Cleaning For Company

This is a guest post by Kathleen, a friend of mine in real life. Thanks for sharing, Kathleen! :)


I had the most brilliant idea recently. No, really, it was. Well, is, I should say. You’ll think so too. Honest. It had to do with getting help with cleaning the house.


I don’t know about you, but I stress out a bit before a big event happens in our home. For one reason, hospitality is NOT a spiritual gift or talent of which I possess. My poor mom, of whom is Martha Stewart incarnate, must be saddened that she did not pass on to me her love for pretty things in the home. I plum missed out on that fabulous gene. Sorry, Mom.


The other reason is I’m not a detail-girl. Mostly, I just don’t see the dust and cobwebs…that is until there are guests in our home. Then, the veil seems to lift mysteriously and it practically stabs me in the eyes. ‘How did I never see it before?’ Oh, and then I am thoroughly embarrassed. I’m sure you’ve never experienced such a phenomenon yourself.


All that to say, cleaning house is a major event for me. I want to make sure the details are addressed. And since I don’t SEE them, I have to really stop and look for them. It’s a strain on the brain, folks.


And then, of course, I would really like the family to help out with this monstrous feat. Okay, I am exaggerating a tiny bit (our house is only 1400 square feet). Because I live with people of the men group (husband and two sons), they don’t see the dust either. Let’s just say, we’re not a good combination when it comes to a neat house.


When it’s time to spruce up the place, all three men come to me to ask what they are to do next. And then my already taxed to the max brain warns me of its impending doom (it’s gonna blow!) Too many details. The trees! The trees! There are too many. I can’t see the forest.


I had a history professor in college that had the nerve to say that I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, which was exactly the truth at the time. I think she actually saved my life. It was then that I figured out why History was difficult to study. I was trying to cram in all the names, dates, locations, but they had nothing to stick themselves to. I needed to first have the jist of what was going on globally, per se, before I could understand the local stuff. –Oh, how I do digress. There is an education blog in there dying to get out.


Back to the helpful men in my life. The other drain on my brain is wondering if they truly know what I mean by ‘pick up the Living Room’. I’ll be very vulnerable for a moment here, but I tend to get a bit bossy and rather grumpy if they don’t pick up the room to my expectations. Yes, it can get ugly at my house. Very ugly.<sigh>


So, one day before the grey matter had a chance to expand beyond it’s boundaries, I had a bit of genius strike. What if I made little cards with detailed instructions for each job that needed to get done? The family would no longer have to ask me, ‘Now what?” They would then only need to grab a little card from the pile and follow its detailed instructions.


I would no longer have to stop in the middle of what I was cleaning to muster enough energy and brain power to think of what to have them do next. And then I could gather up all the little clean up cards and save for the next time we had company. I would only have to think once. Brilliant!


And my friends, just recently, two of my men went through all of those cards in one hour. Oh, yes. You read that correctly. My house was shiny clean, top to bottom in 60 minutes. And not one person had to ask me a question. It was almost as if since they knew there was an end to those cards, they worked harder. There was no lagging. It was a beautiful sight to behold and a blessing beyond belief to me.


And so, I just had to share it with you.


By the way, I set up the ‘Cleaning For Company Cards’ on our white board in the kitchen. It think the fam decided they liked the visual of seeing those cards disappear as jobs were completed.


Read more from Kathleen here! Warning: she is highly entertaining!

Question: What are your tips and tricks for quick and thorough cleaning?

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This entry was posted on Saturday, March 2nd, 2013 at 8:36 am and is filed under Homemaking, Lifestyle, Parenting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • Felicia French LaRue

    I love this idea. I have 3 boys and a husband, so I understand how it goes. We have a system that works pretty well, but it is not this detailed – I may steal this one on occasion. Thank you!

  • theholts

    Oh – I need your cards! Would you please share your list to “To-Do’s” so my family could have some “Ta-Da’s” without step-by-step instruction from Mom?! While I realize our homes are different, we seem so much alike that your list would be a great starting place for me! I love your magnetic whiteboard! Congratulations on training your sons! Their wives will thank you!!

    • Kathleen Peters

      You know, I’ve been considering blogging about my list because I wondered if that might be helpful. :-) Well, now that you are a woman in need, I have a reason to do it. I would love to share my list. And I’d love to hear any that you end up adding. Come on back to my blog here in the next couple of days, and I’ll have the list for you. P.S. The magnetic whiteboard was a purchase made at Office Depot a few years back.

  • Melody Leatherman Bold

    brilliant! Thank you for sharing…now I have to try to come up with detailed cards that my kiddos can understand all by themselves.

  • Shay

    I typed up sheets for each zone or cleaning area that list out in simple but detailed language on what “clean” meant to ME (because there is a BIG difference in definitions around here). If they can answer Yes to every question listed, then they can turn the light off and consider it clean. I can simply inspect and refer them to the bullet point they missed. The guides, be it cards, sheets or charts provide a measure of consistency and accountability for every one and takes the guesswork out of the vagueness of “clean”

  • Shawn

    I identify with you on the not seeing it as well as the rest of my family not seeing it. I also get grumpy when they don’t meet my expectations and feel like a drill sergent when I have to stand over them and make sure they do the job adequately.

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