This post is part of the Holiday Heart Series. You can read the entire series by clicking here. One of the biggest hurdles in opening the door to our homes has everything to do with how we feel about the "presentableness" of it! A few years ago I adapted a philosophy to be "fifteen minutes away from clean". Yes, this requires multiple pickups during and to not leave dishes out for days, but it's more than doable. But I've also picked up a few tricks over the years and found things that have worked for me that I want to share with you!
So when you have that phone call that your mother in law is stopping by, or that your neighbor needs some eggs you'll be ready for them - even if you are still in your sweats at 4:30 in the afternoon. We want everyone - simply your spouse or your surprise guests to walk in the door and immediately feel calm and refreshed. To feel at home. TURN ON (LOUD) MUSIC and ENLIST YOUR CHILDREN The only exception to this step is if you have a baby napping. Taylor swift does the trick for me every time. I am a worship music gal, but for this particular exercise, worship music doesn’t do it for me. I need something super upbeat to snap me out of whatever kind of funk I’m in that day and get going! If your children are old enough encourage them to help. (You can also read this as "make" them help, but you say tomato, I say tomAto). My kids are in charge of picking up the playroom, taking up their laundry and a lot of days I make them pick up the back yard at this time too. Mainly, their job is to let me do MY job too.
SET YOUR TIMER FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES AND GO. PICK UP THE MAIN SPACE Our house is basically one giant room on the bottom, so this is where I always start. It’s the first thing a guest would see when they walk in the door. I put away any dishes in the sink and anything that is on the counter in the kitchen. This is not reorganizing and throwing away time… this is putting it away as fast as we can time. After I finish with the kitchen, I pick up whatever is left in the living room. I generally have to fold blankets and put pillows back on the couch and clean up the tornado that Landry has left in his wake. He has gotten better at putting away his toys by himself, but sometimes I don't have time for that battle so I "help". Next, I double check our bedroom to make sure the bed is made and there isn’t dirty laundry on the floor and then I’m done with the pickup step. The goal is not to pickup the whole house… just where YOU or YOUR GUESTS would spend time. DUST BUNNIES OF DOOM If you're anything like me, you read "dust" and immediately thought 'I’m out'… but hang with me. I hate dusting too. But I’ve found the swiffer duster is A M A Z I N G for this little process. And quick. I simply drag it along all of the surfaces in the living room, breakfast nook and bedroom. Easy peasy. It probably takes me 90 seconds and the absence of the dust bunnies makes me so happy. For real. OPERATION SMELL CLEAN + SHINE ALL THE THINGS. This is my favorite step and it combines tips from some favorite women in my life. Pour some lemon pine sol in the kitchen sink and fill it up half way or so with hot water. While it’s filling up, run around to each bathroom and pour a little in each toilet, coming back to the kitchen sink to turn the water off. Next, grab some lemon clorox wipes and head back to the bathroom. This is FlyLady’s infamous “swish and swipe”. Swish the Pinesol water around in the toilet with the toilet brush and then wipe down the seat real quick with one of the clorox wipes. Done. If you’re feeling like you’re doing good on time, wipe the bathroom counter down too (PRIOR to wiping the toilet, of course!) ***My kids take turns doing the lysol wipes in the bathrooms - it's a great job for them*** Wipe down all the kitchen counters either with the wipes or your favorite counter cleaner. I love Mrs. Meyer’s Honeysuckle scented spray. This isn’t a move all of the things and wipe type of deal… I just do what I can see and move on. Next - one of my favorite tips of all time - use one of the clorox wipes to wipe down the door frame (and door) that your guests will walk into. This will ensure that they will step into a smell-clean home. Smell is the most powerful scent…. so keep that in mind! FIX YO-SELF This is the point in time that you might need to get dressed - even if it’s just changing from sweatpants and a tee shirt to JEANS and a tee shirt. If your teeth are feeling a bit fuzzy… BRUSH THEM. Put on a little perfume. Wash your face if you need to… or put on a little blush, mascara and lip gloss. You’ll feel better and if you have guests coming you’ll look FRESH and ready to welcome them in. CHANGE THE MUSIC. After the mad rush of cleaning and picking up is over, I settle the music down to what my kids call “cooking music.” It’s a nice blend of Norah Jones, Harry Connick and Frank Sinatra. (You can follow me over on spotify.) It relaxes me and it also sets the tone for the household for the rest of the evening. EMPTY THE SINK + FLUSH THE TOILETS You can’t have them knowing what your secrets are! BONUS :: GET SOMETHING COOKING If you have dinner planned - or even if you don’t - this is a great way to infuse some "home cooked smells" into your home. Start to caramelize some onions on the stove or throw some break + bake cookies in the oven. Caramelizing onions is super simple. Throw a bit of butter in a skillet and slice up some onions real thin and let it go to work on medium heat. They take about 30 minutes to caramelize all the way… so it’s a GREAT thing to have set on the stove when someone walks in. And you can throw them over most anything you’re cooking. And there you have it. My 15 Minute Refresh. A good combo of advice and tips I’ve received from wise women I’ve met and stuff I’ve found to be true for myself!! I hope it helps y’all to have a happy home too! If you have any tips I’d LOVE to hear them! Share them below so we can all benefit from them!!!!