We’ve all been there, right? That moment when we realize we’re hosting book club that night or your husband calls to remind you his boss is stopping by or maybe it’s 4:30 and it looks like a bomb went off in your house and your husband will be home in thirty minutes and you want to look like you’ve got this stay-at-home mom thing sort of down, right?  Yes, that. 

This post is not about being a perfectionist or trying to portray someone we’re not.  But let’s face it, it’s a lot more pleasing to open your door to a home where your guest can actually find a place to sit with out moving a laundry pile, right? Or maybe it’s 3pm, we’ve been doing school all day with our kids, they’ve moving on to playing outside and you want to enjoy a moment’s peace before you have to think about dinner but the mess is distracting your peaceful moment.  We need a quick clean plan to keep our sanity…to pop on the timer and get it done in just a few minutes so we can move on to the guest, the book club, or the next thing without your cluttered counters eating you alive.

If you find yourself in this predicament, don’t cry.  You can do this.  Here’s a quick list of what to do when you need to speed clean.

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Emergency Quick Clean

  1. Set a timer-I love this trick.  Setting a timer keeps you on task and gives you a goal.  I do this all the time and it makes me move so much faster.  Start here, set your timer for 30 or 20 minutes and get moving.
  2. Fill your sink with hot, soapy water-For some reason, a sink full of hot, soapy water just denotes that “cleaning is in process here.”  Throw in your dirty dishes even if you don’t wash them right away–you can get to that in a bit if you have leftover time.  The bubbly sink can also be used for loading up your kitchen rag to wipe down countertops and dirty tables. 

  3. Get something running. Start a load of laundry, start your dishwasher, or throw those wet towels in the dryer.  Just the hum of a major appliance in the background with give you the feeling of productivity.  It almost feels like you’ve got an assistant working with you!

  4. Get the 6 Secrets to a Simpler Mom Life

  5. Clear off major surfaces. Gather up the papers, keys, schedules, and left-behinds on your countertops and major surfaces.  Stick it all in a basket for later, throw things away, call your kids to grab their stuff, and stick things in the junk drawer.  If your countertops are clean, everything just feels better right away.
  6. Gather with a laundry basket. Now move out to the living room or the room you’ll most likely be gathering.  Grab a laundry basket and scoop up random toys, clothes, magazines, and whatever else might be hanging out.  You can stash the basket in a closet for later.  Its ok, nobody said we were trying to be perfect here.
  7. Spruce up the living room/family room. Straighten blankets, pillows, remotes, and whatever else you’ve got sitting around.  Create a calming backdrop for your guests…or your magazine and coffee sesh.  Just create a little calm.
  8. Do a quick living room vacuum. Quickly run a vacuum through your living room.  Those vacuum lines on the carpet just scream CLEAN, don’t they?

  9. Sweep the problem areas. Now back to the kitchen/dining room to do a quick sweep.  Nobody wants a stray Cheerio stuck to their foot.  I think I could sweep my kitchen 17 times a day and still come up with a dustpan full of grossness.  It won’t take long and you better hurry–your timer’s about to chime.

  10. Light a candle. Last, light a good smelling candle and put a smile on.  You just did a fanstastic job of cleaning your house in 30 minutes or less.  Candlelight and sweet smells make it feel even cleaner than it is.  Enjoy your clean house!

This post is part of a 31-day series on simplifying our homes and schools. 
To read from the beginning of this series, click here:
N E V E R   M I S S   A   P O S T–


  1. Perfect timing!! I have a mom stopping by to pick up my daughter for a playdate and she's never been here. I always want to make a good first impression and the house is a mess from the weekend. This could not have come at a better time! Going to get started right now! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Yes, I love the timer trick! We use timers for all sorts of things & it really works! I could've written the part about "get something running" – if my dishwasher and/or washing machine are running, I feel like I'm accomplishing something. For me, if my kitchen is clean, I feel like my house is clean (which may not be the truth). Nothing is worse than trying to begin the next thing in the kitchen & having to work around dirty stuff!

    Happy Monday!

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