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. Twenty 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 whatever heck mess our dog just did. :) Anyway, I have 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 have 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 one-hour visitors. It gives me a little more time, but still ...one 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:
To this.... in 20 or so minutes.
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 :)
- Storage containers are your best friend. Contain clutter in cute storage baskets, bins or other containers. For the baskets that overflow, 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 sight" 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 fewer 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 :) Or if you really want to, put them in the oven. I have had many dirty pots and pans in the oven at any given time ... just don't forget about them, lol.
- If you have mail or randomness on the counter, place that 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.
- 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.
Alicia @ thriftyandchic.com
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