I had just got a phone call from my mother in law to inform me that she’s “popping by for a quick minute” to drop off something for my son.
I am – of course – in a state of panic because I’ve barely had my coffee and my house is trashed. Toys and construction paper everywhere, last nights dinner dishes in the sink, garbage needs to go out, and as I’m hanging up the phone a clump of cat hair rolls across the floor.
I have 10 minutes to make this house perfect or my mother in law is going to believe that her son is married to a slob.
I run into the kitchen and simply place the dinner dishes in the dishwasher with clean dishes and slam the door shut. As I’m doing this I’m telling my son to clean up his mess in the living room, to which he responds with, “no.”
Great thanks kid, so glad to know you are on my side here.
“Mommy is going to vacuum up all your paper and toys, pick them up.” I say as I grab my vacuum that is nothing like the monstrous machines our parents had that actually could suck up everything making the threat valid.
My son instead runs to his room, grabs his toy Dyson vacuum, and comes to “help” mommy vacuum. Thanks kid, thanks.
So as I’m quickly vacuuming I’m also picking up construction paper and pushing blocks out of the way with my foot. Of course in the process I feel my back muscles strain and pull and I know I’m going to need to take some Ibuprofen, both because of my back and because of my mother in law.
Did this actually happen? No, because I am not this person. I refuse to be that daughter in law.
My husband knows he married someone who cleans according to her own timeline and if he wants something done faster, he can do it himself. He’s also not going to put up with his mom talking bad about me.
However, I recognize this panic because I saw this in my own mother and every mom I knew growing up. Even my friends moms would suddenly scream, “clean this mess up now, Grandma is coming.” The tone and fear in the voice made even me – a guest in the home – clean up.
As my friends mom would say, “Oh sweetie I didn’t mean you,” I would say, “it’s ok Mrs. Smith, I’m happy to help.” Maybe this is why friends moms loved having me over.
Here’s the thing, anyone coming over to your home does not have a right to judge you or the way you keep your home. They don’t live there.
Your mother in law wouldn’t know that dinner dishes waited because, for the first time in weeks, your kid fell asleep early so you and your husband took an impromptu date night at home.
She wouldn’t know that there was cat fur on the floor because it’s Spring and your cats shed a lot of fur in the Spring. Even if you vacuum daily an hour later there will be a clump of hair somewhere.
I refuse to live my life in constant fear that someone just might drop by and see that our house is actually lived in, you shouldn’t live like that either.
However, you are not me. I realize that societal expectations that a woman must keep a clean home are heavy, and some of us bare that burden. So, I’m going to give you some quick tips to faking a clean home and chores that you can do in ten minutes or less.
Fake It Till You Make It
I am the queen of faking a clean house. I can hide my clutter away almost as fast as my kid can make a mess.
Thanks to great storage furniture faking a clean home is easier than ever. Simply toss all the toys, papers, and anything else in these pieces of furniture and boom, clean room.
Fabric baskets make it really easy to clean up toys and then just toss them back on a shelf in my kids room. You don’t even need to have the baskets organized based on type of toy. Your kid is just going to have the disorganized again within the week.
When all else fails it could be easier to just build a fort. Grab that clean top sheet out of your linen closet set up chairs and build a fort. You were so busy playing with your kids and making a mess on purpose no one will blame you for any other mess in the home.
The added bonus to the fort in the living room idea is, you can skip cleaning that day because there is a fort and your kid loves the fort.
Make It Look Like Cleaning Day
This is a fantastic tip especially if the person coming over is a mother in law or another mother. Just make your house look like it’s cleaning day.
Pull out the basket of cleaners and set them on the coffee table. Plug in your vacuum and leave it in a visible area of your room.
Put that basket of clean clothes you’ve been meaning to fold on the sofa and put another basket of dirty clothes outside of your laundry room.
When it looks like cleaning day it becomes obvious that the person coming by is interrupting your regularly scheduled cleaning. They notice that it’s a work in progress instead of it being a mess you haven’t gotten around to.
Related Post: Finally A Cleaning Schedule That Work
Quick Cleaning Tips
When you have a short period of time to clean up your house it’s important to learn to prioritize. You need to figure out what you can do in the shortest amount of time that will have the biggest impact.
Identifying what is making your house look messy can usually be determined by just a glance around. It could be a mess of toys in your living room, some cups in the sink, or the need to vacuum your floors.
Prioritize what you can do that will have the biggest impact to making your home look clean and pick from the chores below.
Related Post: Clean Your Whole House Faster With These Tips
Chores To Do In 10 Minutes
Individually these chores can be done quickly and have the biggest impact on cleaning your house. I’ve separated out the chores by room so pick your worst room and put your focus there.
Quick Cleaning Tips For Kitchen
Clear Clutter Off Counters
Take 10 minutes to clean up all the clutter on your counters. Put bills on your desk or in your office. Throw away junk mail. Put away small kitchen appliances and dishes.
Wipe Down Your Counters
Take a damp rag and wipe all crumbs and food off your counters. Make sure to move the toaster and other small appliances to get underneath and behind them too.
Gather and Take Out The Trash
Nothing makes a house look dirty and smell dirty like a full garbage bag. Quickly bag up your garbage and take it out to the can.
Sweep or Vacuum Your Floors
Quickly sweep up or vacuum your kitchen floors. Clean floors make a room look loads cleaner in the quickest amount of time.
Related Post: 10 Spotlessly Clean Kitchen Tips
Quick Cleaning Tips For Living Areas
Pick Up The Toys
The one thing that makes my house look messy even when everything else is clean is the toys on the living room floor. Enlist your kid to clean up this mess if possible.
Having the fabric bins for transporting the toys from the living space to your kids bedroom is a great place to start. Additionally, you can always just put the fabric bin on the stairs to be taken up to your kids room or place them up against a wall.
If your guest notices them, they will probably recognize the attempt of a mom to get their kids to put their toys away and applaud the lesson instead of thinking it’s a mess.
Related Post: Say Goodbye To Toy Clutter For Good With These Tips
Straighten the Tables
My side tables and coffee tables gather papers and toys a lot. Put everything on these tables away and to straighten any knick knacks you have on them.
A quick dusting can go a long way to making your house look cleaner, plus it’s better for your air quality. Go through and dust furniture and mantels.
Run the vacuum quickly in your living space to get up stray hairs, crumbs, and dust. It’s a quick chore to make your home look clean.
Quick Cleaning Tips For Bedrooms
Close Your Door
Your guests do not need to be in your bedroom and quite frankly, there are better things you can do with your limited amount of time to fake a clean home. Close that bedroom door.
Quick Cleaning Tips For Bathrooms
Clean Out Sink
Spray down your sink and wipe it out. Get rid of toothpaste, hair, and anything else that ends up in your sink to make your bathroom look loads cleaner.
Quickly Wipe Down Toilet
Put some cleaner on your toilet and give it a quick wipe down. You don’t want your impromptu guest putting their tushy on a dirty toilet.
Quickly sweep your bathroom floor to give it a nice clean look without needing to spend loads of time on it.
Hang Up Towels
You know your family messes up the fold of your towels on the regular so go ahead and refold the hand towels and bath towels. Neatly folded towels give the appearance of a cleaner bathroom.
Put Away Beauty Products
We all rush to get our hair and makeup done in the morning so we can dash off to drop of kids, go to work, and get our errands done. Take 10 minutes to put away the hairspray and makeup to make your bathroom look loads cleaner.
Get a hobby cart for your bathroom. These carts make for a great place to hold hair and makeup products and accessories. Your bathroom looks organized even if the cart is loaded because none of the products are sitting on your sink.
Related Post: How To Keep Your Bathroom Free From Clutter
Clean Your House Fast
Remember, the level of effs you give is completely controlled by you alone. You are busy, and let’s face it, there is not a single home on this planet that is both clean and has kids living in it.
Your mother in law did not have a spotless home every single day, and if she did, congrats to her. You are not her and you shouldn’t feel expected to be just like her.
What chores do you do in 10 minutes or less that have the biggest impact on making your house look cleaner? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your cleaning boards.