tissues, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, powder, Q-tips, toothbrush, and body lotion. A nice bar of beautiful soap, perfume samples, and samples from luxury product store Kiehls of goods like eye cream and hair conditioner are a superior gesture as well. Throw everything in decorative basket and leave it on top of a fluffy towels (body, face and wash cloths) so the guests know to help themselves.

I think Pepto Bismal, Advil or Tylenol, and allergy medicine (always if you have pets) are also very kind to leave around for guests to help themselves (plus they may feel to awkward to ask for these things.

Superior Touches: City guides, maps, Zagat guides for local eating, take out menus, phone numbers, bus schedules, a pen and small notebook, bottled water by the bed, empty electrical jacks for easy cell phone charging…all simple touches to make people feel comfortable, and most of which you probably have in your home.