Want to get your house clean and company-ready but feeling overwhelmed by piles and dirty dishes and laundry? Well, help is here!
In this post, I give you a simple plan to get your house clean so you can host guests this weekend or just enjoy a family Christmas in a cleaner home!
This two-hour step-by-step plan will help you get all the major cleaning done so that your home looks presentable for your guests (and I’ve got a FREE printable checklist for you that you can print and hang on your fridge to keep you on track!):
Get your house clean in 2 hours: The plan!
1. Gather the laundry from the hampers and start a load of laundry (3 minutes).
2. Set the timer for 15 minutes and take a laundry basket and a trash bag and go through each room in your home. Quickly straighten, pick up, and put away everything that’s out of place. Put all trash in the trash bag and put everything that doesn’t go in that room in the laundry basket (15 minutes).
3. Put away all contents in the laundry basket and throw out the trash (5 minutes).
4. Head to the kitchen and load the dishwasher or hand wash the dishes (15 minutes).
5. Switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer and start another load in the washer (2 minutes).
6. Sweep or vacuum your kitchen floor and wipe down your countertops (10 minutes).
7. Take some toilet cleaner and go squirt it in all your toilets (2 minutes).
8. Take some window cleaner and spot clean the main glass windows/doors/mirrors (3 minutes).
9. Take a dust rag and quickly dust in the main rooms of your home (10 minutes).
10. Vacuum all the major traffic areas in your home (20 minutes).
11. Head back to the bathrooms wipe down the toilet, sinks, floor, and bathtub/shower. Change the towels (20 minutes).
12. Switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer and fold the clean laundry (15 minutes).
13. Light a candle or simmer some potpourri on the stove and enjoy your freshly-cleaned home!
Get Your House Clean: Free Downloadable Checklist
Like to cross off lists? Download the free 2-Hour House-Cleaning Checklist to keep you on track and remind you of what you’re supposed to be doing next. Now you have no excuse for getting distracted.
(We made two different styles so you can choose which you like best and print that one. You could even laminate it and hang it on your fridge if you think you might regularly use it!)
3 Tips for House-Cleaning Success
1. Set the Timer
A timer works wonders in helping me stay focused and work quickly. Plus, it makes it seem more like a game to see if I can finish my project before the timer goes off!
2. Turn on Some Music
It’s much more fun to work when you’re accompanied by cheerful, upbeat music. There are lots of great Christmas channels available that you can stream on Pandora or Spotify. (Here’s one I’ve been listening to recently.)
3. Stay Focused
Don’t worry about the next thing on the list or your overwhelming to-do list. Just focus on the project at hand until the timer goes off. Then, move on to the next project.
If your house is a complete disaster, it might need more than two hours. However, remember not to get too hung up on making it perfect.
Just work quickly and efficiently and do the best you can do in the time you have. Even if your house isn’t pristine after two hours of work, I’m sure it will at least look quite a bit better than it did when you started. 😉
Are you hosting guests for Christmas or traveling for Christmas? I’d love to hear! We’re traveling to Kansas this year (like usual) to be with both of our families. (We’re blessed that our parents live about 5 minutes away from each other!)
An Important Note:
My team is signing off today until Tuesday so we can all enjoy some unplugged time with our families. I’ll still be around on Instagram sharing little peeks into our family Christmas celebrations, if you don’t already follow me there. And I’ll be sharing my usual Peek Into Our Week post on Sunday.
But otherwise, it will be quiet here. We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and that you’re able to get some unplugged time, too.
I’ll be back starting next Tuesday sharing my list of my Top 10 Books Read in 2017, my Word of the Year for 2018, my 2017 Goal Update, my Goals for 2018, and some big changes coming to the blog in 2018 (If you like my real-life, practical, inspirational, and/or intentional types of posts, then think you’ll really like them!) See you then! 🙂
Frugally Blonde wrote a great post on how to make the most of after-Christmas deals.
