Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Crisis Cleaning

I want to share with you what I do when I'm in a hurry to get the house cleaned.  This is not what I recommend for a cleaning schedule, just what I do in a "crisis".  If you get yourself on a cleaning schedule you can pretty much keep your house clean all the time.  Doing a little bit each day is best, but sometimes you just need to do a fast clean of the whole house. 

This morning I did a crisis clean because some precious friends from out of town were coming to visit.  Lately it seems our house has gotten a little out of control.  Our focus has been on school, and if you home-school then you know what that can do to your house.  School, plus laundry, 3 meals a day, a baby, and soccer, well let's just say the house hasn't gotten the attention it needs.  Knowing our friends were on their way kicked my fanny in gear.  There's a lot to be said for the pressure of having company coming.  It's good for me!

Here's my Crisis Cleaning 101:  (Most of this I got from Flylady, who I've loved since I found her in 2001.  Her system really changed the way I do things and I just love her ideas!)   
  • Get dressed all the way to your shoes.  Fix your hair and put your moisturizer or makeup on.  Put on some music.  I love to listen to praise and worship music while I clean.  Light a candle.  A lot of people ask why they should shower, dress, and do hair and makeup when they are going to be cleaning.  I will tell you why.  You work faster if your shoes are on.  You feel "ready to go".  Cleaning in your pajamas slows you down.  Also, and I'm speaking from experience here, someone could drop by or your company could show up early.  I used to clean in my pajamas and then when I was all finished cleaning the house I would take a shower and get dressed.  Inevitably, every time I did that someone would stop by to visit and there I would be in my pajamas half way into the day.  Forget that I had been working since 8 a.m.  It appears, since I'm in my pajamas at 11 o'clock, that I'm a slug and have stayed in bed all morning. 
  • Start with the kitchen.  As the kitchen goes, so does the rest of the house.  Set a timer and work for 15 minutes in the kitchen.  Fill your sink with hot soapy water and clean the sink first and then clear off the right and left counters.  Empty the dishwasher.  When the timer goes off, stop what you are doing and head to the family room.
  • Set the timer again for 15 minutes and start picking up toys and newspapers.  Clean off the coffee table.  Concentrate on one thing at a time.  Get a laundry basket and put the things that don't belong in the family room into the basket.  Take a bag into the room with you as well and start throwing away the trash.  When the timer goes off, go back to the kitchen.
  • In the kitchen set the timer for another 15 minutes.  Work on cleaning the counters.  Don't get sidetracked and start cleaning out a cabinet or the refrigerator.  Just surface clean until the timer goes off. 
  • Take a break for 15 minutes.  Set the timer and drink a cup of coffee, or tea, or whatever you love and just relax.  Look around at all you have accomplished in just 45 minutes.  When the timer goes off get back in work mode.
  • Do a 15 minute session in the bathroom.  Clean the sink first, then pick up towels and dirty clothes and put them in the hamper.  Don't get sidetracked and start a load of laundry.  Laundry will come later. 
  • Go back in the kitchen for 15 more minutes.  Keep working until the timer goes off.  Then go to the family room once again. 
  • In the family room continue to pick up and put away, then dust and vacuum.  Vacuum only the middles.  In a crisis clean I'm not pulling the furniture out from the walls and using the attachment. 
  • Every 45 minutes take a 15 minute break.  You are going to be surprised at how much you get done in two hours or spread out across the day.
You get the picture.  Adapt this schedule to fit your children's needs.  If your children are old enough, get them involved in the cleaning with you.  Make it fun.  Children as young as 2 years old can do a lot.  Have them put toys away or put trash in the trashcan.  When it comes to cleaning, the timer really is my best friend.  The timer will help you stay focused.  It is also helpful to race the clock.  Kids in particular enjoy this.   

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