Tell me your last minute "uh oh, people are coming and house is a mess!" cleaning routine tips!

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AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Jul 22, 2020
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Just as the title says!

I used to be better at this, but that was when I was starting off with my own places that were basically clean and tidy the vast majority of the time, so whipping round to tidy up/clean the essentials when expecting company only took maybe an hour, max.

I also have a bad habit of getting sidetracked and hyper focusing on one specific random task and deep cleaning that thing/area/chore, wasting time, when it should really be more of a "do it quick and rough for today, deep clean that part another time. Have to just go for "presentable" this time" kind of thing. Bro needs instructions/specific requests, so I can't just give him a room to focus on, because that's too vague for him.

Plus, although I've tried to teach him the difference between "we're deep cleaning these window, sils, and curtains" and hyper-focusing on that job, or "we need to make this room as presentable as possible because people are due in an hour, tidy up quick, run round with a duster, then give it a good hoover and use some fabric freshener/room spray - don't get side tracked by deep cleaning one window for an hour when there isn't time for that right now" he's still learning the difference... and I'm not doing too well at making that distinction lately anymore either.

Especially because we've been moving things around and sorting stuff, to be collected by a charity (I had to delay the furniture collection the other day, so that stuff hasn't been collected yet) and deep cleaning some areas, just doing basics in others for now, and the whole house is old, worn, needs repairs, sanding right back and repainting, and how hard it is emotionally to deal with some parts, like my parents paperwork... the house is a constantly evolving mess. I've been doing things like digging my own stuff out of storage- because there wasn't room in the house for it before, not going from a whole flat to one tiny room, so some of my things were still like, in storage totes behind the fridge, but I knew some contained useful things we can use now, like my toolbox and decorating things, drill, sander, etc. So a lot of that stuff is out, but doesn't have a "home", a specific place it's kept, yet, because we still have more things my parents stored away that needs to be sorted through, organised, cleaned and either disposed of, donated, or kept. Then no organised home for the "keep" stuff either, since a lot of the furniture will be going, or moving rooms.

Depression and grief also sapping my motivation, and feeling overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that needs doing. Need some good inspo and tips!
When I got to someone’s house, the first thing I notice when I walk inside is any smells. So maybe light a candle or diffuse some essential oils. You can drop a little essential oil on things in your guest bathroom and make sure the sink and faucets are sparkling clean, clean the toilet bowl and floor in that guest bath.

Where will you be sitting with your guests? Kitchen and dining room? A little bit of bleach/water can clean your counters and that also leaves the smell of “clean”. Clear the table of anything you don’t need setting out. Maybe the family room? Run a vacuum in those rooms and if you keep lights low maybe you don’t have to do a super duper dusting job. Don’t let the guests wander around your whole house. People expect a place to look lived in.

When I go to a person’s house, I’m there to see the person, not inspect the tops of picture frames for dust, or look in the corners for dust bunnies. I’m not peeking in their shower to look for water stains. I’m really not paying attention to any of that stuff. Heck, if the weather is nice enough I’m happy to just sit outside. As long as I’ve got a place to sit, I’m happy, and often that is on the floor with the pets of the house. If you’ve got people coming over to criticize and scrutinize, maybe stop inviting those kinds of people over.

I know what you mean though. How can you vacuum just two rooms of the house when the bedrooms can use a good vacuum also (even though nobody is going into the bedrooms). Dusting surfaces turns to dusting window sills, picture frames, things up high that probably nobody will even see or notice.

Maybe an emergency call to a maid service, give them $125 or whatever and let it be done by two ladies blitzing the place. Spend your time relaxing in a bubble bath and running out to get some treats to serve to your guests. Then just breathe, and smile.

I hope some of this helps.
I hope some of this helps.

It does, thank you!

Fortunately, it's "only" my bestie of more than 2 decades coming, and he's the most understanding and least judgemental person ever. I know he won't judge me, or think anything bad. He also saw the house a couple of weeks ago, and had seen it plenty of times when my parents were still here. He knows what I'm up against, and is my biggest real life supporter and rock. He was here for the funeral two weeks ago and stayed for a couple of days.

