When guests come to your house do you spend all your time telling them to ignore how dirty your house is and how it looks like something exploded? Do you make up excuses like, "well, I've been gone all day and the kids and the dogs and the hubband and the tornado made this mess..." or do you have even better excuses up your sleeve? Flylady calls it CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome) and I think sometimes, that's what it is. The rest of the time, it's really not that big of a deal.
Just yesterday a friend said she was coming over for a quick visit with her sister who really wanted to see our baby, er, toddler, er, manchild. I had not been expecting company and thought to myself automatically, "Oh no! My house is a Disaster with a capital Saster!!" I immediately switched over to emergency clean up duty and realized that in less than ten minutes, my house was looking better than just presentable. It was looking really clean! Apparently, I have some tricks up my sleeve that just might help you out in a pinch.
I don't know about you but when the pillows on the sofa are straightened up and neat then the whole room looks much tidier. I just grab and throw them where I like them and make sure to toss any throw blankets, baby blankets, toys, etc. into their appropriate homes. (This might be where you realize that you need somewhere to stash these things that looks nice. Get a big pretty basket from HoLo. They're only $20 on sale and they are big enough to throw toys and blankets in.)
2. The Island:
What is it about kitchens that draws people in? Food? It's probably food. That's what draws me in. Or sweet tea. That's it. We tend to offer our guests beverages and then they follow us into the kitchen and whammo. They see the crazyness. We have a huge island that is always full of stuffjunktrashmailbagscupsfruit, etc. I make a neat pile of the papery junk and move it off the island and corral the fruit or other weird stuff that sometimes lives there together on a cutting board or a placemat or a bowl. Even if those things don't really go together, it looks organized. Put your dirty dishes in the sink. If you have more than ten minutes, throw them all in the dishwasher. If not, move on. Having a big focal area look clean makes the rest of the mess dissipate. It's like magic.
3. The Bathroom:
Eeek! What if my guest needs to powder her nose? I don't clean anything. I might maybe swish the brush around the toilet if it looks really funky. And I might wipe out the toothpaste with a wipey. You know, if someone even remembered to brush his teeth and left a mess. Right now he spends his time eating his toothpaste. It tastes like Elmo. Mmmmm.
Turn off your overhead and turn on a lamp. I always always always open the blinds/curtains all the way when people come over. I figure if nothing else, they can notice my grass needs mowing (and I can blame that on someone else or the weather) and not my dustbunnies, who have hopefully scattered and are hiding quietly under the couch where they belong. Everything looks cleaner with light. I know that doesn't make sense, but it works.
5. Take a Deep Breath:
If it's stinky or funky or doesn't smell like brownies or clean laundry or an ocean of febreeze, do something about it. I cannot tell you the number of times my hubband has come home and said, "Wow! It's really clean in here!" Mostly I can't tell you that because he never says that. Just kidding. He's said it before. But I make myself forget it so that when he asks me how I managed to clean all day and care for our baby I can't lie. The secret is in the smell. If your house smells like baked goods or clean laundry or febreeze, you are more than golden. It's the easiest thing. If you see someone climbing out of their car run and spray something in the public rooms. Twist your ankle because you are running so fast. Then your guest will say how amazing you are for having such a clean home even when you're injured. I've found that those three smells are always safe. Please don't let your house smell like a giant jar of grape jelly or some super super strong flower, unless your house is really a florist shop.
That's it folks. Try it next time. Heck, try it today on your spouse and see what happens. Perhaps he'll reward you with some pearls so you can clean all June Cleaver style. Or maybe he'll rub your feet because he thinks you've been up and busy all day long. Maybe he'll just throw praise or money at you because of your super awesomeness. Hey, it could happen.