Welcome to my weekly post where we take a break from money-related posts and I share about what I’m loving right now and give you a little peek into our life from the past week.
This year was rough as a mom. Really rough.
I told a friend earlier this week over lunch, “I feel like I’ve been in a war this year — fighting for my kids. And I have the battle scars from it.”
My kids have hurt others. They have been very hurt by others. And I’ve been hurt as a mom by words that have been spoken about my kids and my parenting — to my face and behind my back.
There’s so much more that I will share someday, when it’s the right time and my kids are older. But for now, suffice it to say that I’ve walked through some situations with my kids and dealt with some things that I never expected I’d be walking through or dealing with.
But through all the ups and downs and hurts and heartaches, I’m grateful. Not that my kids have struggled, but because all of this shook me out of my parenting ruts and taught me to parent in a brand-new way.
I’ve leaned into my kids and loved and listened like never before. I’ve slowed down the pace of my life to have much more space to just BE with them — to get to know them in a whole new way.
We’re closer than ever before. We have more honesty in our relationships than ever before. And I love my kids more deeply and fiercely than I ever have.
I’m so proud of my kids for how they have grown this year and the strength and wisdom I see in them as a result of what we’ve walked through. And I’m excited to see what 2018 brings for them!
As I mentioned last week, not only did we decide to enroll Kaitlynn in a little school starting in January (which she’s excited about!), but Kathrynne also recently made the decision to switch schools — in the middle of the year. Which is a pretty big decision for an almost-13-year-old!
It was a decision that was made with much thought, many conversations, and understanding that it was a big risk and big jump into the unknown.
It would mean leaving behind everything that was safe and known. Leaving behind her best friends. And willingly choosing to start all over again as the new girl.
But she knew that she wasn’t thriving at the school she was at. She was constantly stressed and anxious with the intense and rigorous workload at the school she was at and it was stealing her joy, causing her to have panic attacks, and keeping her up into the wee hours of morning. And as the semester went on, I saw it crushing her.
While a really rigorous academic load is great for some kids, it was too much for her personality and capacity right now. So we started talking about other options, including switching to a school with a completely different style of teaching. We told her that it was ultimately her decision… because either way, there’d be really hard things. Stay and be pretty downright miserable. Or switch schools and start all over again — not knowing how it will go.
We’re so proud of her for how she has processed through this with us and how she’s prayerfully and thoughtfully made this decision.
The unknown is scary. You have no idea where it will lead. But it could also be the gateway to amazing things you could have never dreamed of!
(Quote paraphrased from Hope Prevails by Dr. Michelle Bengtson.)
You know what one of the best decisions I ever made was? To be okay if Christmas looks very different at our house each year.
Every year, we all talk about our expectations for Christmas as a family. Each person gets to give their input on 1-2 activities they really want to make happen in December. And we choose a few Advent activities to engage in as a family. And that’s that.
It means that our Decembers stay quiet and simple and they are filled with the few things that are most important to each of us.
This year, in addition to a few Christmas parties, we’re doing a family advent countdown and the kids each have their own fun advent calendar, we’re blasting the Christmas music almost all.day.long (my choice!), we’re making some homemade gifts, we’re each picking a Christmas movie to watch as a family almost every night leading up to Christmas, and we’re leaving today to take a special family trip just the 5 of us for the next few days to some place the kids have never been to before (our family gift this year).
We might also do Christmas cookie decorating and Gingerbread houses. Or we might not. Those weren’t super high on people’s lists. And we might do a few other things. Or we might not.
This December, we’re especially focusing on leaning in and spending time together, because January is bringing some pretty big changes for us (new schools, no more homeschooling, a new routine, and closing on a new house).
It might not look like the way others are celebrating and it might not be fancy, but it’s suiting us well this year. And I think that’s good enough!
