FLYing Lesson: Crisis Cleaning

“In a few days, we have a ton of company coming, what am I to do?”

Everyone has had this moment. You have company coming to visit, your home is a wreck, and you don’t have nearly enough time to clean it up. Below is an explanation of how to do a crash marathon cleaning session the FlyLady way, but be warned: without the routines, your home will be trashed again in a day, because you don’t have any habits to maintain it.

FlyLady has also created a podcast you can listen to on BlogTalkRadio where she walks you through the process. Listen to FlyLady’s Crisis Cleaning podcast.

  1. Get dressed to shoes, have your hair fixed and face washed and makeup on (if you use it). Don’t question this — just do it. Put on some good working music. Not too fast, just slow and steady. Peppy, but not aerobic. Light a candle that has a good scent or put on some spices on to boil on a very low heat.
  2. Set a timer and spend 15 minutes in the kitchen. We are going to start in our kitchens, because as the kitchen goes, so does the rest of the house. If your sink is not clean and shiny, then shine it first, then you can fill the sink up with hot soapy water and start to clear off the left and right counters. Empty the dishwasher. 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 tables or picking up toys or newpapers. Concentrate on one thing, not all of it. Get a laundry basket and put the things that don’t belong in the living room in the basket. Take a garbage bag with you, too. Start throwing away the trash. Don’t get caught up in the guilt we have about recycling this stuff. Just bag it up for now. As you get your home in order, there will be plenty of time to recycle. For now, we are focusing on getting the home presentable. You can’t do this if you are hyperfocusing on sorting and recycling, so get over this perfectionism attitude. 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. Don’t get sidetracked and attempt to clean out a cabinet. We’re only doing surface cleaning here. We’re making your home presentable, not perfect.
  5. Now, take a break and walk around and look at what you have accomplished in just 45 minutes. Set the timer for 15 minutes and drink a cup of tea or coffee or whatever you love and just relax. When the timer goes off, you are back in work mode for 15 more minutes.
  6. This 15 minute session is in the bathroom. Clean the bathroom sink first, swish the toilet, then pick up towels and dirty clothes and put them in the hamper. Once again, don’t get sidetracked and start a load of laundry. You need a clean bathroom before you need clean clothes! The laundry will come later.
  7. When the timer goes off, you are back in the kitchen for 15 more minutes. After the counters are cleared, sweep the floor and wipe down the countertops and appliances. We can do anything in 15 minutes! Keep working until the timer goes off. Then you go to the living room once again.
  8. In the living room, continue to pick up and put away. Once everything is in its place, vacuum and dust.
  9. Every 45 minutes, take a 15 minute break. Rotate around the house every 15 minutes. Do you understand this?

Adapt this schedule to fit your physical limitations and children’s needs. But, you get the picture: stay focused on one job for 15 minutes, then move onto another. You are going to be so surprised at how much you get done in a day’s time!

The timer is your best friend. You can do this. Now turn off the computer and get to work!

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