Raise your hand if your house is company ready clean, all the time.
If you raised your hand, you can stop reading this post and go back to your bon bons, k?
For the rest of you, is this a little bit more familiar?
And how many of you, when doing a big deep cleaning, have kids who demand to know who's coming over?
Back when I had two under two, I had to drop something off to another mom/friend pretty early in the morning. Every time I visited before, her house was always pristine. She opened the door a crack and held out her hand for my delivery but I could still into her living room.
It looked like my living room. Like a toy store had exploded. And the sounds escaping her house? It was clear that mom was distracted and all heck was breaking loose.
Another time, my sitter canceled and a different friend who always had a clean house said she could babysit but warned it was laundry day.
Oh. My. Gosh.
It was like a laundry mat EXPLODED in her living room. Piles of clothes everywhere.
And did I judge? You betcha! I had judged and found her worthy of my friendship.
That's when I finally realized you had friends you cleaned up for, and friends you let see how you really live, complete with playdough stuck to the walls.
But, this post isn't really about that. It's about how to really maximize those 10 minutes you spend trying to convince your guest you really do have a sparkling house all the time.
1. Designate a Disaster Room/Closet We've named ours the Closet of Doom. Also known as "Please do not open that door!" Many of my friends have one. It's a very well kept secret. That extra bedroom you claim is a "guest" room... yeah it's your Shove the Junk in there Real Quick Room.
2. Keep the view from the front door clean This trick comes in handy for those who aren't really gaining entrance to the house. Just let them see enough that it looks clean from where they stand. We do this with our backyard. When the weeds start to grow a bit too high and The Boy hasn't mowed, I send the little ones out to pull weeds in the section visible from the street...just to make sure we're not given a citation from the city.
3. Company Couch Cushions Have one side of the couch cushions for family. The other side from company. The company side is the one without the stains and spills. When the guests leave, simply flip the cushions back to the family side.
4. The Emergency Tub Kids rooms giving you trouble? Place a large lidded rubber tub in each room. When you get the 10 minute warning of guests, throw everything from the floors and flat surfaces into the tub and snap the lid shut. Be sure to go through the bin later. This tip was given to me by a realtor in how to keep a house ready for showings when you have kids.
5. The Tub in an Emergency Ahhh the unconventional storage places. A good friend recently confessed that at a recent party she hosted, she had a pile of stuff and not enough time. It went into her dryer. Don't underestimate the power of stuffing things in places they don't belong and you are 100 percent sure where no one will look. At our house, I have the old pack' n 'play in my room...it's usually full of several loads of laundry that needs folding. So, I cover it with fabric and pretend it's a table. Out of sight, out of mind.
6. If it smells clean, it is clean! Once you've successfully hidden everything, swept and well...let's face it, thought about dusting but never gotten around to it, the final fake out cleaning trick is to spray stinky cleaners near the front door and give them a quick wipe. Then, spray an air freshener. You need to live just a hint of disinfectant cleaner so they are aware the house has been cleaned, but enough air freshener to make it look like you're trying to disguise the smell as a courtesy to your guests.
OK, now you all know my "dirty" little secrets...share yours... please. ;)
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