I am not the most fastidious housekeeper. You know this about me. But in a few weeks I’m hosting a baby shower for my friend Cassie and lots of ladies I don’t know very well will be here and I’d like to project at least an illusion of responsible adulthood. I’ve been googling how to make it happen and here’s what I found:
1) Focus on what the guests will see. For this party, that means the living room, dining room, and downstairs bathroom. In those rooms I’ll dust, clean all the pet hair off the furniture, wash the curtains (again with the pet hair), and give the floors a good detailed vacuum.
2) Declutter. For the most part, an uncluttered space looks clean from afar and a cluttered space looks junky even if there’s not a speck of dust. So I’m gradually working through the entire downstairs to put things away and clear piles that may have accumulated. It’s especially important to focus on the entryway, since this is what folks see first.
3) Take your time. I am not one for marathon cleaning sessions spread over 1-2 days. My house was a wreck when we got back from Texas a few weeks ago and I’ve been gradually getting it back into shape little by little. I’m cleaning for the party the same way–I already dusted and vacuumed under and behind the living room and dining room furniture, so the day before the party I can just do a quick pass again. I’ve got a big list written out of things I want to do and I’ll try to knock off a couple each week.
4) Wipe smudges. This one is a biggie in our house for some reason. Smudges of dirt on doors, stair railings, and light switches look really bad, but they’re super easy to clean. It’s so satisfying to go around the house with a magic eraser and have all those spots we touch every day looking good again in no time (I already did this too).
5) Bring in reinforcements. I haaaaate cleaning bathrooms. Hate hate hate it. And the truth is that I am just not detail-oriented enough to do a really good job. I’m thinking of bringing in a cleaning lady just to tackle the bathrooms. This is more cost-effective than hiring someone to clean the whole house, especially since the lady I have in mind charges by the hour. I could get two hours’ worth of cleaning for about $30.
My entire house will definitely not be spotless for the shower, but it’ll at least look good enough that I’m not embarrassed. And the truth is that I enjoy living in a clean house! We deserve to have a home that’s clean and comfortable. If I could afford it I’d totally hire a cleaning lady to come every week (and someone to mow the lawn, too) so we could spend less time maintaining our home and more time enjoying it, but even without help I can keep my home looking nice by just doing a little bit every day (and maybe shutting the door to a room or two).
image from here