You just found out that an important guest will be visiting in a couple days, and your house feels like a total mess. You want to start cleaning every area of the house, but the time is so limited that you may not even have enough time to prepare yourself and complete all the other things you need to do. Then, an idea pops into your mind: throw everything into a closet and deal with it after your guest leaves!
It may be a plan, but it’s not a very good one. Considering that your mess is already too out of hand to clean before your guest comes, do you really think you’ll have loads of extra time after your guest leaves to clean everything you’re stuffing in your closet? No, of course not…you’re just delaying the inevitable, and more than likely, that stuff will end up staying in your closet for a long time, which will leave you with an even greater challenge the next time you receive short notice that a guest will be coming. You will have nowhere else to throw things!
So, how can you address the issue now and make your house presentable for your guest in a short period of time?
- Designate – Face it! With such limited time and too many areas to clean, you cannot do it alone. Assign certain tasks, like cleaning the living room and arranging the dining room, to your older children. Ask your significant other to fix the porch or organize the garage. If everyone pitches in and does their part, each person will have fewer tasks to do, and you will accomplish so much more than if you tried to tackle it on your own.
- Prioritize – You may not have time to clean the entire house, so focus first on the areas your guest will most likely use, such as the guest room, bathroom, dining room, and living room. Focus your cleaning time there, so you will know you have covered the essentials. Then, if you still have time, you can clean the other parts of the house.
- Don’t obsess over tiny details – Yes, books arranged alphabetically may impress your guest and windows that are spic and span may be a huge delight, but if these small details are going to take your valuable time away from more pressing issues, move on. The last thing you want is to remove every dust particle from every picture only to find yourself down to the wire with a kitchen overflowing with dirty dishes.
- Get rid of what’s no longer useful, no questions asked – If you feel the stack of paper in the corner is no longer useful to you, throw it away. Don’t overanalyze whether or not you may need something – if they are no longer functioning or fulfilling some sort of purpose, get ride of them because they will only fill your house with clutter.