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15 August 2012

I need a house cleaning game plan. Help me out? [More:]I have a house that is currently moderately messy and needs a full CLEANING as well as a decluttering. I also have guests coming next week (parents, so lots of potential judgment!)

Problem is, it seems overwhelming at the moment.

I have all day today to do the work, and I am determined, but scared that I won't make it.

What's a good process you know of that will help me? The only thing I can think of is to ignore the kitchen till last, because that's the thing that gets the most cleaning on a regular basis, and that I find easiest to clean.

Maybe a list would be good, too. I can do that.

The list:

Living Room
-Sort clothes to take to Goodwill.
-Take clothes to goodwill
-Put away clothes that I'm going to keep
-find a place for books (difficulty: no bookshelf space!)
-sweep, swiffer, mop, dust.

Guest bedroom:

-Change sheets
-Lay out towels
-sweep, swiffer, mop, dust.

Fireplace room:

-Figure out where to put the luggage, and put it there.
-Put away random clutter (again, difficulty is finding places for the random shit)

-Wash sheets, duvet cover, reassemble bed
-Sweep, swiffer, mop, dust.

-clean tub
-clean toilet
-put away random crap
-wash bathmat
-clean sink and vanity area
-clean mirror
-wash toothbrush holder thing (it gets so gross looking with toothpaste residue!)

Office: ignore

Bathroom #2: ignore (it's out of commission because of some kind of water damage and I am putting it out of my head until the rest of these things are done so that I don't go insane)

-unload dishes
-clear off counters
-wipe down counters and microwave
-put away dishes in drainer
-clear off kitchen table and wipe down
-put away suitcase (I have lots of suitcases. I've been traveling all summer!)
-take out recycling
-take out trash and put trash at curb for collection tomorrow
-vacuum, sweep, swiffer, mop. (the kitchen floor is totally gross)

OK, off to motivate to do this thing! Words of encouragement are good.

Thanks, y'all!

Good luck! I find that if you start with the places where people are going to be congregating and using first, the other places don't look so bad. So I'd say start with guest bedroom, bathroom, and the kitchen, then onto the living room and so forth.

Plus, doing things in spurts of 20 minutes on, 10 minutes off (thanks UFYH!) with the 10 minutes being as much alcohol as you can consume works for me.
posted by sperose 15 August | 08:57
Yes, guest room and bathroom first. Cross off what can wait. Maybe stuff cloths and books in a closet for now? Beware getting bogged down in the book and clothes sorting. It can mean hours of tub cleaning avoidance (if you're anything like me). Also, anyone you can enlist/bribe for assistance? If I do the sink and toilet, I can usually get my hubby to do the tub and floors (claiming a bad back/sore knees helps, too ; )

Most important, don't exhaust yourself. Your guests are there to see you after all. If they look under the bed, it's their problem.

Also, too tired to make dinner? Everyone loves a pizza party!

(Of course, I don't have guests over very often.)
posted by Pips 15 August | 09:26
I would start with the kitchen. That way you can make lunch or snacks so you can take on the other tasks with a full belly. Also, a home's cleanliness radiates from the kitchen.

The bathroom would be my next step. Cleaning toilets is a path to enlightenment. One of many.

Put your favorite music on the stereo, loud enough to hear over any noise you might make.

When you finish cleaning a room, stand in the middle of it and clap a couple times to clear the air. You don't have to burn incense or put little mounds of salt on either side of the entrance to your home and behind the toilet, even though you think that might help keep your freshly cleaned home, clean.

It's probably too hot to clean with the windows open, but I like to have airflow while I clean. Also, I usually clean the house naked and hop in the shower when I'm done, but that's probably a personal quirk. I just like to feel the breeze.
posted by Hugh Janus 15 August | 09:37
The 80/20 rule applies in housecleaning the same as everywhere else. The effort-to-return ratio increases dramatically once you achieve apparent cleanliness and pursue true cleanliness. Apportion your limited store of energy for maximum effect.

Most important of all: economy of movement. The people who do this for a living take pains to organize their set-up so that unnecessary back-and-forthing is eliminated. In practice, that would mean having your Windex, paper towels, and garbage bag all within arm's reach.
posted by Egg Shen 15 August | 10:11
Y'all are rockstar organizer and cheerleader gods and goddesses. Thank you!

I decided to end with the kitchen just because it's both the easiest and the hardest. Easiest because I clean there more often and hardest because I'll have to do the floors and miscellaneous crap accumulates there. I have this weekend, too, so pressure will MAKE me do the kitchen. The other stuff gets short shrift ALL the time.

