This post is from contributor, Monica Heffner
The holidays are here, and along with them come company. I don’t usually have the time to clean. Does anyone?
There was a day when I had fewer children and we were not homeschooling, and I could spend a full day cleaning and preparing for company. Not anymore. Now I am amazed if I can get a two or three hour block to clean. Out of necessity, I have devised a three step plan to get the house presentable in small chunks of time. If necessary, I have even broken it up into an hour a day.
Here are my go-to tips and the plan I use:
Step one: Remove clutter. If there are rooms that will not be used, I don’t waste time de-cluttering them. Be careful not to get caught up organizing the clutter as you most likely don’t have time for this. Instead, I go to each room and move any piles of “junk” to a place that will not be used. I don’t worry at this point about removing the things we use daily, as they will just reappear anyway.
Step two: Clean. I spend time cleaning my bathrooms, kitchen, floors, wiping surface areas, and dusting. Even though these areas will likely become messy again before the company arrives, I can just spot-clean before they arrive if necessary. This takes less time on arrival day yet still presents a nice clean.
Step three: Touch-up. Just before company arrives I check over my floors, straighten each room being used, pick up anything, clean all the dishes, and make sure all rooms are in order.
Step four: Create your atmosphere. My last step is to set out any decorations or candles being used.
Focus on the necessary. If your company is just for a day or a few hours, close off the areas of your house that will not need to be used (bedrooms, the upstairs, basements, bonus rooms, etc.). Don’t spend time working in these areas. Spend your time in the rooms that will be used and kindly ask that children and others remain in those places.
Use a timer. It’s easy to lose track of time when you start cleaning. To make sure you get all your work completed, set an amount of time that you will spend in each area and stick to it. Otherwise, you will get too focused on one place or a specific task and not be ready on time.
Work while the kids sleep. There is nothing like cleaning, only to have someone following behind you messing it up. Take advantage of the time after your children are in bed or while they nap.
Step back. Often, I am so used to looking at the same mess, stain, or spiderweb that I don’t notice it. It is important to take a few moments in each room and view it with “new eyes.” Look for fingerprints on appliances, spiderwebs, food splatters on walls and cabinets, and dust in places you forgot but others will notice.
Don’t obsess. While it’s good to want a clean house, remember your visitors are here to visit you and not your house. Do what you can and let it go.