Your Aunt just called. She’s on her way with Cousin Sheila PickyPants and they will over in 20 minutes for a “quick” visit. As you hang up the phone, you turn around to survey the appearance of the house… and you GULP. Your house looks like wolves live there. Or hoarders. Or toy/magazine/tissue paper/Lego chunks/doll clothes/dirty paper plates Hoarding Wolves.
Panic time? Boom! What? YES…..
Calm yourself mama. Panic won’t clean up the joint and you can surprisingly move mountains in 20 minutes so let’s get down to the meat of the potato here. It’s 20 minute Power Clean time.
You’ve got approximately 15-18 minutes and you can very quickly and effectively turn the chaos around and then yourself in order before company arrives. Here’s how you get the most bang for your cleaning buck.
1. Pick stuff off the floor. It always makes such a difference to actually “see” the carpet. Doing a quick floor sweep helps as well is a good idea to at least get up they visible clutter. If your vacuum is easy to use, run it quickly. If it is a pain to find it and deal with the cord, forget about it.
2. Close off any rooms that don’t need to be seen, such as bedrooms, playrooms, etc. Spare rooms are another place to temporarily stash clutter you don’t have time to process like toys or laundry. Don’t bother sorting, just scoop up all the toys and “stuff” and move on.
3. Tackle Kitchen Clutter: Kitchens are often nucleus of a house; everyone ends up there in some way, shape or form eventually. Process dirty dishes that are in the sink by loading them into the dishwasher or stashing in a tub under the sink. Give your countertops a once over with the sponge or a wipe so nothing sticky is left for your guests to discover. Tuck things like loaves of bread, butter dishes and personal items that seem to “live” on your countertops into a cupboard for now.
4. Times ticking down, how are you doing? Now let’s face the bathroom. Nothing is more embarrassing than having someone ask to use your bathroom when you just know it is gross. Toss all the toys in the tub and close the curtain. Wipe down sinks and the toilet tank and give the bowl a quick scrub. Get everything off the counter and into a drawer like toothbrushes, toothpaste and combs.
Grab a wipe made just for mirrors and get that toothpaste spray that you have been purposely ignoring off the mirror. If you can, clean the toilet bowl as well. Be sure there is toilet paper. Hang a fresh hand towel, spray and little Febreeze and you are good-to-go.
5. Just a minute or two left. Straighten the cushions on the sofa. Toss the throws the way the magazine stylists do instead of having piling them up like a pillow. Corral all shoes, boots, hats, mittens and coats and tuck into the closet.
The point to remember is that you only need to give the “illusion” of clean. No one is going to open your closets or drawers. No one is going to peek behind closed doors. At least, I hope not.
Final touches: Light a couple of candles or plug-in your Scentsy pot, round-up a healthy snack and brew a pot of coffee. Take your final minutes to straighten your own appearance so your guests will never know you just successfully speed-cleaned your house and get ready to do some relaxin’ and chattin’ with family