Cleaning Quick Tip: Panic Cleaning

Your neat freak mother in-law, will be here in half an hour and being a busy, creative, productive person, your home looks like a bomb went off. What do you do?

Well, now, that’s not really appropriate if children are present.

The last time this happened to me, it was baking day, plus planting my spring seed flats and contemplating a spinning project. Wool everywhere.

Take a deep breath, ’cause here we go.

1. Weather permitting, open two opposing windows to create a wind tunnel effect, the bottom of one window and the top of the other will help create chimney effect to pull some mystery odors out and fresh air in. While you do this….

2. Send little ones to scavenge for dishes and glasses in weird spots. Yes, you were raised better that that, but it happens. Make it a game.

3. Start the dishes soaking in the sink or put them in the dishwasher, if you have one.

4. Bathroom next, because she always seems to need it during a visit and you don’t get to go in there with her to distract her attention.

Spray they sink, tub and or shower stall with cleaner.

Squirt the toilet stuff in the toilet bowl around the rim. Let everything soak, while you keep moving.

Grab all dirty laundry and towels and at least put them in a hamper, laundry basket.

5. Now work in from whatever door is her usual point of entry.

Keep little kids occupied by running little things like their shoes to their room. Bigger kids should grab a box and fill it with anything that belongs in their room.

Use a few boxes or crates, for example one for stuff that belongs upstairs and one for stuff that belongs on this floor.

6. About 10 minutes before her ETA make a pot of coffee. It doesn’t matter if anyone will drink it or not. The powerful smell of coffee is homey and hides a multitude of cleaning sins, like the odd odor coming from the heating vent where your three year old decided to store a cheese sandwich last week.

7. Work on the room where she will sit and visit. Focus on the view she will have entering the room and sitting down.

8. If by some miracle there is time left, run the vacuum over the most obvious bad areas. Try to get some dishes done.

9. Leave the bathroom for last.

If you absolutely must …. answer the door and excuse yourself. Very quickly, swab the already soaking toilet, wipe out the sink and anything obviously wrong with an exposed tub. Don’t take more than a moment or she’ll start looking around.

10. Take a deep breath and enjoy your visit. Her opinion is just that. Hers. This is your home and how you choose to keep it is your own business. Remember she is from a different generation that had very different priorities sometimes.

Oh yeah, better close those windows as she pulls up.

Remember at least she cares enough to visit.

Good luck, soldier.

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Published in: on March 24, 2009 at 11:20 am  Comments (10)  
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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I tend to believe if a person is coming to see me, then they have to over look what I do not have in its place, but as women we do like our homes to be presentable. Thanks again for the wonderful advice. http://www.laundryhamperdesign.com/products

  2. [...] Have you ever had 30 minutes before someone important (say, your mother in law?) will be at your house? They hadn’t bothered to make an appointment a week ahead, so you could clean up a bit before they arrived? Instead they were ‘just in the neighborhood’ thought they’d give you a call and drop by? This advice will help you clean up quickly! [...]

  3. [...] we have a Quick Cleaning Tip: Panic Cleaning from Recession Depression Therapy. They have some very helpful tips for cleaning when you are in a [...]

  4. Great idea! Often I do the same thing, except during busy gardening times. Then… well…ya know.
    Have a blueberry muffin for the nice busy person’s tip.

  5. So nice to know I’m not the only domestic-goddess-challenged woman out there. I’d much rather be tapping away on this ‘puter. :) I have managed to wrangle myself into something of a rotation, though, where I start with a room (and it’s adjoining bathroom)at one end of the house, clean it, and work my way a room per day through the house throughout the week. Nothing is ever clean all at once, but at least one thing is always clean.

  6. lol
    I’m afraid there is a growing band of panic cleaners running loose. What would my mother-in-law say?
    Tsk tsk tsk.
    I’ll tell you what, if I had a camera at all, there would be way more photos on this blog. I like to think of myself as dial-up friendly.
    BTW, I have a 2500 sq ft of soybean that I want to turn into candles. Get writtin’, kid.

  7. Do you have a camera at my house? ;)
    I do this too!

  8. Oh, it is so good to know I’m not alone.
    (Neighbor Nancy hands you a warm lemon poppy seed muffins of solidarity)

  9. boy am I going to bookmark this one! thanks neighbor nancy!

  10. LOL..I loved this! Very good advice and exactly what I do when my mom comes.


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