Even the best of homemakers can end up with a messy home. Perhaps there were unexpected guests, a sickness in the family, or some sort of emergency. There are times in a homemaker's life when she can't put so much focus into cleaning her home, because something else has garnered her time. Through the years, homemakers around the world over have had some sort of rescue plan to bring at least a semblance of tidiness and calm in their home environments. The following is just one of those plans, adapted for the modern homemaker.
1. Gather and sort all the laundry that has been sitting. Place the sorted laundry in the laundry area, and get the first load started. Set a timer to let you know when you should reboot your laundry - or get the next load going. While your laundry is going, you can move on to the next steps.
2. What are the two tasks that you are in danger of falling behind on? Aren't they laundry and dishes? You've already started conquering the laundry monster, so now it's time to move on to the dishes. If you have a dishwasher, use it. If not, set out a drying rack or towel, and get the sink(s) ready to wash your first load of dishes. If you have many dirty dishes, then you may find this overwhelming, so before you do your dishes, do the following:
- Clear your counter space by the sink. If you need to, move everything to the kitchen table, or even to the floor. Be careful - don't trip. Stack all of the soiled plates in a neat stack, and next to that, stack the bowls and containers. Next, line up all of the cups and glasses, and then put all of the silverware and serving spoons into a pile. Make a remaining stack or pile of miscellaneous dishes. Have these stacks lined up neatly by your sink.
Pile the dirtiest dishes into your sink first, with the cleanest looking on the top. This way, the dirtier dishes are exposed to water longer, and get a bit of a soak while you wash the cleaner ones. Pre-wash each dish, and then load it neatly into your dishwasher, or hand wash and rinse each dish, and set it out to dry. As soon as the dishwasher is full, or your drying rack is full, leave the rest of the dishes until the timer for your laundry goes off, or until the dishwasher is done. Then, reboot your laundry, put away your clean dishes, and wash your next load of dirty dishes.
NOTE: You'll be rebooting your laundry and washing a new load of dishes each time your timer goes off, until your laundry and dishes are done. When you are not rebooting laundry or washing dishes, then that is the time to work on steps 3-9. Pile all clean laundry onto your bed, and you can put it away after you've finished this Emergency House Rescue.
3. What are the three top odor producers in a home? They are 1) dirty laundry, 2) dirty dishes, and 3) stinky trash. An important part of homemaking is having a home that doesn't smell bad. You have the laundry and dishes under control, so step three should focus on tackling the trash. Go to each room in the house, and throw away any trash. Grab those empty snack boxes, bottles, wrappers and others, and put them all into a trash bag. After that, take the trash out, and put fresh trash liners in all of your trash receptacles.
4. Depending on the extent of the mess in your house, you may see little to no difference. Step four is the step that usually makes the biggest visual impact. The odor issue is handled, so now let us move on to the visual issues. For some people, this step may take the longest, but it is so important. Go into your living room and kitchen, and put things away. Everything should have a home. If you don't have places to put things, then you either need to reorganize, or get rid of some of your stuff. When we have too much stuff, we become a prisoner to it. It starts getting a hold of our lives. Too much stuff can determine how often we have guests. Too much stuff and clutter can even dictate our own health, to an extent - emotional and physical. Do the kitchen and living room first, since those are your main rooms. After that, move on to the bathrooms, bedrooms, and then all other rooms in the house. Doing it in this order will show you how much you are getting done, and will get your house more visually ready for any unexpected guest, should one stop by while you are in the midst of your house rescue.
5. If you, or anyone who lives in or visits your home has allergies, then this step is extra important. It's time to dust. Grab a duster, and dust all horizontal surfaces in your home (except for counters, sinks, and surfaces that should be wiped down). If you have ceiling fans, don't forget to dust the top of those fan blades.
6. By the time you've reached this step, you should find your house a MUCH better place again, but now we must get control of it on a deeper level. We need to combat and prevent bacterial growth, as well as feeding sources for pests. This step will also make your home smell fresh, if it doesn't smell so already. Grab a spray bottle of your favorite multi-purpose cleaner, and a clean rag, and get ready to do some wiping down. Start in the kitchen, wipe down your sink, counters, and table. If you see messy spots on your fridge, stove, and other appliances, clean those off while you're at it. Then move on to the bathrooms- clean their sinks and counters. If you see messy spots in the tubs/showers, quickly wipe those while you are in there. Don't spread dangerous bacteria. Change your cleaning rag as needed, and always wipe down the kitchen before the bathrooms.
7. What's more annoying than looking in a mirror, and noticing that the mirror is covered in smudges and spots? Grab your cleaner, and a soft towel, and clean those mirrors. While you're at it, you might as well clean the screens of televisions and computers.
8. Toilet time... Put some toilet bowl cleaner into all toilets, and let it sit while you use your spray cleaner and paper towels to wipe down the seat, lid, back, and base of the toilet. Then use a toilet brush, and clean the insides of those commodes. Shiny commodes really bless a bathroom, don't you think?
9. Can you believe it - you are almost done! Sweep or vacuum your kitchen and bathrooms, and then vacuum all carpeted rooms in your home. After that, do a quick mopping on all hard floors, and you are d-o-n-e.
10. Here is the best step of all - walk through your house, and admire all of the work you have done. It may not be as clean as you normally keep it, but this wasn't a deep clean, it was a Messy House Rescue. Your house looks a lot better now, then it did before, doesn't it? Use this rescue whenever your housework gets away from you, and you need to re-establish homemaking sanity quickly.
HELPFUL TIP: On crisis days, you may want to have supper cooking in a slow cooker all day, so that you don't have a what's for supper scramble in the evenings. Serve simple breakfasts and lunches on these days, such as cream of wheat for breakfast, and tuna sandwiches for lunch. Don't forget to include fresh fruits and vegetables with your meals. For a simple crock pot supper, throw in some meat, such as poultry or red meat, and toss in some onions, carrots, and potatos. Set your slow cooker on 'low,' and let it slowly cook for 6-8 hours throughout the day.