He's back in my city for another funeral, sadly. Offered to come visit me after the funeral, and especially since his house is more than a three hour drive each way, I asked if he wanted to stay here overnight again, so he can rest and chill before facing the drive again tomorrow.

I know you US and Canadian folk are very used to driving huge distances, but we're not quite so used to it in the UK! So to us, that's a fair distance to have to go there and back in one day. Here it also means a lot of that time is spent negotiating traffic and narrow roads, in between boring motorways(freeways) and through/around cities, rather than much open countryside.

Plus it means I get more time with him if he stays overnight, rather than a quick visit where he's keeping an eye on his watch because he needs to get back in the car and head home. :)

So he'll see pretty much the whole house, I left bro to do kitchen and living room (and majority of washing up/kitchen stuff was bro's mess anyhow) since he's most familiar with having to prepare those rooms for company, while I cleaned the bathroom, my room, and the master bedroom where friend will be staying overnight. I'd forgotten just how much I can get done in an hour! Then still had another hour to do some finishing touches.

So while he's my bestie and won't judge, it's a personal pride thing. I can leave things to pile up when depressed, but otherwise, I'm pretty houseproud, and now in a house where it's impossible to be houseproud really, but want to at least make some effort for visitors and guests, and my bestie especially deserves the effort. :)❤️

I'm now taking a quick break to catch my breath and drink some water, then hitting the shower, he's due in around a half hour, maybe hour and a half, depending on how long he stays at the wake. Plenty of time either way for me to shower, dry and dress.
Yep prioritize, rooms that guests will see and rooms they won’t, and concentrate on the rooms they will be in… they used to say if you are having an open house, to bake a loaf of bread, or a batch of cookies, to make the house smell inviting… a quick swish around for cob webs and a quick trip around with the vacuum…
BTW… I don’t bake cookies, but keep some of those plug in air fresheners on hand that smell like sugar cookies 😉
Agree with the the windows to let fresh air in, make sure bog is clean, close all doors that won't be occupied, any junk or stuff that doesn't belong in the room in a box/tub and then put behind a closed door to deal with later, damp cloth over surfaces to pick up the dust, quick hoover and a squirt of air freshener...Bob's your Uncle
Glad I cleaned, did some maintenance on, and W/C'ed both tanks yesterday, so they're looking their best anyway!

Parrots had a shower and their cages cleaned the day before that, but they can make a mess pretty quickly.

Pixie had a thorough bath after getting thoroughly muddy last week, so she's reasonable clean and pretty, as far as Spaniels in winter go. But we had some real snow settle overnight and in the early hours this morning, so she's been having a wonderful time playing in the snow (which has mostly melted now thanks to yet more rain) so she and the cat have been leaving muddy paw prints everywhere. Flaming cat isn't even ours! Has just moved herself in, ha. She's cute though.
Friend just texted apologies and said is it okay to come over a bit later (about 2 hours from now), since he's at a wake, kinda hard to judge when's the best time to leave, which of course I said is fine, and I'd already said he could stay there as late as he likes, and will have a bed here no matter how late anyway.

Kind of nice, because the essentials are done, I'm bathed and clean, and can now get Pix out for a walk and get her cleaned up again before he's due to arrive. Hopefully. So long as she doesn't get quite so muddy as the other day and need another bath, and another bathroom clean down and shower for me! I'll just have to discourage her from puddles today...
A friend will accept the apology- "Sorry for the mess." This is sometimes easier than trying to get it all clean. Just putting a bunch of stuff away and making sure the house doesn't smell is enough. Often we do not air out our home during the colder months. Sometimes that can help.

Also, there is a difference between disarray and dirt.

When you walk the dog and both of you get muddy, bathe together to save time. WOOF!
When you walk the dog and both of you get muddy, bathe together to save time. WOOF!

I've seriously considered doing this!! I might try next time in fact, since last week she decided to jump out, without the usual "I'm getting restless and thinking of jumping" body language, as I was working more shampoo into her back legs and tail. So her front half and entire body had lots of shampoo worked throughout her coat and she was very slippery....

