An Emergency Guide to Getting Your Messy Apartment Hookup-Ready in 5 Minutes

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Your gross apartment can be a major turn-off to your very special guests, relationship coach Lesli Doares tells the Chicago Tribune. True! Nothing kills budding romance like the vague stench of cat pee and a towering stack of unrecycled takeout containers. But while Doares implies your filthy house is a sign of faulty character — “you don’t care enough about your environment to take care of it,” she argues, semi-reasonably —  we understand that sometimes life happens. You are a busy modern professional who happens to have a cat and an affinity for the Chinese place down the street. Obviously you would have cleaned if you had been expecting company, but how were you supposed to know that date would go so well? No problem. Here’s how to get your apartment ready for romance in five minutes, give or take:

1. Open the window!

Ideally, you did this before you left on the off-chance you’d be bringing home a visitor, but better late than never. Airing out your place cuts down on the stench of you and your should-have-been-taken-out-yesterday trash, takes a few seconds, and is totally unobjectionable. “It gets stuffy in here,” you say, sexily brushing the bangs out of your face. “Sorry.” Time: 20 seconds.

2. Throw All Your Laundry in a Basket and Shove It Under Your Bed/In Your Closet/Away!

Dirty underwear should not be seen. Dirty towels should not be seen. Dirty shirts with cartoon characters on them you sometimes sleep in should not be seen. The closet floor isn’t a permanent solution — do your laundry! — but it is fool-proof in a pinch. Time: one minute.

3. Check Your Bathroom!

Wipe down the toilet seat. Wipe up your beard/leg/pubic trimmings. Get the gross clump of hair out of your drain. Make sure there’s toilet paper. You can’t fake a deep-clean, but you can fake being a somewhat hygienic person. Time: two or three minutes, depending on how dire your straits.

4. Do A Once-Over for Incriminating Trash!

Hooked up with someone else recently? Awesome. But please, please, please make sure the condom wrapper is no longer next to your bed and also not extremely visible in the trash. Please. Time: 30 seconds.

5. Fake-Make Your Bed!

In a perfect world, you would have washed your sheets and folded hospital corners like the budding Martha Stewart that you are. But this is not a perfect world, so just uncrumple the best you can and then toss a blanket over the whole mess. Time: 45 seconds.

6. Throw Your Most Disgusting Dishes in the Sink!

Dishes encrusted with cereal remains from three weeks ago all over the place are gross. Dishes encrusted with cereal remains from three weeks ago in the sink just mean you’re human. You don’t have time to actually do them, but you do have time to pretend you intend to do them in the future. Time: one minute.