Simplify Your Mom Game: Cleaning Tips for the Slightly Unclean

If there is one surefire way to ensure our friendship dies a fiery death it’s showing up at my house unexpected.

Instant unfriend.

And, I’m not talking about on Facebook.  I’m talking about in real life.  Only, like it’s more of a conscious decoupling that only I know about.  Because I hate confrontation.  And I would never unfriend someone to their face for being inconsiderate (I mean, I know you didn’t mean it, so we’re cool, sorta, not really, okay fine).

So, basically, if you show up at my house sans phone call and expect to be invited in, even briefly, know that I will be smiling in your face while saying vile things about you in my head.  And wondering if there are any dirty undies hanging from the ceiling fan in the kitchen.

Dude.  It happens.

Mimi thinks I am overreacting to the whole unannounced guest thing.

But that’s because (until now) she doesn’t know how I’m living because I am smart enough to push everything scary into the closet before she comes.

The Dudes explode from their clothing when they come home from school.  They are down to underwear and standing inside of the open fridge in five minutes flat.  Like Theo, on the Cosby show, only smaller and nakeder.


Nakedness and hallway filth escalates.  Instead of just backpacks and jackets I get to battle wet towels and swim trunks.  There is little modesty and zero shame in this house, clearly.

For people who have a mud room I openly hate you, probably no big deal.  But, for people like me, who have nothing more than a hallway, things get really ugly, really quickly…

entryway design

The space from the front door to the kitchen is possibly the scariest space in my house.  Mostly because we have a glass door so every single person, UPS man to mother-in-law, gets to see what I’m working with the moment they step foot on our porch.

My business is literally in the street!

I recently decided to designate this area as the Not-Really-a-Friend-Zone.

The area you can see from the walkway remains clean at all times and uninvited guests are swooped immediately into the-room-no-one-ever-goes-into-anyway aka the dining room.

We keep the not-really-a-Friend-Zone clean at all times (The Dudes are still in the breaking-of-the-spirit phase when it comes to not leaving things lying about here) so the UPS man doesn’t call CPS on us.

The not-really-a-Friend-Zone is my answer to the surprise guest.

Here are some other super easy cleaning tricks to help out for when people give you short notice about their impending visit (Note to I’m-on-my-way-ers: You’re only just a hair above the Surprise-I’m-here-ers, know that).

Simplify Your Mom Game: Quick Cleaning Tips to Make Your Unclean House Look and Smell Clean for Surprise Guests

1.  Windex your glass things.  Mirrors, windows, photo frames.  It gets rid of dust and spots at eye level and it makes your house smell all fresh and stuff.

2.  Designate a not-really-a-Friend-Zone.  Then, keep it clean always.  If you fall behind, ignore all other areas of your home and focus on that when you get wind that someone is planning to drop by unexpectedly.  The rest of your house can look like a bomb hit it so long as the not-really-a-Friend-Zone is pulled together and you keep your not-really-a-Friend in that zone.

3.  Bake cookies.  I keep a roll of the quick bake ones in my fridge at all times because you never know when you need to pinch off a chunk of cookie dough to make it through the day will have an uninvited guest.  Throw the cookies in the oven while you work on the not-really-a-Friend-Zone.  Their smell will get rid of the bacon-you-burned-at-breakfast smell.  Plus, you can be all, “Cookie? I just finished a batch,” when they show up.

4.  Always have an empty dishwasher.  That way, you can shove things into it as needed.

5.  Wipe off your counters.  I can’t tell you how many times I’m standing in my not-really-a-Friend-Zone talking to a not-really-a-Friend and I note their omg-ew-omg-ew face briefly make an appearance.  I look down to see that they are quietly freaking out because they put their hand on some sticky, wet, slimy, disgusting substance that they can’t identify without looking down and giving away their horror.  I feel bad for my not-really-a-Friend when that happens.  You will too.  Clean your counter tops.

Bonus Tip: Hire help.  You know if you can, and you want to.  There’s no reason to be ashamed of your desire to outsource your house cleaning.  Some of my happiest moments were had when I had a cleaning service coming in a couple times a month.  I felt liberated, and like I could focus on doing things like enjoy the Dudes and completing my work assignments stress free, without feeling like the Boogie Man (aka the dirty floors) was waiting for me around the next corner.


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  3. says

    My boys start shedding their clothes as soon as they walk in the door, too. And there is always, always little boy underwear on the floor somewhere.

  4. says

    My dudes are out of their clothes the second they hit the door too. It’s always looking like a boys’ clothing store exploded in here. What’s up with that?!

  5. says

    #5!! OMG, #5!! Dying. That has happened to me way too many times, and that’s why granite counter tops are SO not practical! All the yuck is camouflaged until somebody sticks their elbow in it, and then the jig is up.