Short Notice Guests: The Emergency Clean

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Imagine you’re comfortably reading or baking cookies or house cleaning when you get an unexpected phone call from a friend saying they’re on their way to your house. You turn slowly and look around the room, and what you notice are all the things you wish you would have picked up earlier.

Before panic creeps in, take a deep breath and remember a few things: first of all, your house is probably not as messy as you perceive it to be, especially if you clean often or have maid services coming frequently. Secondly, if you know how to narrow it down to the important things, you probably have enough time to get the front of your house looking more than acceptable.

The Emergency Clean Priority List

The first thing to address is which room to start in, and it’s mostly common sense: start with the room attached to the front door. If your friend is only coming for a quick visit, they might not even leave that room.

Start in that room and work your way down the priority list below. When that room is clear, move onto the next closest and keep going until the front of your house is shipshape or your company arrives.

Priority #1: Trash

Garbage is an indicator of mess, you can’t possibly get around it. This has to be the first thing you deal with. Whether it’s the coupons you were cutting, the crafting odds and ends you left sitting on the table last night, or candy wrappers from the most recent sweet tooth attack, get to the trash first. Bag it up, get it out of the room, and keep going!

Priority #2: Clothes

Clothes have a tendency to lay around and not help at all with the house cleaning. If you’ve left your coats hanging over the back of a chair or your sweater laying on the table, go ahead and hang them up and get the clothes out of the way.

Priority #3: Toys

If you have children, you have seen the devastation wrought by a room full of toys. Thankfully, though they make a room look messy, they are fairly easy to clean. If you have a small toy bin or bucket, walk around the room putting all the toys in before taking them to your children’s rooms.

Priority #4: Things That Don’t Belong

Get a bin or bag and walk around the room looking for anything that has migrated from another room. When you don’t see anything else out of place, take the bin around and put the items in their rightful places.

Priority #5: Vacuum or Sweep

If there’s nothing that draws someone’s attention in a room, they’re highly likely to look at the floor, so a quick vacuum or sweep can make a huge difference in how clean the room looks.

Remember this, too: “If you want to see the house, call ahead. If you want to see me, come on over!” Your friend should realize they’ve given you short notice and not hold any cleaning oversights against you—they’re there to see you, not your house!

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