My husband is notorious for springing people on me the last minute. Like, "Hey babe, Joe Schmo is coming over in 20 minutes." My first reaction is to freak out. Which I do. And then probably mumble a few certain words. And then I look around my house. And yeah. 20 minutes? No Way. I wish I could say that my house is immaculate all the time. But truth is, it is only 'immaculate' like one day out of the year...maybe. I work full time and have the babe running around constantly making a giant mess and the hubs running around constantly making his mess. And then there's me...yes, I admit. I make a mess too...and not to mention what ever heck mess our dog just did. :) Anyways, so I have gotten a great system down for those 20 minute visitors.... that I get probably once a week. I'm serious....my husband doesn't understand planning or either he just plain forgets to tell me until 20 minutes out. I'm lucky if it's 20 minutes too. There's been 10 minuters also. ..yes, that's a word...10 minute visitors...10 minuters :)
My house is quite open so there's no way to just shut the door to the living room or kitchen or dining room. When you come into the front door, you pretty much see everything....front room, stairs, hall, living room...walk a little bit further...dining room and kitchen.
So, these little tips apply to a semi-'contained chaos' home. If you have a huge mess on your hands, you'll probably need more time. I like it when I get the 1 hour visitors, it gives me a little more time but still...1 hour?...especially when your house is in massive chaos and your dishes are piled so dang high you can't see the window?? You can't get too much done in that amount of time, especially deep cleaning. I'm going to be very vulnerable here and show my deepest darkest secrets of my messy house...so don't judge :)..this is actually pretty contained compared to how it usually gets.
So, this is how I get my house from this:
And yes. It does require complete attention on your part with no little ones interrupting and no stops for a sip of coffee...although you may need it lol. And yes, this will get your heart rate up. And as I said, this is how to FAKE a clean house. So, a lot of these tips mean you actually have to clean up afterward :) You'll see what I mean by that as you read on. I've tried to put these in some sort of category, but they all really fall into one category. Hiding and Half Cleaning...well, and Faking ;)
The main thing is to pick up the clutter in only the rooms that people are going to see. That will make 90% of the impact, especially if you have a lot of stuff strewn about :)
Hide the obvious.
- Clean only the rooms that people are going to see and trash the others. I'm serious on this. I usually have a stroller parked in the middle of the hallway. Huge toys that have no real place to go except in the middle of everything. Laundry piled in the corner. Etc Etc. So, I just move all those into my bedroom and shut the door. My bedroom and the laundry room are catchalls for everything that needs to be out of the other rooms. I know no one is going in them so it's a safe place to hide junk..I mean, stuff :)
|today the stroller has been exchanged for a large rug :) ...and here's a sneak peak into my bedroom makeover. yes, the toys are staying :) jk|
- Storage containers are your best friend. Contain clutter in cute storage baskets, bins or other containers. For the baskets that over flow, just throw a cute blanket on top of them, then you can't see the clutter inside and it actually looks like its just a place to store you blankets which is totally stylish :) ...aka barbies with no heads sticking out of the basket are not. These are also great to corral movies, books, magazines, remotes, mail, randomness....etc.
- Hide shoes in a cute basket/bin behind the door. If it has a lid, even better!
- I like to hide toys behind the couch. I love my sectional because it offers this whole 'out of site' cleaning. Where it looks clean cuz you can't see it even though its there.
- I also hide toys behind the arm of one of the couches in my front room...and sometimes I hide things behind that big chalkboard...
- Dirty dishes..ugh. Throw dishes in the dishwasher if empty. This is time consuming, so just throw them in there with no rhyme or reason if you wish. If you don't have a dishwasher or the dishwasher is full, then stack the dishes nicely in the sink. This usually makes it look like you have less dirty dishes than if they were all thrown in there nonchalantly. This also helps if you have one of those nice cutting boards that cut over the sink, then just place that on top of all your dishes and then you can't see them :)
- If you have mail or randomness on the counter, place them in a cute basket or box instead to contain it. Just be sure to sort through later :)
- While we are on the kitchen, clean the fridge and make it free from magnets and mess. Throw them in the box on the counter if need be for the moment. Or put them all on the side of the fridge that no one will see.
|And yep, you never see my kitchen because I hate it. Well, don't hate it, but I would rather have white cabinets but am freaked to paint these since they really are so nice...|
- Hide things under the couch if need be. Yes, I do this. But not like with trash or anything, only my laptop and cords. I usually have them out somewhere and its just super quick to hide them under the couch than to take them back up to my office.
- Pick up obvious clutter. Toys. Trash. Dishes. This will probably be like 50% of what you do and make a 90% difference.
- Pick up the big pieces of lint/string/trash that you see on the carpet. Then you won't have to worry about vacuuming
- Sweep and don't mop unless you have obvious dirty spots. Then just spot mop. Or...if you are like me...I rarely even sweep in these cases since I have wonderful tile that completely hides all dirt and dog hair.
- Make sure the counters and tabletops are clutter free. Wipe them down quickly.
- Dust. Someone can always spot dust especially on dark surfaces. It's quick to just get a duster or swiffer and go over tabletops.
- Get rid of dead flowers. This is my thing I always stress about forgetting because really, it's super inviting going to sit down next to some dried ol' nasty flowers :)
- If you have a microfiber couch, do this simple trick to pretty much clean anything off of it...like dirty little finger prints, random food debris that has been stuck on. This won't do much for liquid spills but you might as well try while your at it and see what it ends up looking like. Just take a brush and scrub the heck out of the spots.
- If it's day outside, open the curtains and let the sun shine in. Makes for a brighter, cleaner looking space.
- If you need to turn down the blinds, turn them up! The bottom side of the blinds don't attract as much dust and grime, so when you turn them up, the bottom sides show rather than the nasty top part.
I had NO idea the tops of these were this bad lol. Shows how much I turned these up, I never ever see the tops at all. Maybe it's that time of
- Straighten the chairs in the dining room.
- Straighten the pillows and throws.
- Straighten the rug. Yes, I don't understand how my rug that is on carpet moves constantly. But it does. So this sadly is one thing I always have to do and it drives me mad.
- Straighten up books and magazines.
Make Things Smell Good
- Trick the senses by making it smell like your house is clean :) Use febreeze. Use carpet deodorizer if you have time. Get a candle going. Plug in your Scentsy. Plug in your Airwick or Glade plugin. Spray some spray....and by all means, do not stink up the bathroom. I just have to say this because it seems inevitable at my house. And not because of me, but another certain someone :)
- I've noticed that for the most part, people don't use the bathroom when they come over for an hour or so, but you never ...ever...want to leave that to chance if your bathroom is a mess :) So, if it is, hide the mess in the cabinet. Throw away trash. Scrub the toilet quickly, not forgetting to pick up the lid and clean under there. Wipe down the sink, faucet and mirror. Pick up obvious debris left on the floor.
- Be sure to straighten the bathroom towel also and flip it over -that side is always cleaner.
And I think, for the most part, that's it! Once the people leave, it's always fun because my house returns to a mess in like 10 minutes lol. The toys get dragged out. The stroller returns to its resting spot. The mail gets back out so I can make sure I'm not hiding bills that will forever be lost otherwise. The babe tosses the pillows everywhere. The laundry returns to the corner...But! For that little moment in time, my house looked awesome ;)