Food & Fitness

The quick clean-up

cleaning house

I like the idea of using a broom to sweep. But in practice, it's always the vacuum that I use.

It’s happened to all of us dozens of times. Somehow your house gets a little untidy just for a couple days, and then all the sudden you find out that you’re having company over in half an hour. Gah! It’s not enough time to clean your whole place – so where do you start?

Well, you could follow these guidelines (thanks to Westwood for showing me that hilarious article!), but somehow I don’t think that piling everything in the bath tub is the greatest idea in the world (you need to keep a big blue Rubbermaid bin for things like that, of course ;)).

Since I started working from home, I’ve really been enjoying that I can keep my house tidy on a daily basis. But sometimes I get into the zone of working and then it’s 5pm and I have plans for the evening, and I realize I’m still wearing my pajamas – forget the house! So when there’s a short notice situation of having people over, this is how I go about the quick clean-up:

1) Bathroom first. Always, always the bathroom first. Fun fact about me: I never, ever let anyone into my house if the bathroom isn’t clean. Except for maybe the boyfriend. But he lives at my place half the time anyway. No one else is allowed in the condo unless the bathroom is presentable, because you can guarantee that someone is going to need to use it. At the very least, clean the sink and toilet bowl, pull the curtain across the tub, wipe down any marks on the mirror and put anything on the counter into a drawer.

2) General living space tidiness. Pick up clothes, straighten tables and stuff papers out of the way. This is most important in the living room, although if you have time, try to do this in every room. This is general straightening-up and putting things roughly where they belong. Clear all tables and counters of the junk that has accumulated!

When I had everyone over for Christmas a couple years ago, I thought I had done a great job of tidying the place… until the godmother dear (*waves at the godmother dear*) peeked into the porch and saw empty beer cans and the like that had been leftover from some party and I’d completely forgotten about. Oops. Let that be a lesson: expect every room to be seen!

3) Kitchen. Dumping dishes into the sink and filling it with soapy water is an excellent idea. You also want to wipe down every counter and try to make sure you don’t have anything growing in your fridge. Ew.

4) Vacuum and dust. If, amazingly, you have time to do this too, then go for it! Also, remember to dust the tops of your bookshelves, especially if you have twin cousins. Scene: Easter at my condo, little twin cousins climbing my bookshelf ladder with the mother dear standing by. The mother dear: “Well girls, did Sagan leave it pretty dusty up there?” My little cousins (very enthusiastically): “Yeah!” Huh. They ratted me out! And this was after I had very carefully dusted every single shelf, but figured I’d leave the top area because who will check up there, anyway? At least it gives me good reason to be especially vigilant about deep cleaning 🙂

What gets the first priority for cleaning in your household?


  1. Mary Anne in Kentucky

    My lifelong dust allergies have made me a routine cleaner, so unexpected guests won’t be finding dust. Stains, on the other hand, are simply Not My Problem. I’m also a very tidy person (makes necessary dusting easier) except for my desk, where things pile up while waiting for me to have time to do something about them. Since I now have two jobs–neither of which involves a desk–this is only getting worse.

  2. charlotte

    Dishes. The kitchen always takes top priority at my house. The entire rest of the house can look like a bomb went off but my kitchen will be clean. I think it’s because I don’t want dirt around my food, lol.

  3. Andy

    I have recently read about bacteria living in the houses and since then I have been trying to tidy as often and as efficiently as possible. Would you believe that for example the is one of the dirtiest places in most homes?

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