So the hard truth about house cleaning–it never ends. But if you can build good habits and routines–it will “practically,” clean itself…And I know this sounds a little too Mary Poppins-ish to be comforting (now “A Spoonful of Sugar” is stuck in my head). But it’s really true… And what’s also true…habits and routines can take a tailspin really quickly! Cue–flu season, vacation, holidays, new babies, new puppy, kid activities…You name it–life happens and we get thrown off our game! When that happens (don’t beat yourself up)–it’s time to Crisis Clean! Let’s dive in and figure our how to clean your house fast–just in time for your holiday guests!
What is Crisis Cleaning?
I learned about Crisis Cleaning from my beloved FlyLady! Crisis cleaning is the marathon cleaning that we all sometimes HAVE to do because we’re hosting company and our homes are a total mess! (And sometimes crisis cleaning is the cleaning we NEED to do to for our own mental health and peace!) It can give you the fresh start you need to start habits and routines that will keep your home in order!
Okay, let’s lay out the ground rules or this will NOT Work!
1. No Laundry
There is a time and place for laundry…but it’s not here. You will deal with the pile of panties and towels another time (you can always clean commando style)!
2. No Deep Cleaning
This may or may not be an issue for you–I for one don’t get too sidetracked by a dirty microwave or the health hazards that may be lurking in my fridge. But my mother on the other hand…She may never get out of the kitchen! For our purpose of crisis cleaning–we’re just sticking to surface level clean!
3. No Distractions
**If you’re a mom–this is pretty much fanciful dreaming! (After all we’re house cleaning, not taking a spa day!)
But I’m talking about distractions you can actually control–No Facebook (this is not the time to look at puppies), No Instagram (no cute selfies of you cleaning the house), No Twitter (it will only make want to stop the planet and get the heck off), and NO texting…You get it!
I DO allow TV in the background, because I’m 42 and I make my own rules! We have to make this bearable, Friends! Some of you may prefer just listening to music…You do you, and make it “funnish,” for yourself!
4. No Grumpy Bus
If I’ve entered a crisis cleaning situation, it’s tempting to go into “Mommy Martyr” mode! Resist the temptation!
We don’t want our kids to associate house cleaning with mom being a crazy lady! If you want to give your kids some jobs to work on or help with–go for it! Sometimes I do–sometimes I don’t…If I do, it might look like this:
“I’m setting the timer for 15 minutes. Let’s see if we can get most of our toys picked up! Ready-Set-Go!”
Or for my older kids…
“After I’m done dusting, would you mind vacuuming the living room? Thanks!!”
This is not the time to have a pity party or tantrum! (The FlyLady does such a great job of changing your heart about housework!)
5. Do It With Love
Basically this is connected to Rule #4…When we’re stressed because the house is a mess and we’re hosting a party–it’s easy to lose sight of why we are doing this in the first place! We want to bless our family and friends with a home that welcomes and shows love–that’s the whole point!
And God counts it totally worthless if I’ve done all this homemaking and entertaining without love…(1 Corinthians 13: 1-3)
Here are a couple verses I like to write down & bring to mind during these stressful times:
- “Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14
- “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23
Crisis Cleaning Steps:
Let’s get your house cleaned quickly so you can enjoy the upcoming party (or peaceful weekend)!
Step 1: Set a Timer for 15 Minutes & Hit the Kitchen
Start cleaning your kitchen–and go straight to the heart of matters, the sink! Empty the dishwasher if you need to and then get a load of dishes started–our goal is to get the dishes done and the sink shiny!
When the timer goes off–STOP!
Step 2: Reset the Timer for another 15 Minutes. Step Away from the Kitchen.
Go tackle some other living area close to the kitchen. I like to work my way out from the kitchen and go to our eating area. Basically, pick up your living room & dining room areas for 15 minutes!
When the timer goes off–STOP!
Step 3: Head Back to the Kitchen
Set your timer for another 15 minutes–keep working on that sink & dish area!
Once you have finished the dishes, begin picking up and cleaning the counters! (If I’m getting ready to host a party, I usually have to move our laptop, calendar, & personal papers to our office or laundry room.)
And now you know the drill–timer goes off and you stop!
**Step 4: Take a 15 minute BREAK
Grab some water (or coffee or Dr. Pepper or whatever you love) and sit down for 15 minutes–you’ve been working for 45 minutes straight, and now you need to catch your breath! (But watch out for distractions!!)
Step 5: Repeat!
You will keep setting your timer and cleaning one area at a time for 15 minutes. Every 45 minutes you will stop, get a drink, and watch HGTV!
Bonus: This type of marathon cleaning also counts as actual marathon training…No gym for you tonight!
How I do it:
Instead of leaving the kitchen in Step 2, like the FlyLady teaches–I like to stay hunkered down in the kitchen until it’s done. I still set my timer–but I just keep resetting and working in the kitchen till it’s done.
Make a List Before You Start!
Before I begin, I make a cleaning list–and it usually looks something like this:
- Appliances (I wipe my stainless steal appliance down with Wieman Stainless Steel Wipes)
- Main Level
- Master Bedroom
Sweep Kitchen/Main Level
Main Floor Windows/Door
I work my way down the list–setting the timer every 15 minutes to keep me on track!
And that is how I clean-up for a shindig, Sweet Friends…
I’m able to stay focused and get it done–as quickly as possible! In all honesty–just how quickly it gets done depends a lot on how many things need to get cleared off the floors and surfaces!
If our toy room/basement looks like a tornado went through–well, that will add on at least 45 minutes!
Now your house is clean, you’ve got a workout in, and you’re ready to relax! (Until it’s time to make all the food for your party!)
If I’m hosting guests–I find that doing Crisis Cleaning is best done the day before!
With the house looking so lovely–this is the PERFECT time to get back to your regular cleaning routines (I personally LOVE the FlyLady’s routines)! She reminds me that I’m never behind–and just to jump right in!
And if you don’t have a set cleaning routine–it’s never too late to start!