Living Room
-Sort clothes to take to Goodwill.
-Take clothes to goodwill
-Put away clothes that I'm going to keep
-find a place for books (difficulty: no bookshelf space!)
-sweep, swiffer,
mop, dust.

Hugh, I will clap my hands!

Next up: Bathroom and guest bedroom.
posted by Stewriffic 15 August | 10:12
Everyone has their little thing that makes a place extra bonus clean. For me, it's the walls. Especially near doorknobs, light switches, fridge handles, kitchen cabinet handles and under-the-counter drippy spots, those bits of wall that people hang onto when they're going around a corner, etc.

Hourray, your list is so much shorter already!
posted by aniola 15 August | 12:08
Time marches apace and so does progress!

I decided to skip the bathroom until right before I shower.
Guest bedroom is done other than setting out towels, which can wait.

Kitchen has a lot half done, but the FLOORS are done, which was the biggest thing for me.
posted by Stewriffic 15 August | 12:12
Floors are a huge hurdle for me too. I'm in the Camp of Hugh on the cleaning in the nude thing, although I generally limit my nekkid-cleaning to just the bathroom. Bathrooms were meant to be cleaned in the buff tho.

mr. lfr and I just switched all our cleaners over to straight white vinegar and baking soda. I took all the chemical stuff we had to Eco Cycle a few weeks ago. Our house already seems brighter and more airy, but could just be my imagination.

The only downside to owing a 15-lb ultra fluffy ultra friendly cat is all the little metacats he tends to leave lurking about in the corners and under things, even on days I've JUST vacuumed. And I brush his fuzzy ass daily!
posted by lonefrontranger 15 August | 12:27
OK, didn't get any more done, but I still have this weekend to work on it. Thanks to all of you for the moral support!
posted by Stewriffic 15 August | 13:42
Hey, late to the party. Just wanted to give a shout out to Unfuck Your Habitat. I've just been following by RSS feed. It's like flylady without the glurge.

My bonus clean thing is the stove. Once I get the stove done I feel like I've accomplished something.

Good luck this weekend, Stewriffic!
posted by lysdexic 15 August | 14:41
I prefer to just buy a new stove.

(I must say, hiring Junk Luggers to cart away a truckload of crap a few years ago was one of my better cleaning decisions. Money well spent. I've thought of getting a cleaning service to give the place a thorough once over. I feel like if I could just set everything back to zero, I could maintain it from there. The place is fairly uncluttered and comfortable, but far from clean. It might help if I bought a mop.)
posted by Pips 15 August | 16:20
I start with the bathroom. It's small, and it makes me feel better to have a clean bathroom. Must have lively, cheerful music; show tunes, classic Motown, anything that encourages me to use the broom as a mic stand or air/broom guitar.

I hate to dust. I hate to vacuum. My dog is smart and small. Can I just wrap him in dusters and let him loose? Can I hitch the vacuum to him?

Carry on Stewriffic; I salute you!
posted by theora55 16 August | 11:53
YAY, STEWRIFFIC! Every housecleaning binge deserves a cheering section!

I hate to dust. I hate to vacuum.

Every so often, I hear a whooshing sound from the upstairs apartment, and every time I do, I think "WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?" And then I burst out laughing because, yeah, that's their vacuum cleaner. I never, ever hear one except when they vacuum. Oops.

I could excuse myself by saying A) vacuuming tweaks my back; B) we have hardwood floors, so sweeping does the job. But we don't really keep up with the sweeping, either.

An overnight guest was embarrassed when she left a spare pair of shoes here; I was just thrilled to find them and realize that she must not have looked under the couch. Phew!
posted by Elsa 16 August | 13:35
Everyone is so kind and awesome! Thanks!

One more thing to celebrate: I called a plumber. WOO HOO! I have a leak in my bathroom that caused MUSHROOMS to grow. Oops. I had been putting off calling out of hope that it wasn't a *real* leak but just that I had dripped on the floor.
posted by Stewriffic 16 August | 13:40
Just bought the Unfuck Your Habitat iPhone app!
posted by Stewriffic 16 August | 13:45
UfYH taught me one mindblowing trick that I have yet to try: instead of crouching down with a sponge and scrubscrubscrubbing and throwing my back and shoulder out of whack, I can scrub the bathtub with a mop. GENIUS I SAY. I'll certainly be trying this soon.
posted by Elsa 16 August | 14:05
UfYH just rocked my world. The bathroom is half cleaned already and I unfucked my laundry area. No more fuzzies!
posted by Stewriffic 16 August | 14:11
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