I have a confession to make.
I abhor cleaning my house. I love the smell and the feel of a freshly cleaned house. However, that status is almost impossible to attain. I am scrubbing away in one room of the house while my adventurous 5 year old is playing (making a huge mess) in the other room. Or, I have the kitchen all picked up and then one of my teens decides to make just one more snack! It’s impossible. I’m sure you mamas can relate.
My four children and I are also in constant disagreement about what constitutes as “picking up after oneself.” They will gently swipe down the counters, missing most of the mess, and sweep all the crumbs onto the floor (which I probably just swept). Additionally, I have the hardest time convincing them that while they are in school, a team of magical fairies does not sweep in to make sure the counters and the floor are visible again. It is the work of one overwhelmed, fed-up mama!
It simply takes too much effort and time to make my house look decent before the little hooligans I live with mess it up again. Therefore, I’ve created some simple tricks to fake my way through home making. This way, everyone is happy. The house is not a war zone and this mama has time to do the things she actually enjoys.
- It’s important to let your toilets marinate. I have 4 men/boys living here so to say the toilets can be gross, is an understatement. My solution is to pour cleaner in and around the toilet, and let it sit there. Probably until I remember that I was in the middle of cleaning the toilets (or when I desperately need to use one). Then, after all the nastiness has thoroughly soaked away, I quickly wipe down the insides and outside. Toilets done!
- The sense of smell can be misleading. When it comes to camouflaging a clean house from a dirty one, a pretty smell works wonders. Company coming over? Be sure to wipe down the front door and the main entry way with a dryer sheet or something else that smells pleasant. I also keep deodorizing spray in every room my teens spend time in because they usually emit a smell that both burns the nose and defies explanation.
- Use distractions if dinner is running late. The sense of smell is also a great trick to use when it comes to dinner time. Time get away from you and your hungry husband is due home any moment? Simply throw some onions into a pan and saute those babies in butter or olive oil. He will walk in the door excited for the home cooked meal the smell is promising. In the meantime, toss some frozen chicken onto a cookie sheet. Bake for set time, and when they are done- assemble a delicious meal of semi-homemade chicken Parmesan sandwiches or another easy concoction. Save the caramelized onions for another easy meal of quesadillas or hamburgers. When husband says, “I thought I smelled onions.” Laugh and say, “Everything always smells like onions to you!” Caution: this trick should only be used every other week or they might catch on.
- Piles are easy to move. I am a habitual piler (someone who organizes stuff by putting them into piles). I inherited this lovely trait from my mom. So when company is due any moment, I toss my piles into a big bag and hurl the bag into the garage, or another hidden spot. Just remember to go through the bag for real once the coast is clear. Otherwise, several months later you will stumble on your stash and find months old expired coupons, important field trip permission slips, and bills that you swore you paid.
- If all else fails, vacuum the floors. This wonderful machine does all the work for you. A quick swipe of the carpets or hard wood floors, and they will instantly appear cleaner. If you vacuum up a small toy or a sock, look at it like an effort to cut down on the clutter. The vacuum attachments are also useful in dusting or at least making it appear that you did. It’s really funny how on days when I slave away cleaning out drawers or cabinets, or wiping down all the surfaces, my efforts are completely unnoticed. However, on days that I vacuum… the moment everyone walks in the door, they say the house looks nice. It’s kind of like when I’m wearing sweat pants, no makeup and bed head, and my husband tells me, “You look pretty.” It does not make any logical sense, but I no longer question it.
I hope these tips will help you clean or cook more efficiently in your homes. Or if nothing else, I hope you laughed! Now that I’ve given away all my prized secrets on faking it, I might actually have to clean for real. But, you better believe my husband or my in-laws will never see this post!