Create A Crisis Cleaning Plan
It is wonderful to have a clean and tidy home. It feels good to come home to a house that is organised, smells fresh and clean, has everything put away and looks great. It makes you calmer, is easier to keep up with and makes the atmosphere in the home feel happier.
However, for most of us, that will never happen!! Life gets in the way of our homes looking like magazine show houses and it’s never quite tidy enough 🙂
And then, someone asks if they can pop over or the mother in law announces she needs to visit and you suddenly go into crisis mode! How do you get the house visitor ready in a hurry?
You need a crisis cleaning plan!
Obviously, it would be better if you were able to maintain the house on a daily basis so you never find yourself in crisis mode. It would also be better if money came out of cash machines for free, we were all naturally thin and food cooked and served itself – but none of those things magically happen either! Having a plan means that when things get crazy and you find yourself feeling like you don’t know where to start, you have a blueprint for getting things done in a hurry.
This is a not a full house clean – this is crisis management.
When your visitors leave, you will probably have to move and ‘unhide’ a few things! You are making the general look of the house be clean and organised, not actually cleaning and organising the house!
When making your plan, think about your particular house. What rooms do visitors see and go in? Think about the living room or family room, the kitchen, bathroom, entranceway. Which rooms can you shut the doors to and even hide things in? Below is how I would tackle my home, use it to think what would work best for you in your home and then customise your own plan.
Start with a bit of preparation. Put on some music, distract anyone that is in your way (including husbands), empty and reload the dishwasher or put the dishes to soak in the sink, squirt some cleaner in the toilet and spray the bathroom with cleaner spray to let it soak in. Run some hot soapy water into a bucket or bowl, get some cloths or kitchen roll ready, find your mop and get that ready, grab the vacuum, find an empty box or basket (or a few) and drink a cup of coffee for some energy!
Start in the room that they will be spending the most time in – probably the living room or family room. Throw open the windows if it is possible to do so, even if it’s just for a few minutes to clear the air. Grab anything that obviously shouldn’t be in there and throw it in your box or basket. Throw anything that is out-of-place, back into it’s place if it belongs in there, like books onto bookshelves or DVD’s back onto their shelves. With a barely damp, soapy cloth, wipe over every surface in the room to lift off the dust. Using a damp cloth means the dust will stick to the cloth rather than dusted up into the air to fall back down later and ruin the clean effect! Now either vacuum or mop the floor. Just do the bits that can be seen – don’t try to move furniture or do the skirting or base boards. Empty the bin, plump up the pillows on the sofas, make sure there is space to sit down and hide the box or basket of items in a room that won’t be entered by your guests – you can sort it out later when they have left. Finally, light a scented candle, burn some essential oils or spray a fragrance in the room and then shut that door and leave.
Next, the kitchen. Again, open the window if you can, fresh air makes a huge difference to how a room feels and smells. Get the dishes done. If you don’t have a dishwasher, quickly handwash them. If you do have a dishwasher then silently than whoever invented them and move on! If you pile your kitchen table up with anything and everything, now is the time to quickly sweep it all into a box for later. Our table is a place to just keep stacking stuff like a game of Jenga – now is not the time to sort it, just hide it in another room like the living / family room stuff. Now, make sure your worktops are as clear as possible, hiding things in a box or cupboard if necessary and then use a damp, soapy cloth give them all a good wipe over. Wipe down any cupboard doors and electrical appliances too – it doesn’t have to be perfect but a quick wipe over makes a huge difference. Make sure the area where you make drinks is tidy and there are cups and things out ready. This saves anyone going in a cupboard and seeing the carnage that you are probably hiding in there! It also makes you look like a good and well prepared hostess and that always helps 🙂 Finally, give the floor a good sweep and mop, shut the door and move on.
If there are stairs to your bathroom. quickly give them a sweep or vacuum over. Nothing makes a home look better than clean stairs. I have no idea why, it just works.
The bathroom is the final room to concentrate on. If you already sprayed it up before you started then your job is much easier, Quickly rinse over the surfaces you sprayed earlier and make sure none of them need a quick scrub. If they do then you have already made things easier for yourself with the spray. Straighten up any toiletries, make up and products that are out. If necessary grab a box or basket and temporarily relocate them till your guests have gone. Give the toilet a good scrub, put new soap on the sink (again, it makes you look like a good hostess!) and give the floor a good sweep and mop. Finally, spray some fragrance, shut the door and ban anyone from using the facilities till the guests have left 😉
You should now be ready for visitors. If you were truly in chaos before you did this then your house will probably look like it is ready for a tidy up and clean now, but you can pretend you didn’t have time to do it! Get changed out of your messy, sweaty clothes and enjoy your guests.
One good thing about a crisis clean up is that it gives you a place to start from to make some changes. When your guests leave your home should be fairly tidy and you will have some boxes or baskets that are full of items that were out-of-place. Tomorrow, start going through these boxes and putting things back in their proper homes. This will help you to get more organised and start to prevent you descending into chaos again.
To really prevent chaos from happening again (or at least try to) then you need to develop a regular cleaning plan. That is something that will only work when you develop it for yourself and make it fit your lifestyle and family. If things have got really difficult then it might even be worth getting a professional clean done as a one-off and then starting a plan that allows you to keep on top of it all. Next Thursdays post will be all about how to develop your own cleaning plan.
Happy crisis cleaning and have fun with your mother in law 😉