We have all had them, the phone calls that make you spit out your coffee (if you’re lucky enough to have time for a cuppa) and have you racing around the house like a maniac. Whether it’s your mother-in-law ‘I was wondering if I could visit today?’, a friend ‘I’m just at the shops near you, shall I drop by for a chat?’ or the mum from school ‘Would you mind looking after child x for an hour or so as I go to the doctor?’, they usually call for a very speedy 15 minute tidy of our busy, well lived-in home.
Obviously there is no time for thorough cleaning so I keep things simple with these 5 steps:
1. The Living Room
With 4 small children there are always loose toys hanging around so I keep a big toy basket in the corner of the room for easy tidying. It generally takes me less than 1 minutes to pick up wandering toys and dump them in the tub, then I fluff up the couch pillows and make sure the ground is clean for a vacuum if needed (and if time left). I have a little handheld vacuum for small messes which is much quicker to grab and use than our big bulky vacuum.
2. The Kitchen
As our driveway is next to our kitchen most guests will enter our home via the kitchen. It’s the first impression they get of our home and at the same time it is one of the busiest rooms of our house so it can be tricky to keep it tidy. A full and messy kitchen bench is the first to be tackled, put all your dirty dishes in the dishwasher or just gather them all in the sink, as long as your bench is clean. I wipe down the bench and the kitchen table and put away items that were left on the kitchen table, items that are not ready to be put away or take too much time to clear away can be stacked neatly on one side.
I know ideally we’d all have an empty laundry basket and all clean washing neatly tidied away in the cupboards, however the reality of a big family is that laundry is never done. A basket of wet washing waiting to be hung up, a pile of dry garments on my kitchen table ready to be folded or worn clothes, a used tea towel and loose socks on the bedroom floor, it’s everywhere. I have three huge baskets to use so I try to have an empty one at all times, just shove it all in and carry everything in one go to an out-of-sight place in your home.
4. A pleasant smell
Now this may actually be my biggest trick and it ALWAYS works. On my kitchen window sill I keep a neat little iWell Aroma Diffuser. It takes me about 30 seconds to refill the water and add a few drops of Eucalyptus oil, one press of the on button and the refreshing, clean smell of Eucalyptus starts flooding through our home. People always comment on how nice it smells so it does its job really well, I run it most days and have become a bit addicted to the lovely fragrance.
5. The Toilet
Often the toilet is the easiest to overlook, it is behind a closed door so you don’t notice it as much but with young children it can get yucky very quickly! It’s only when your unexpected guest asks to use the bathroom that you realise the loo was in desperate need of a good clean. When I am short of time I use a disinfecting toilet wipe or three to wipe down the lid, the toilet seat (don’t forget to look under/behind it), the sides of the toilet and the floor followed by a quick squirt of toilet cleaner under the rim for a fresh smell, that’s better than nothing at all!
What does your 15 minute tidy look like? If you have any awesome tips I would love to hear them.