Three different times this week, we had unexpected guests come to our home.
No 30 minute warnings. No “Can I stop by?”
One gave us a phone call 3 minutes before showing up. One of the guests just rang the doorbell. We happened to see another guest getting out of their car, and we were able to get in a 10-second speed clean.
However, because the hubster and I have implemented some daily routines and practices, these surprise visits weren’t total embarrassments. Within the times given, we are able to straighten our house and prepare for guests.
If you want that to be your case, as well, then you need to also do these daily practices.
You might say that you don’t have time to put these practices into place. As I heard once, are you “too busy chasing cows that you can’t build a fence”? Take the time to build the fence, and the cows will take care of themselves with much less maintenance.
Also keep in mind that I have several young kids, so there are pleeeeenty of messes every single day in my home.
1. A place for everything, and everything in its place.
Growing up, I heard this phrase a lot from my mom. I can’t stress enough how important this is. You need to know where things go, and if you don’t, you need to figure out where it goes. Not only do you save yourself the hassle of finding items that you’ve lost (because you don’t lose them), but you also make the clean-up process easy and efficient.
You know where the keys go when you come home from work.
You’re not wondering where to put that water bill, or those baby clothes, or the frying pan, or the crayons.
You know exactly where to put that board book, because all of the board books go in that certain drawer.
Speedy clean up is easier because you don’t have to think about where to put things away. If you don’t have a place for everything, “speedy” clean up usually just ends up as “Dump everything into a closet so the guests can’t see it” clean up. You end up making more messes than you started out with.
Have a place for everything, and quick clean ups won’t make more work for you later.
2. Have a clean sink every night, & make your bed every morning.
A clean sink is a fresh start. If you don’t wake up to a clean sink, then:
1. You might wake up to ants. Haha.
2. You start the day with catch-up cleaning.
3. You are less likely to make a good breakfast if you have to clean the dishes to use them.
4. You probably don’t have time to clean them if guests show up.
If you do wake up to a clean sink, then:
1. You can rinse the breakfast dishes right after breakfast, and stick them in the dishwasher. No sink pile-up. No dirty counter.
2. You will be prepared for that guest who decides that it’s appropriate to waltz their unannounced gift right into the kitchen area.
Making your bed:
1. Makes you less likely to crawl back in.
2. Starts your day off with a successful task. It gives you a little motivation to do more in your day.
3. Creates a feeling of order. Beds are pretty big. A messy bed can make a huge visual difference in your bedroom, unnecessarily.
4. On the way to our bathroom, guests have a good view of our master bedroom. Making our bed makes a difference in the atmosphere of our room.
If you need extra encouragement to make your bed, watch this cool video by Admiral William McRaven.
3. Maintain, don’t make up.
This goes for dishes especially (it’s a billion times easier to clean the dish right away instead of waiting until the food is hardened on), but can apply to everything.
Don’t leave your clothes on the floor. Put away your clothes every night. Don’t wait until the end of the week when you can’t remember whether it’s clean or dirty.
Vacuum and sweep the floor daily. If you have small children, daily mopping also might be necessary. I’m looking at you, yogurt. Nothing is grosser than a week of unswept, un-mopped floor, right under where toddlers eat.
4. Small chores, frequently.
I have this little chart for cleaning the bathroom (that I never use, but I have it hahaha) that lays out a different chore that matches the first letter for each day of the week. Here it is:
S- Sit back, it’s a free day!
Isn’t it just a little bit cute?
It’s less physically and mentally draining to do a little bit each day. Plus, your house is constantly prepared for guests.
Doing dishes every meal makes it so that you always have a clean sink.
Quickly wipe down the bathroom with a Clorox wipe every day.
Pick up the kid’s toys 2 or 3 times a day, so that there isn’t a tornado zone you have to deal with at night.
Laundry is much easier when you don’t let it build up. Doing one load every day or two is much easier than doing 4 or 5 loads at the end of the week. Folding it right away is less stressful than waiting until you have 3 laundry baskets full of tiny (and annoying) baby clothes to fold.
5. Get your family on board.
You do not want to be doing this by yourself. If your motto is, “Daily cleaning!” And their motto is, “Daily dumping!” then you’re going to either spend all of your time nagging or feeling frustrated. Or both. And nobody wants to live like that.
Your family (or roommates, or whoever is living in your home) need to be on the same page with you. You might have to give and take a little, in order to have some cooperation. Don’t impose anything impossible. Take baby steps. But seriously communicate about it.
I feel beyond blessed that my husband is totally on the same page as me. We aren’t clean freaks by any standard, but we like having a consistently tidy home, and that requires work and combined effort from everyone.
We work together, we try to be consistent, and we have a definite cleaning/organizing system set in place.
Because of that, we are almost constantly prepared for guests, and we are rarely embarrassed by the messes that come from ordinary living.