Monday, April 30, 2012
How to Make Your House Look Clean in 15 Minutes or Less
I have a confession to make. On any given day I would rather cook than clean. This is the opposite case for my mother who de-stresses by cleaning bathrooms at all hours of the night. Me-I bake cookies & cupcakes, rice pasta with fresh pesto sauce, soothing homemade soups,... I'm not sure whether it's the mouthwatering aroma, the bliss of eating it all, or the fact that I am hacking a root vegetable into a million pieces with a large sharp knife that makes my worries of the day just melt away into a puff of nothingness. So it is without saying that my mom's and my house cleaning standards (and cooking methods) are slightly different.
With the house on the market I am finding that my usual practice of keeping things clean but lived in won't do if we have any chance of getting a contract. I am finding instead that I must always be ready for a showing at any moment which means I seriously have to up my anti from a weekly vacuuming/steam mopping & biweekly dusting to all of the above every few days.
But the other day I was seriously taken off guard. We hadn't had any showings scheduled for two weeks. The kids were up super late the night before for different reasons (one had a late afternoon nap and the other was breaking in a new tooth). I was exhausted, they were overtired and because of this combo the living room was in absolute shambles. While I prepared breakfast Naomi had happily cleared the bottom two shelves of the bookcase and Jenna was gleefully trying to "swim" through them as she laid on her belly and flailed her arms about, "Look mommy I'm Nim from the movie." I groaned as I placed Jenna's sunflower butter toast on her play table and glared at the TV playing the 36th showing of Nim's Island (her latest DVD favorite).
Just as Naomi attempted to chew the lamp cord for the 10th time in 15 minutes and Jenna was trying to dress our dog Mindy like her baby doll, I grew sick of it all, strapped the kids into the stroller and headed out the door for a belated morning walk. About a half mile from our house my cell phone rang.
"Hey Jamie this is (I Can't Believe Someone Wants to Look at Your House) Real Estate Agent." "I've got a client interested in viewing your house." "Apparently the agent interested in showing it thought your residence was unoccupied and already made the appointment." "Would 10:30 still be alright with you?" At first I was simply elated that someone wanted to see our house. "Sure!" I said enthusiastically.
"Great!" She said, " See you in 30 minutes!" WHAT?!!! I glanced at my phone clock and panicked remembering the toys and books strewn about the house and the piles of dishes in the sink. Tightening my grip on the double stroller I booked it as fast as my two outta shape mama legs could carry me in the direction of our home. "WWWHHHHEEEEE! Faster Mommy, FASTER!!!" Jenna was in her glory!
I tore through the front door, stuck Naomi in her crib and then began to bark orders, tossing toys into their bins in a mad flurry as Naomi wailed from the other room. "Mama! I don't wanna clean I want ice cream!" Jenna protested. If it were possible to shoot fire from your eye sockets this would have definitely been my moment, "Clean up your toys NOWWWW!" I insisted as I dashed to the kitchen and started to load breakfast dishes into the dishwasher only to realize that the dishwasher was clean. Was there time to unload and reload? I glanced at the microwave: 10:20 a.m. NO! I'd have to hide them. But where? Ah Ha! The microwave...It's a counter top version-not included in the house-they won't have to look at it. Where else can I hide stuff?
Before I knew it the dirty dishes were stacked and concealed in the microwave, the bill pile that I was preparing to sort through was whisked from the dining room table and shoved in the top of Jenna's desk. I crammed the rest of the toys into the toy box, and threw the clean clothes I was folding on the couch back into the dryer. Spray, spritz, splash the bathroom mirrors and counters were wiped clean with the hand towel and a new one was replaced. I rolled the top sheets of the beds into a ball, shoved it under the pillows along with the girls pajamas and pulled the comforters over the heap, forming a crease in all the right places. A super speed dust mopping of the house, I threw the mop into the shed, popped the dog into the crate, the kids in their car seats, and pulled out of the driveway just as the real estate agent pulled in. It was close but we made it.
As far as I know things wen't well. Not sooo well that we got an offer on the house but hopefully it sparked their interest. But I've gotta tell you the experience was a little too close for comfort. I'd hate to have a repeat of that day and a last minute scramble to make our home look picture perfect so I've really upped the anti and make sure that the beds and dishes are all ready before we leave the house and that the vacuuming and bathrooms are done the night before. Now Mike is delighted to come home every day with things in absolute perfect shape, floors polished, toys in their just so place. Must say that selling our home has it's benefits. Never has my house looked so clean. Mike is in his glory and my mom is super proud that her prediction that I would "Grow up and keep the house like a pigsty" seems to be fading into the past.
Posted by Jamie at 7:21 PM