Have you ever flat out refused to have people over because of your messy house? Do you always look for ways to meet up with people outside your home because you'd be too embarrassed to have people see how you live? If this rings true for you, I want to challenge you to push through this fear and let go of your perfectionism that is telling you everything has to be "just so." People are far less judgy then you think and good relationships are worth being a little uncomfortable for. (One of the key indicators of happiness is connecting regularly with other people.)
So the next time someone announces they are going to drop by “in a bit” and your blood runs cold thinking of the mess before you, don’t sweat it. I’ve got you covered.
Let's go for GOOD ENOUGH. Clear out the main areas of your home where you and your guest(s) will hang out and forget the rest of the house. Seriously.
Don't let a mess get between you and your happiness.
With these few tried and true steps, you can relax knowing your house will presentable in 40 minutes flat. Just stick to the plan and don’t worry about the detail cleaning! We are going for PRESENTABLE not PERFECT.
Let's do this!
FIRST THINGS FIRST. Set yourself up:
1) Put on some music
2) Use a timer on your microwave, oven or phone (but only if you won't be tempted to check other things)
3) Put your phone on airplane mode; turn off your tv
4) Do not check Facebook, text messages, email, etc.!! That can be your reward when you are done or after your guest leaves!
Your guests will probably hang out in your kitchen, your living room and may need to use your guest bathroom. These are the areas of FOCUS. If you have any extra time AFTER you’ve completed these areas, you can work on a few other areas that will make your house look even more polished (those tasks are at the bottom of this post).
(EACH TASK HAS AN ASSIGNED TIME LIMIT. TRY TO STICK TO THAT NUMBER EVEN IF YOU FEEL LIKE IT'S NOT ENOUGH. PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION!!)
PART ONE: THE KITCHEN. Total cleaning time 20 minutes
Always work from left to right and top to bottom in any room you are cleaning/straightening. This is a massive time saver and will help you stay focused on the task at hand. Put your blinders on and don’t worry about the details. Just keep moving! This is not the time to rearrange your stuff, deep clean your counters or decide you need to swap out decor.
Put dishes in the dishwasher or a sink full of hot soapy water. (4 minutes)
Put away any food that is on the counters. (This makes a massive difference!) (3 minutes)
Spray your counter tops with all purpose cleaner, let the spray do its magic for 2-3 minutes then wipe your counters dry (do not worry about the details just some quick swipes of all the flat surfaces will do) (4 minutes)
SIDENOTE: I love the less chemical laden and more natural cleaners I get delivered to my door each month from subscription service The Grove. Check them out here and get $10 off your first purchase. I've been using them for over a year and loooooove my subscription. #cleaningnerd #allaboutthefreshsmellingstuff
If you have a kitchen table and usually sit there with company, be sure to spend an extra 2 minutes making sure it’s nice a clean. (3 minutes)
Gather all trash/recycling and take outside, then replace garbage bag (4 minutes)
Sweep the main crumbs up off the floor. (1 minute)
Put out fresh dish towels. (1 minute)
PART TWO: THE LIVING ROOM/DEN. Total cleaning time 10 minutes
Gather up coffee mugs/glasses/dishes and put in kitchen sink. (2 min)
Put loose papers, newspapers, magazines, books etc. in one pile, ideally in a basket or tray (2 minutes)
Refold couch throw blankets and fluff pillows (3 minutes)
Pick up anything on the floor and toss into a basket or bag (SORT THESE LATER) (2 minutes)
Spray a touch of all purpose cleaner on a rag/paper towel -- I love this one --and wipe end tables and coffee table (1 minute)
PART THREE: THE GUEST/MAIN BATHROOM: Total cleaning time 10 minutes
Gather up all wet, used towels and toss in laundry baskets. Put out 1-2 fresh towels. (3 minutes)
Put away anything on the counters (even if you usually leave stuff out). Fresh clean surfaces look far tidier than items left out. (2 minutes)
Grab some glass cleaner and spray the mirror at eye level (don’t clean the whole mirror unless it’s pretty small), then spray the counter and sink, then spray down the toilet lifting up the lid and seat and floor around the toilet. (30 seconds)
Fold a cleaning rag/2-3 paper towels in half and then into quarters. Following the same pattern that you sprayed the glass cleaner, wipe down the mirror, then the counter, then the sink using an "S" pattern (buffing in circles spreads the dirt around instead of lifting it up and off). Use a fresh quarter of your rag/paper towels as you move on to the next surface so you always have a clean section of rag to work with. Finally, wipe the toilet down starting with the tank, then the lid, then the seat and finally the floor. Give the toilet a quick swish with your toilet brush and toss the used rag in the laundry or trash if you’ve use paper towels. (4 minutes 30 seconds)
Take out the trash as you leave the room. (1 minute)
Total time spent: 40 minutes
WHEW!!! I know I had you hustling there but 40 minutes of focused work can make your whole home feel freshened up and tidy(er).
How do I know that this takes 40 minutes? Because I've timed myself! Yup, sometimes I need a kick in the rear too so I created my own plan to follow myself. :)
If you have a few extra minutes, these next few tasks make a big impact with very little effort:
Open two windows (regardless of the weather) for at least 5 minutes. Ideally, opening two windows on opposite sides of a room to create a nice cross breeze. Fresh air makes everything smell and feel cleaner.
Sweep the kitchen (5 minutes)
Do Just The Basics vacuum of the living room (5 minutes)
Spray your front door/s with some cleaner and wipe up the smudges and fingerprints (3 minutes)
Sweep your porch (3 minutes)
Toss any dead/dying plants or floral arrangements (3 minutes)
Add a bowl of fresh fruit to your kitchen counter (2 minutes)
Put on some fun music (3 minutes)
SMELL: A fresh smelling scent can fool us into thinking a space is cleaner than it is! Try one of these quick tips:
Light a softly scented candle (being mindful that some people are sensitive to strong smells
Put a few drops of your favorite essential oils in your aromatherapy diffuser. Here are some of my absolute favorite combinations to diffuse:
Minty Clean: Lemon + Peppermint (5 drops each)
Spa Zone: Eucalyptus + Lavender (5 drops each) (smells like a spa treatment!)
Connect + Relax: Lavender + Rosemary (5 drops each)
Warm + Cozy: Orange + Clove (5 drops each)
Clean Home: Lemon + Lavender (5 drops each)
Use your favorite!
That's it! I hope you take me up on my challenge and push yourself a bit to have people over if you don't normally do that. Leave a comment below and tell me how it goes.
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