Scared me, since she's 11 now and has some arthritis, so I don't want her making big leaps like that, plus she knocked over the wooden laundry bin and landed half on the laundry bin, half between me and the bath as I tried to catch her and break her fall. So I was all motherly, scolding her for doing something silly and dangerous, but also cooing over her and trying to check she was alright and hadn't broken a leg or something. Then had to lift her back into the bath while all soapy and slippery, and she's not exactly light.

Any bath with a dog I've ever done leads to you also getting wet (and muddy, if the dog is muddy). Impossible to avoid. I was already muddy from the walk, wet from the dog getting wet and shaking, plus leaning over the bath to wash her properly, so this time I just added "soapy" to the usual mess! Bathroom is also always a mess after a dog bath. Hair, water and mud gets everywhere when they shake, getting them in and out, muddy tails swipe the walls everywhere on the way to the bathroom...

Next time, I might get a non-shedding or at least short haired dog, or breeds that don't LOVE diving through every muddle puddle they find!

Shame Spaniels and Collies have my heart though ;)
I learned quite early on that closets and under the bed can store 99% of my mess😂 the missus is adamantly against my ideals but she never complained when we 1st began dating..I've been told that men aren't capable of understanding what a truly clean house is and she was dead serious when she told me this. I tried my best not to laugh, I swear

Agree with the sentiment that common areas and especially the bathroom should be the focus and of course real friends arent the cleanliness police.
Yes , what @Aqua67 said about “smells” . A guy can overlook almost anything but certain smells , aromas , odors and flatulent remnants turn everybody off .

Well, fortunately, we all know ladies do not produce such foul miasmas.

Thanks for the reminder tips and reminders to keep calm and carry on! Just helped motivate me and triple check my own executive functioning, lol.

Shame Will couldn't stay long this time, but he did notice that we'd done a lot, even though there's still so much to do. It's like you can't see it when you see it daily - like when we're setting up a new tank, and the plant growth feels so slow when you're looking at it daily, but take photos a week apart, and you can really see the difference? It's a bit like that.

It's a three bed house with several generations of belongings that had been carefully stored, or displayed. Collections of music on all the different formats, ditti films - and tons of books in every room, since whole family have been bibliophiles pretty much since birth. Mum has things saved from her own parents (and possibly grandparents), and the loved, cherished and used items have been gradually hidden, blocked, or intertwined with knick knacks and other dust collectors, carpeting wall painting impossible for decades.. and a generation taught to waste not, want not. Neither parent was a hoarder, didn't save rubbish or anything like that. But they were raised to save old clothes for ragging, and have a junk drawer full of thingibobs.

There's a lot to be said for that. Especially for someone like my dad, who wasn't a skilled painter and decorator, but could and would make some lovely things like the pond, and could take on most home repair tasks or basic carpentry. So I don't want to just chuck his things full of recycled nails sorted into sizes, or the random old tools that are rusty, but still work. Epecially since we had a storm the other day that took down two panels of the already struggling garden fence, and I had to find a hammer and nails, rob some spare wood from a broken down bookcase, and bodge a repair job on it. It's not the prettiest fencing in the street, but it should hold us over until something better can be done.

Anyway, I'm waffling and procrastinating! Shame Will had to leave pretty early, and was down here for yet another funeral. But we're making plans for a more fun weekend visit soon. Then because we'd caught up on most of the housework before he arrived, I've been feeling more motivated to carry on with the rest.

I remembered dad had stored some sturdy cardboard boxes behind the sofa, needed some, so dusted them down and now packing away mum's breakable items from the living room that I want to keep, at least for now. And writing down/labelling what's in each box. Just realised that some items like the 70s glassware set I'm about to pack, I should grab a couple of photos first, find out if they're of any worth to a collector. Of course, I'm not selling anything yet, it would be all recorded in probate. But better to take the photos before wrapping everything in newspaper and storing it in boxes. :)

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