You’ve just gotten a call from your boss/mother-in-law/grandmother, who tells you that she’ll be dropping by in about twenty minutes with something for you. The house is chaos. What do you do? Whatever you choose to clean up in those frantic few minutes definitely depends on what goes on in your house and the places you care about people seeing, so it’s different for everyone and every house. I’m always curious as to what it is people care about.
For me, I tend to focus on the areas that I know my guest will be visiting, and that is anything on the main floor, for the most part. My first trip is into the bathroom, where I give the sink a quick wipe to make sure there’s no paint or other weird stuff in there (in our house you would be surprised what ends up in our sinks).
I also wipe any splash marks off the mirror. I find it handy to keep a set of cleaning supplies in each bathroom to make this quicker.
And then I replace the hand towel.
I give the toilet a once over and a quick scrub if necessary (I try to clean the bathroom once a week so usually this is not a problem). I also quickly run upstairs and give the bathroom there a good once-over if necessary – you never know when your guest will have to foray upstairs when nature calls.
While I’m up here I make sure my bed is made and that any areas of our office and bedroom that you can see from the hallway are clear. In our house in St. John’s the bedroom was the first place guests saw when they entered our house (the doorway faced the top of the stairs to our entryway) so it was key to make the first impression a good one.
It helps to close closets and cupboards as well. Especially if you’ve just chucked a bunch of things in there haphazardly.
Back downstairs. In my kitchen there are generally dishes piled in my sink, but as long as they’re clean dishes I don’t care – I figure people will automatically assume I’ve been doing something fantastic and delicious so it’s not a problem for me. I give the counters a quick swipe and I’m done in here.
The main living/dining room is always slightly disheveled because this is where we do most of our functioning. So I try to straighten the blankets on Gren’s couch (hard to do these days with Indy chewing on the fringe that dangles).
I also try to sweep the majority of things off our dining room table. We don’t have a proper entryway in this house and the dining table is the real landing strip in the house. Plus it’s a great surface for working on projects. So it tends to look like this most of the time. I at least try to make it look relatively tidy, and clear away any personal or confidential documents.
Do I worry about vacuuming? Let me tell you something: if I vacuum for you, then we’re not friends. I have two dogs. Deal with it.
So what do you do when you are trying to tidy your abode in twenty minutes or less?