If any of you have been blessed to visit my home, you may be thinking, Why is this clutter-pile gal giving me tips on how to clean my abode? That’s a valid question, which I will politely ignore. But this is not about me. It’s about you.
Just because I don’t have a Type A, 1950s looking home, doesn’t mean I don’t have the know-how to do it. I choose to live this way, and that’s between my cleaning lady and me.
However, when I have family or friends over for functions, I do give a solid attempt to make the house appear beautiful, despite the fact my children and husband — God love them all — will redistribute everything by the end of the evening. Also, have I mentioned my spasmodic dog who has eaten three TV remotes?
Since I’m such a giver, I’m sharing some of my favorite tricks to getting your home presentable for planned guest visits or your mother-in-law:
Never miss a local story.
▪ Pick up junk off the floor and hide it in any closet other than the front hall coat closet. Nothing’s worse than being buried alive by debris when hanging up your guests’ outerwear. Also, warn your kids to not play in Mommy’s closet during the get together. A rousing game of hide and seek could blow your clean cover if your niece gets a head injury from falling in-line skates.
▪ The laundry room is a wonderful place to toss extra clutter. In fact take an empty laundry basket to each room and dump everything you don’t want seen into the basket. Then stack the baskets neatly in the laundry room and no one will be the wiser! Bonus: If your family doesn’t notice those items missing for a month, that’s an automatic transfer to the “to-be-donated-bag.”
▪ Some of you may know I’m vertically challenged. I cannot see the top of the mantle or refrigerators, lightbulb tops in lamps, and I have to practically rent a cherry picker to check my ceiling fans for dust. If you’ve only invited fellow short persons, you can leave the list above as is. But if your cousin is bringing her basketball star boyfriend for the first time to meet the family, plan ahead for additional cleaning time.
▪ When it comes to hardwood floors, I am a spot cleaner. My cleaning team will come and disinfect them every two weeks; so the majority of the time, I’m just keeping it presentable until their next visit. However, there are times when that blessed day doesn’t coincide with entertaining and I have to actually clean the floor. So like any clever parent, I have my daughters dress up like Cinderella, strap Swiffer dust cloths on their feet and have them dance “at the ball.” No, no, no, it’s not yet midnight…keep dancing, Ladies!!
▪ Ask yourself this, “Have I changed the guest room sheets from the last time my in-laws visited?” If you can’t quite remember, put on the pretty guest sheets with a spritz of Febreeze on the pillows. The lavender vanilla scent is my favorite.
▪ Fluff all couch cushions and throw pillows with a tennis racquet that’s conveniently hiding behind the bookcase. Nothing makes a living space more inviting than a fluffed pillow!
Finally, if you have enough time to spruce up your home sweet home, your job is done. You can now concentrate on your loved ones, which is the true reason you are getting together in the first place.
However, if you are short on time, I’d suggest dimming the lights, burning a vanilla candle and spraying kitchen disinfectant in the front hall right before the guests are to arrive.
Stacey Hatton adores emails and can be reached at LaughingWithKids@yahoo.com.