Monday, November 19, 2007

Cleaning...or Not

It's time to fess up: what awesome pre-holiday, pre-guest cleaning tips do you have to share with a very pregnant person who inherited the chaos gene? I'm not talking about FlyL@dy shiny sinks or passive-aggressive-Martha-advice. I'm talking dim the lights and light some candles survival.

I'm talking about this:
"I glanced involuntarily at the heap of ashes in the grate, but she saw them as no obstacle at all. From a scratched oak box beside the hearth, she produced three firelighters and a handful of sticks. These went on top of the ashes, which got only a desultory poke. She struck a match, lit the firelighters, and made a wigwam of coal. The new fire flared up good-temperedly on the body of the old while Madge took the hearth brush and swept a few cinders out of sight behind a pile of logs.
Fascinated, I watched her continue with her housework. She drifted across to the dead flowers, opened the window, and threw them out. She emptied the water from the vase after them, then put it back on the windowsill and shut the window.
From behind the sofa... she pulled out a large brown cardboard box.... [O]n the inside it was half filled with the same sort of jumble which was lying around the room. She wafted methodically around in a large circle, taking everything up and throwing it just as it was into the box, a process which took approximately three minutes. She then pushed the box out of sight again behind the sofa and plumped up the seat cushions of two armchairs on her way back to the door. The room, tidy and with the brightly blazing fire, looked staggeringly different. The cobwebs were still there but one felt it might be their turn tomorrow. [Her son] was right. Ma had got the time-and-motion kick completely buttoned up, and what did it matter if the motive was laziness?"
--Dick Francis, Forfeit

Go! Meanwhile, I guess I'll get off the computer and start. *Sigh.*


  1. Doesn't that passage just sum up my housekeeping? On the weekend, I saw these giant ziplock bags and thought they would be perfect for the quick tidy-up of miscellaneous clutter and toys.

  2. When I get overwhelmed like that, I just do one thing at a time. When I have a break to get something done, I look around and tackle 1 (only 1 at a time) project that is staring me in the face or bugging me the most. Good luck!

  3. If I clean to early, my house blows up again. That is why I am cleaning wednesday night and if I do anything earlier, locking that room so husband, kids, and dog stay out. Otherwise, they are recleaning it themselves.

  4. I think you just clean up the rooms that people are going to see - living room, dining room, kitchen and downstairs bathroom - and let everything else moulder away.

  5. Lori D - I, too, am intrigued by those bags! They could be the answer to all of my problems! Also, please teach me how to put a link in a comment. It's time I learned.

    MD - Does answering comments on my blog count?

    Shannon - Very good point. I'm also trying to factor holiday cooking in to the timeline, which is new for me.

    Beck - Unfortunately, we don't have a downstairs bathroom, unless you count the basement toilet, which I certainly don't. So, people have to go upstairs. But, the doors can be closed and I can hope for the best. At least no one is staying over.

  6. I'm real big on just throwing everything in our bedroom and shutting the door. I'm also not opposed to squirting some windex on the spots on my floor to avoid scrubbing the whole thing.

    I think that as long as you are stuffing their faces, they won't mind the mess.

  7. We've got a huge "clutter pile" in our basement with all the years worth of mail and junk that gets tossed down there with each visit.

    Other than that, just vacuuming the living room does WONDERS. (But I do always make sure the bathroom is clean).

  8. Throw things in closets and under the bed.
    Wipe down counters and sinks. Leave out some disinfecting wipes and place them in wastebaskets so the rooms smell clean.

    Add good food, music, candlelight and conversation.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  9. Ha ha! I have to think about it everytime I do it. Here's the tutorial

    1. type
    without a space in between

    2. leave a space, then type
    href="THE URL YOU WANT">the text you want<

    3. without leaving a space, type

    Sorry for the awkward phrasing... otherwise blogger thinks I'm trying to actually do it.

  10. I start with the bathroom, because that is the only room of the house where people will go by themselves and without distractions to keep them from noticing dirt.

    After that, I do the "gather up in a box," and I do kitchen counters/stove. I use a dustbuster to vacuum visible fuzz.

    Small tidyings can make a big difference. Folding an afghan. Plumping and centering a sofa cushion. Making the curtains hang evenly.