Quick Cleaning Tips

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Quick Cleaning Tips

Tawra had to show her house a couple more times this weekend, which is a good thing, but that also meant more quick cleaning and preparing the house to show. We used a couple of cleaning tricks that I thought you guys might be interested in. These work well whether you are showing your house to move or you have someone call saying, “We are 5 minutes away and coming for a visit.”

  • Sweep your front porch. It is the first thing people see when coming to your home and the only thing many people see of you and your home. People used to sweep their porches every day, mostly because they didn’t have “yards” with grass  so the porches could get messy quickly. They also spent more time out on their porches. A porch was like another room of the house so people kept them clean. If you can’t sweep it every day, do it at least once a week.
  • Tawra cleaned the bathroom with some nasty smelling stuff just a few minutes before the people were supposed to arrive. It was awful and the smell wouldn’t go away. I sprayed some Pledge on the wooden door of the bathroom. It really helped. It was the first thing they would smell when entering the bathroom. Now we use our homemade all purpose cleaner which doesn’t have a smell.

    Certain smells make a house smell like it has been cleaned. Furniture polish is one of those smells. I always spray some on the piece of furniture right by the front door. This also makes people think you were just cleaning.

  • Baskets – We couldn’t clean without them. The kids normally have a cabinet to put their shoes and backpacks by the front door, but right now these items are just lined up by the door. So we have  a laundry basket there and when we’re getting the house ready to show, we toss everything  within a 6 foot area of the door into that basket. Not only does it help for quick clean up but when the people have left we know where to find everything that was in that area.
  • Speaking of finding things. When we first started cleaning to show houses, we would toss things into any little hole we could find. Now we try to “hide” things close to where they are used. Previously, I would get calls for hours after we showed the house from someone asking if I knew where this or that item had been stashed. The cat and dog eat by a dresser, so I just slip their bowls and food into one of the dresser drawers. The toaster and other odds and ends on the kitchen counter get tossed into the dish drainer and are carried to the garage, where they are neatly covered with a towel or blanket.
  • Surface clean only the rooms the company will be seeing. Quickly gather up things like dirty socks, last night’s ice cream bowl and anything else that looks really bad.

    If you don’t have time to pick up all the kids toys or magazines, that’s okay. These items are “everyday living” mess that are to be expected in most homes. It’s the pile of cat barf or teenage son’s stinky socks you will want to remove. Even though those are normal everyday things for some people, it isn’t the type of thing company likes to see.

  • In the bathroom, simply run a rag over the sink and counter, shut the shower curtain or door and straighten the towels and rugs. Voila! You should be good to go. If you have clutter all the time like on the counter by the sink and you often expect company, you might consider keeping an empty basket under the sink to dump things into to hide.

Wipe off the counter and stove and call it good. People will think they just caught you in the middle of doing the dishes.

  • Last, but not least- when all else fails… I read a joke many years ago where a woman’s house was a mess and she saw their pastor walking up the sidewalk. She ran to the closet, pulled out her vacuum and placed it in the middle of the floor. Quickly, she tied on an apron and a scarf around her hair and answered the door. When the pastor walked in, he thought he had caught her in the middle of spring cleaning and that was why the place was such a mess. : ) : )



  1. Benita says

    I like to keep my porches swept because I figure it keeps my floors cleaner too. Your joke reminded my of something I once heard Phyllis Diller say…something about always keeping a supply of “Get Well Soon” cards that she would put out when she saw company coming! I like your idea better!

    • says

      Good point Benita. I have done that too because it really does make a difference on tracking in things. Thanks for reminding us. I also do that in the house. I try to vacuum all my floors which lead from one to another at the same time so they don’t get tracked on.

