The number 1 thing to do when crisis cleaning

It happens.

The same week you battle cluster headaches, make a zillion cupcakes for the PTA, plus your kids get home from camp with 12 loads of laundry, plus your 18-month-old learns to unpack cupboards…your best friend from high school phones you.

“Hey, I’m in town! Can I come by for coffee?”

Uh, sure! We’ll be glad to see you!

Then, you hit panic mode. Crisis cleaning at its finest!

We’ll cover off crisis cleaning in more detail in a later blog post, but for now, the number one thing:


Remember, 3S’ing is the basic Lean principle for keeping everything tidy and clean. Sort, Set in order, Shine. But at this point, we are just going to stick with one:


Everything that doesn’t belong GOES.

That means: Garbage out. Start with your garbage. Got it? Garbage! Empty your kitchen garbage and take it out to your outside cans. Reline your kitchen garbage can, and, starting at the front door, go room by room, adding any garbage to it from each room. Quickly empty it into the outside can & reline the kitchen one as many times as necessary.

Next is laundry. What have your kids left lying around? Again starting at the front door, collect the dirty laundry and take it through to your laundry room. At this point, don’t bother sorting it into correct loads; just put it in your hamper. As many armloads as necessary, until there’s no more laundry lying around.

Then comes dishes. If possible, get them straight into your dishwasher, but if your dishwasher is full, your sink is next best. Again, if your sink is full, stack them on the counter, next to your sink.

Now do the same with other categories of mess. (Hmmm…categorized mess?) Seriously, though: anything where there’s a bunch of the same type of mess. Like:

Toys. Books. Papers. Cosmetics.

Suddenly you’ll realize that your house is looking a whole lot better than 20 minutes ago. If you have the time and the energy, you can keep your momentum going by following up with Set in order (putting things away) and Shine (Sweep or vacuum, wipe the counters, clean the toilets).

But either way, you’ll have scored a quick win on the cleaning up front, and be able to enjoy your friend and your coffee!