What We’ve Been Watching
We are trying to watch one Christmas movie every night (as mentioned above), so we’ve watched some fun Christmas movies this week: Home Alone 1 and Home Alone 2, Christmas With the Kranks, and Jingle All the Way 2. We also watched Despicable Me 3 (because one child couldn’t come up with a Christmas movie they wanted to watch this week!).
Still on our list (we haven’t watched these before, so I can’t speak to whether they are worth watching or not): White Christmas (yes, can you believe, I’ve NEVER seen this one!), Holiday Inn, The Christmas Card, Christmas Grace, Christmas Oranges, and Christmas in Connecticut.
Do you have any great Christmas movies to recommend that we should add to our list to watch?
What I’ve Been Reading
This week, I finished reading Missional Motherhood — a book that my mom gave me for my birthday. I’ve slowly been reading through it over the last few months and found it very inspiring and thought-provoking. One of the quotes from it that really stuck with me was: “What we always talk about reveals what is important to us. What we say and write reveals what we place our hope in.”
I also read through Home Management. It was a good refresher as I think about tweaking some of our routines and household chores for 2018.
What I’ve Been Working On
As we get closer to the end of December, I’ve been working on planning for 2018 — reviewing my goals from 2017, thinking through goals for 2018, mulling over my word of the year for 2018, planning for a fun new online live coaching and accountability group I’m launching in January (4 Weeks to a More Productive Life! More details coming soon!), and thinking through what worked and what didn’t work for blogging last year and some changes I’ll be making as a result.
For those who love these types of posts and have been asking about them, I’ve been working on them and plan to start sharing them — one per day — after Christmas. So stayed tuned for when I’ll be sharing my goals, a recap of last year’s goals, my word of the year for 2018 (I’m really excited about it!), the January accountability group/live coaching, my top 10 books from 2017, what I’m planning to read in 2018, and the blogging changes!
Links You Should Check Out:
- Looking for a last-minute Christmas gift idea that is minimalist? Check out my post on The Top 10 Subscription Boxes for Kids.
- Need some encouragement to develop better habits in 2018? Download this Free Printable Habit Tracker.
- I did a full review of the Sweet Life Planner last week. If you’re interested, you can watch the video here: My Full Review of the Sweet Life Planner
- I love how one of my followers is using a Bullet Journal for her 15 Days to a Healthier You journey. How inspiring is this?
Are you looking for unique non-toy gift ideas this year for Christmas? One unique idea you might consider is monthly subscription boxes!
My kids LOVE getting monthly subscription boxes, because it means they’ll get fun snail mail packages every month all year long!
Here are the top 10 subscription boxes for kids that our family has loved and/or my readers highly recommended…
KiwiCo is a monthly subscription service that offers kid’s educational projects, crafts, and activities on different themes. You can get a subscription for as low as $16.95 per month for the box — including shipping. This box will include 2-3 projects, all the materials to complete those projects, plus hands-on learning activities and more!
They offer monthly crate subscriptions for various ages: Koala Crate is for ages 3-4, Kiwi Crate is for ages 4-8, Tinker Crate is for ages 8-14+, and Doodle Crate is for ages 9-16+.
Our family LOVES KiwiCo and our kids have been receiving KiwiCo subscriptions as gifts for many years now! I highly recommend it. You can check out my honest review of KiwiCo for more information + get a coupon code for 30% off your first box.
2. Surprise Ride
Surprise Ride is a monthly subscription box that offers pre-planned educational activities for kids ages 6-11. They work with experts to curate a monthly adventure in a box. Each month, the box theme is a surprise and centers around something fun and educational like art, geography, outer space, food, and more!
We tried Surprise Ride for the first time about a year ago, and all three of our kids fell in love with these boxes. We ended up getting a subscription and it’s brought hours of fun and excitement to our home over the past year!
ipsy sends you a Glam Bag with five beauty products each month for $10 shipped. The five products are personalized to your preferences and profile, and you usually get at least 1-2 full size products.
