|Our first house, circa 2004|
Then, I experienced first-hand the intimidation that guests can feel when they enter a house that looks too perfect -- especially if that house happens to contain more than one child. So I stopped aiming for perfection and tried to focus on simply making the house "presentable". The problem was that my version of "presentable" still took a very long time to achieve.
The funny thing is that I only applied this standard to myself -- I really didn't care if I went to someone else's house and found it far from perfection. As a guest, it just didn't matter to me.
Then, I realized something else: trying to make my house perfect wasn't about my guests. It was about me. It was my own pride, my own "what will they think of me?" that was dictating how I got ready for anyone to visit.
So, I've shifted gears once again, doing only what needs to be done to make my guests comfortable. I've included my general list below. Obviously, this list doesn't cover everything needed to prepare for overnight guests. That will have to be another post.
Depending on the size of your house, it should be guest-ready within an hour - yep, one hour!
If you have more than one bathroom, clean only the one that will be seen/used by your guests. If it's likely that two people will have to use the restroom at once (like during a playdate), then you'll want to clean both.
- Wipe down the sink/counter (1 min)
- Refill/replace soap if needed (1-1/2 min)
- Wipe down the toilet lid/seat (1-1/2 min)
- Swish the inside of the toilet if needed (< 1 min)
- Put out a new roll of bath tissue if needed (< 1 min)
- Quickly sweep the floor (2 min)
- Close the shower curtain to hide the tub/shower or, if there isn't a shower curtain, wipe off any soap scum or dust that may be lying around (1-2 min)
- Hang a fresh towel (< 1 min)
Only work on the floors that will actually be walked on by your guests. Dust bunnies on the laundry room floor, which can only be seen through a doorway off the kitchen, are not going to affect your guest's comfort level.
- Quickly sweep and/or vacuum (5 min)
- Use a damp rag or paper towel to wipe up sticky spots. (5 min)
- Put all dirty dishes in the dishwasher and start it (5 min)
- Wipe down any surfaces that have crumbs, spills or stains on them (3 min)
- Sweep the floor (3 min)
- Use a damp rag or paper towel to wipe up any spills or sticky spots on the floor. (5 min) Again, don't worry about mopping the entire floor.
If no one will be going upstairs, then don't even worry about cleaning that part of the house. If it's likely that someone will need to go upstairs to use a second bathroom, then just pick up any odds/ends that may be strewn across their path. For time's sake, you can just throw these items into a basket to be redistributed later.
That's it! You're done!
If you would like a printable version of this list, you can email me at: somewheresimple(at)gmail(dot)com
UPDATE: the checklist is now also available on the "Printables" page of the blog
What area(s) do you focus on most when people are coming over?