Have you ever been in a situation where your house is a wreck and you need to get it in order quickly? That’s where the Flylady “crisis cleaning” comes to the rescue.
We’ve all been there, right? For whatever reason – illness, hectic schedule, etc. – things have gotten out of control and now company is coming. Or perhaps you just need to get a handle on things for your own sanity.
Now, keep in mind that this is just a temporary fix. If you don’t have regular routines for cleaning and upkeep it will all be a disaster again in short order.
It’s important to learn how to maintain the house on a regular basis rather than rely on marathon cleaning sessions whenever you can’t stand it anymore. But let’s face it…we all have those times when life throws us a curve ball and the house goes to pot. That’s what Crisis Cleaning is for.
Here is the step-by-step plan according to The FlyLady:
1. Get dressed to shoes, have your hair fixed and face washed and makeup on (if you use it).
(If you don’t wear shoes in the house, you can ignore that part but don’t tell The Flylady I said that!). Wash your face and apply makeup if you wear it. Fix your hair. You don’t have to look like Cinderella on her way to the ball but look presentable. You’ll feel better about yourself and really happy you did so if someone comes to your door. Put on some good music to work to and either light a candle, turn on a diffuser, or put some spices in a saucepan and simmer over low heat.
2. Set a timer and spend 15 minutes in the kitchen.
Start in the kitchen. If there are clean dishes in the dishwasher, put them away. Load dirty dishes. If you don’t have a dishwasher or have things that need to be hand-washed, fill the sink with hot, soapy water and get them washed. When the timer goes off, stop what you are doing and go to the living room.
3. Set the timer again and do 15 minutes of cleaning off the coffee table or picking up toys or newspapers.
Use a laundry basket to gather up items that belong elsewhere and a garbage bag for trash. Don’t overthink it – just hurry around the room gathering up what doesn’t belong. When the timer goes off, head back to the kitchen.
4. In the kitchen, set the timer for 15 more minutes and continue to work on clearing the counters.
Start at one side and work your way around. Put things away and wipe off counters. Do NOT start cleaning out cabinets or drawers. This is not the time for deep cleaning or reorganizing. The goal is to make things presentable, not perfect.
5. Now, take a break and walk around and look at what you have accomplished in just 45 minutes. Set a timer for 15 minutes and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and rest a few minutes. Then it’s back to work!
6. This 15 minute session is in the bathroom.
Clean the bathroom sink, swish the toilet, put dirty clothes and towels in the hamper. Don’t get distracted and start doing laundry.
7. When the timer goes off, you are back in the kitchen for 15 more minutes. After counters are cleared, sweep the floor and wipe countertops and appliances. Keep working until the timer goes off then go back to the living room.
8. In the living room, continue to pick up and put away. After everything is back in place, dust and vacuum.
9. Every 45 minutes, take a 15 minute break.
Rotate through the rooms every 15 minutes. Adapt to fit your home and your other duties but the basic idea is to spend 15 minutes at a time in a room then move to the next.
The reason this plan works is that 15 minutes is a reasonable amount of time to work on a room. You can make visible progress but it is short enough that you can’t get sucked into deep cleaning or an organizing project. You are forced to work on what is most visible.
Even if you only make one or two rounds you’ll have dealt with the most obvious messes in each room. But if you can set aside most of a day for “crisis cleaning” you’ll be amazed by how much better your home looks!
As The Flylady says: “The timer is your best friend. You can do this. Now turn off the computer and get to work!”
Cleaning house is always better with music. Here is my latest cleaning playlist:
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