  2. rose says

    funny how this was posted today.. just to update everyone on my decluttering spring/fall cleaning (taking so long that it is now considered fall cleaning)… hehehhee 😀 …
    well, one room is 3/4 done so far… ugh! … so much to get rid of… and lots of little things too that i found in a box… stuff from when i went day after xmas sale shopping… all those little soaps and what nots! … ugh… i reboxed them and decided to save and give to my mom when i see her … everything else went into the trash… my son was “helping” me .. “mom we need this!” .. “john we havent used it/touched it/or even thought about it since we moved into this house on sept 1, 2004! … its time for it to leave “the nest”… “but mom!” “no john no!… of course i won! … hehehee :D… i told him to go and be night nurse to his dad instead… poor kid! 😀 … hehehehehhe :D…
    hopefully by tomorrow i will finish this one room and start another… its going sooo slow… but i knew this would happen…
    i love the suggestions that have been posted … will have to try out some of them…
    just to share: i baked a cake tonight without using any eggs… we ran out of eggs 3 days ago and well, wanted cake for dessert (b4 the exp date passes by)… it was ok… alot sweeter than if we used eggs … but not as fluffy… i had some cream cheese frosting that made it even sweeter… but oh well… have to use up what we have… hopefully friday will come soon so we can go shopping… good thing i have lots of stuff stored (food pantry) … so i know we wont go hungry…
    also wanted to share .. found 3 cans of sliced potatoes… drained them, rinsed extra well ,,, added chopped onions, garlic salt and paprika… and fried up in a little bit of oil … tasted pretty good.. my daughter had some of the cans herself and she added some cooked bratwurst (she cooked it first and then chopped it up) and some green pepper that was getting ready to go bad in the fridge… she said she got the idea from that little old lady cooking with clara on you tube (but i think clara used hot dogs or eggs, cant remember tho) …
    hubby is doing ok.. he has a really bad cold these days but other than that he is fine..
    i love that pic! … at first i thought it was lucille ball…
    hopefully your house will sell soon tawra…
    how are the kids doing now that they are back in school? .. fine i hope..
    the neighbors kids have been grumbling .. they wanted to start back next week instead…
    the weather here hasnt been too too hot (its hot but not like b4).. hopefully fall will come early this year again… last yr it was soooo nice … 😀 …
    our one dog we rescued over 10 yrs ago, is finally blind in one eye… its totally blue and the other eye is turning blue too… and he is getting so sickly too .. cant afford meds for him (cant afford meds for us either) but b4 he gets really bad he will be put down… he had a really good life with us for the past 10 yrs.. his first 2 werent all that great but he is spoiled and we love him…
    other than this, we are fine…
    thanks for letting me post about my life these days… i appreciate it…
    and thanks for the help in the deep cleaning and hte reminders… i greatly appreciate that … more than you ever know… 😀
    i will write more soon 😀
    rose 😀

    • says

      Rose just in case you or anyone else ever needs it I think if you run out of eggs you can substitute about 1/4 cup mayo for each egg you need. Years ago my older neighbor gave me a recipe like this and I remember reading that years ago they would use mayo when there was a shortage of eggs. It’s worth a try if you are desperate. Here’s one recipe:

      Chocolate Mayo Cake
      2 cup flour
      1/2 cup cocoa
      1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
      1/4 tsp. salt
      1 cup sugar
      3/4 cup mayo
      1 cup water
      1 tsp. vanilla

      Cream sugar, mayo, water and vanilla. Sift other ingredients and at to creamed mixture. Pour into a flour and greased 9×13 pan or round cake pans. Bake 350 degrees for 25 mins.

      PS Keep plugging along on your house. We will all have to have a celebration when you get done. : ) : )

  3. rose says

    thanks for posting about the mayo cake jill .. i will have to try that next time .. 😀 ..
    or do what i could have done .. just add 1 can of the pumpkin puree instead of the oil, eggs, water, etc…
    i told hubby i need to make a pumpkin cake too .. he said the kids will love it .. and share with the neighbors who help us .. i agreed ..
    take a white cake mix and add the 1 can of pumpkin puree to it and then bake as usual .. frost with cream cheese icing…
    wish u were here to share with me jill .. and a pot of tea would be good too .. 😀 😀 ..
    thanks for the encouraging words .. 😀

  4. says

    I am cheating a bit on one cleaning job.
    I have open shelves on the wall beside and above the stove. Most of the things are stored in large plastic containers. They tend to get the lids really greasy and yucky but the sides are not a problem.
    The other day I pulled one down and it was just gross on the lid. I was trying to find a new container so I could wash the old one. Didn’t find one but I found a lid that was left when the container it belonged to died. I just switched the lids.
    Figure I will keep doing this in between major cleanings. Just have to remember to save the lids.

    1/4 cup of water or any liquid will replace 1 egg.
    I rarely use eggs since I found that trick about 6 years ago.

  5. rose says

    my sis in law does this too grandma .. and what she does is b4 she puts the containers back on that shelf she wraps the containers in either a plastic bag or 2 (using the plastic bags from walmart) or she wraps them in saran wrap .. this way, if the container and/or lid would have gotten yucky and greasy, all she does is replace a new bag or wrap of saran wrap (thus saving her time of dealing with the yucky/greasy stuff) …

  6. Jen says

    My Grandma, who lived on a farm, would sweep her front porch and walkway everyday. She would finish the breakfast dishes, feed the leftovers to the cats outside and sweep the porch. When I asked her why, she said “You never know who will come to visit and you want to make a good first impression!” I think of her every time I sweep my front porch. :) Thanks for the memory.

  7. Gayla T says

    I sold real estate for many years and have heard a lot of hints. Don’t pile stuff in the dishwasher to hide them. Buyers often look in there to see if it is rusted out or corroded due to hard water. I once had someone open it to find it filled with laundry that smelled of dirty socks. Yuk! Run a lemon, lime or orange peel down the garbage disposer and it will make the kitchen smell great. Quickly bring a cup of water with cinnamon or cloves to a boil then turn off the heat for another great smell. I had a client who mixed up a batch of bread dough for cinnamon rolls when she knew far enough ahead of time that there was a showing. She would leave them to rise with a clean tea towel over them and that smell sold her house. She then had rolls to bake ready when she got back in the house and the kids were hungry. The washer and dryer were always a safe place to hide things in a hurry. I don’t think I ever had a client look in there as almost everyone takes those with them when they move. Nothing smells better than fresh paint and that smell lingers as well as the paint brightening up a room. Leave heavy curtains and blinds open or even take them down as much as possible as sunshine sells. So do clean sparkling windows. I always tell people to take down family photos but hang up framed diplomas and honorary certificates. Everyone wants to live in the home of someone important. I know it sounds silly but it is true. Otherwise, you are going to have to pack anyway so pack up everything that makes your home yours. The buyer have to be able to see the house in thier mind as theirs. Leave 5 items on a mantle, 3 on a table and nothing on the counter. The exception is a pretty fresh plant on a counter and maybe one other item like a small basket.Do not leave a candle burning. There has been so much publicity about candle wax residue on walls that it is not a good thing to even leave a candle out. If you have wood floors under carpet, pull that carpet out unless it is almost new. If you have any kind of animal smells or stains you must replace the flooring. I could go on forever but there are websites about this. These are just a few of the thins that stand out in my memory. However, there is a saying among realtors that buyers are liars. LOL It just means that they may say that they don’t want a house on a corner and then see one they like and buy it. I have had that happen a lot of times. Curb appeal is very important and that means no stains on the driveway, fresh paint on doors and window trim, dead plants replaced and no toys in the front yard. If you are not leaving something don’t let a buyer see it. I’ve even had lawn mowers written into a contract. The same with bed spreads that match drapes. If you leave it out, have a price in mind as to what you will sell it for. It’s a crazy business and anything can make or break a deal.

  8. Mary Jane says

    A tip that is similar to the ‘sweep the porch’ tip, is to sweep the kitchen and/or dining room floor, even if it is just around the edges at the baseboards. Apparently people’s eyes naturally tend to settle there if they are in a room long enough, and of course, debris tends to settle there first. My tip is for anyone who regularly uses all cloth or cotton floor rugs that need to be washed regularly. I have a large woven one in my kitchen that is useful for catching drips from the sink, and crumbs from the counters. Since it doesn’t have a rubberized backing, I just flip it over to the other side when it looks like it needs a good wash. Twice as much wear, before it needs to be laundered. Most of my scatter rugs are crocheted from strips of expired old t-shirts.

  9. Myra says

    Enjoyed these tips. Remember Joan Rivers saying one time that when she sees someone coming, she throws sheets over everything and tells the people that the painters are coming in the morning.

    Just a little funny for the day.


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