This one has been a HUGE hit with our daughter Kaitlynn over the past year. She’s a little bit older and loves all things fashion and style, so she has had so much fun trying out the latest and greatest brands of cosmetics each month.
Pley is a monthly toy subscription box that aims to get kids to turn off their gadgets and turn on their imaginations by playing with creative toys.
They offer several different boxes:
- Disney Princesses: Each mystery box tells a story and includes 4-6 Princess figurines, accessories, and goodies to keep.
- National Geographic Kids: A monthly mission that explores our planet. Each box includes activities, toys, and accessories — including educational digital games.
- Hot Wheels: This every other month subscription has out-of-the-box stunts, new cars, and track pieces delivered in a reconfigurable box.
- Pley Toy Library: With this subscription, you can rent an educational toy each month. They have over 500 toys to choose from and a huge selection of brands — including LEGO, Minecraft, Nerf, and more!
We’ve done LEGO Pley in the past, and our kids really enjoyed it.
5. Little Passports
Little Passports creates award-winning subscriptions for kids that inspire them to learn about the world. They offer a variety of fun and engaging options for children ages 3-13 with several different payment plans.
There are four different subscriptions to choose from: Early Explorers, World Edition, USA Edition, or Science Expeditions.
Little Passports is one of the first subscription boxes my kids ever tried and they loved it! Although we haven’t used it in many years, I’ve heard it’s still just as great and many of our readers highly recommend it.
Kidpik is a personalized style service for young girls sizes 4-14. Think Stitch Fix, but for kids! If you have a pre-teen interested in fashion, this might be a great gift idea!
When you sign up for Kidpik, your child will receive a monthly custom fashion box of head-to-toe outfits. (You can also choose to only receive the box once or twice per season.) There are four general styles to choose from: girly, classic, trendy, or active.
Each box delivers 8 high quality items: 5 pieces of apparel, shoes, accessory, and free gift. This equates to a total of two to three head-to-toe outfit choices.
The best part? You only pay for what you decide to keep. Everything else can be returned for free. There is NO membership, styling, or shipping fee. It’s 100% commitment-free! And if you decide to keep the entire box, you get 30% off — which equates to paying about $12 per item.
Kidstir delivers a monthly themed cooking kit that has delicious recipes, kid-size tools, and fun games & activities.
With these monthly hands-on cooking kits, kids get to build their own cookbooks, try new foods, learn all about where food comes from, and gain important life skills in the kitchen.
If you have a child who loves to help out in the kitchen, Kidstir might be a really unique gift idea!
8. Green Kid Crafts
Green Kid Crafts is a monthly subscription service that delivers a monthly box of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) kits that spark the imagination and encourage discovery & learning in kids ages 2-10.
Each box comes with step-by-step instructions for 4-8 STEAM projects, a 12-page magazine, and eco-friendly materials to complete all of the projects.
Green Kid Crafts offers four different subscription boxes to choose from: Junior Discovery for ages 2-4, Discovery for ages 5-10, Literary Discovery that includes a book upgrade, and Sibling Discovery that has two sets of projects for siblings.
9. Groovy Lab in a Box
Groovy Lab in a Box is a monthly subscription service for kids ages 8+ that delivers a box full of everything needed to learn about and do hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experiments.
The idea behind this box is that kids are natural engineers. It encourages kids to have fun while developing problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Each Groovy Lab in a Box includes a 20+ page custom-designed lab notebook to guide kids through the engineering design process, plus everything needed to complete all of the activities, inquiry experiments, tests, and engineering design challenge.
Birchbox is very similar to ipsy, and you get a monthly box of 5 personalized beauty products for $10 shipped.
Birchbox offers more high-end brands with a little more control over your box (you get to pick one of your samples). Birchbox is mostly sample sizes, though, so you won’t get the full size products that you get with ipsy.
It’s perfect for tweens or teens looking to try out some new high-end brands that they might not be able to otherwise afford.
Looking for more Non-Toy Gift Ideas? Check these out: