Family Life

Housecleaning Tips in Case of Drop-in Hosting

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Look guys, I know what you’re thinking. Really? We should be taking housecleaning tips from someone who says she has no time for anything? I have news for you. Part of the reason why I have no time for anything is I’m always cleaning my house! Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But, seriously, I have two dogs and a baby. If I don’t keep up on my cleaning, after a week I’ll wake up to discover everything I own is covered in dog fur and my child is eating rotting leaves and sticks off the floor. This is not an exaggeration. The only alternative to constant cleaning that I can think of is getting rid of one of those little parasites, but I just can’t choose which one.

So, am I recommending you do the exact same as me? No, of course not. You may have made much wiser life decisions than myself and never invested in a furry friend. Perhaps your house stays pretty clean, or you could even have a cleaning lady (but don’t tell me about that; I’ll be too jealous). I’m only offering up my thoughts on a tidy house because of the one thing that every hostess dreads – the drop in visitor. You know who I’m talking about. For me, it’s my parents. They decide they want to see the baby and give me a call twenty seconds before they pull in the driveway. I can’t let my parents know I live in filth, now can I? So I try to keep my house in generally good condition.

Messy vs. Dirty

Before I get to my housecleaning tips, I would like to point out one thing. I have no tips to help you with a “messy” house. When I think “messy,” I think kids’ toys all over the place. I’m more concerned with “dirty.” Now that’s the house you want to avoid. Have you ever dropped in on someone unannounced? I’m guilty of doing this to my neighbors. Every time I do, no matter who it is and regardless of what their house looks like, they say, “Come on in, excuse the mess.” I say the same thing, whether I think my house is messy or not. Why do we do that? If you drop in on someone, do you expect their house to be spotless? Probably not.

Come to think of it, the only house my friends and I ever discuss is the one that actually is completely spotless. We wonder where all the toys are. Are they in garage? Do we need to donate some to their little girl because she doesn’t have any? Are they in some mysterious closet no one has ever seen? It’s fascinating! But seriously, I’m not going to notice the bouncy seat in the corner. I might notice if you have wine stains on your carpet, dog vomit in a corner, and a layer of dust so thick I can spell my name on your coffee table.

Housecleaning Tips – The Checklist

housecleaning to-do list

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before or not, but I live off a checklist. We’re in the 21st century now folks, so you don’t have to use pen and paper for this. I used to use Wunderlist, but Microsoft bought it and plans to discontinue it so I recently made the switch to Todoist. I also use Gqueues for some clients, but any of them could work for you. Here’s what’s great about using an app checklist:

  1. You can make events repeat. So, I have cleaning routines. I don’t have to wonder when the last time I cleaned the guest bathroom was. I check it off the day I do it, it disappears, and then reappears in two weeks. Time to get back to work!
  2. If you don’t check it on the day it’s due, it turns red and looks evil. Ugg, there’s nothing I hate more than an overdue checklist item. Some of you might need more motivation than that, I know. But for me crossing items off is the ultimate satisfaction.
  3. You can split up tasks into groups. For example, a few of mine are work, family, house, and writing. This helps you keep track of everything and see if you’re missing out. Plus you can easily see which task is the most important to get done.

It takes a little while to get your checklist worked out so that it’s the most efficient, but once it’s done, it’s so helpful. I know I’ve got to go clean my kitchen counters after this, then vacuum. Plus, that’s it for the day! My entire cleaning. I do one or two little things each day, and wah-lah, my house stays pretty tidy. That’s amazing considering the beasts that are always running around in here. If you’d like help making your own, I do have a few more suggestions you can find here.


I like my checklist, but I’ll still use the easiest housecleaning equipment when I can be. Like, I vacuum everything. I mean EVERYTHING. For example, I use it on my laminate floors because sweeping takes way too long. I do have the option to switch it to barefloor over brushroll, which helps. I’m sure most vacuums have that option these days, but if yours doesn’t and you want it to, I recommend a Shark. I’ve had one for over five years and it’s still going fine despite all the things I ask it to do, like clean up cobwebs and constantly eat dog fur. Actually, it works so well, we bought another one in our last house so we could have one for upstairs and downstairs, because we are that lazy.

Unfortunately, I have not figured out a way to vacuum counters or toilets, so I do have to do some other cleaning. For that I like to buy multi-surface cleaners. The less cleaners I have to switch between, the better. I also keep a bunch of rags handy to get everything wiped down quickly, and then they get thrown on the dryer. I’ll admit, I am looking forward to the day when the human beast is able to help me out, but until then I’m fine with my checklist and minimal supplies. It’s great to know I’m not going to spend my entire weekend cleaning up, and if I decide to host a real party, the prep can be mostly cooking and decorating instead of cleaning. Hooray! Hopefully these housecleaning tips can help free up your weekend as well.

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  1. Ugh I hate drop in guests lol drives me nuts! But I’m a checklist fiend too so I love this!

  2. At the very least I always make sure the couch is tidy, the bathroom has toilet paper, and the kitchen counter doesn’t have stains on it LOL.

  3. I’m, definitely, going to check out Wunderlist! I am soooo NOT a list maker. I try to keep everything in my head, but Wunderlist looks like it would be great because I can share the list, on our iPad, with my husband! He is the type of person to work best off of lists. He has, flat out, told that to me, lol. Thanks, again, for the tips! ­čÖé

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      I have some sad news (well, sad to me). Microsoft bought Wunderlist and they are planning on replacing it with their own, which I’m pretty sure is just called To-do. So if you don’t want to fall in love with Wunderlist like I did only to have to relocate everything, I would just start with To-do. I’ve read it’s going to be pretty much the same thing but they don’t have subtasks yet, so I haven’t made the switch.

  4. My house is constantly messy. I WISH I had a housecleaner. I’ll have to try this list because it’s honestly pretty bad and I basically just won’t answer the door if anyone tries to come unannounced. It doesn’t help though that our building is run by a slumlord who hasn’t replaced or even cleaned the carpets in years…we had to clean something (or someone?) else’s urine off the WALLS when we moved in. Don’t get bad credit kiddos!

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Ah! I don’t know if there’s any list that can fix that. I hope you’re able to get somewhere safer than that soon!

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