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A Cleaning Guide- When In-Laws Announce they will be Stopping by within the Hour

Updated on August 1, 2014

The Appearance of Clean


It is not like anyone else will do it, SO LET'S GET IT DONE!

The Appearance of a Clean Home.

Most of us have been cornered by hearing these words spoken from our spouse’s lips, ‘My parents are going to stop by in about an hour, okay?’ This always seems to happen after a week which you have either been sick, working late hours, decided to rearrange rooms, or have simply been lazy, and have not kept up with house work. No matter how great of a relationship you share with your in-laws, or how much they say that they understand your stress and your schedule, you do not want them stopping by to see your home when it looks as if a hurricane made its way through each room, but where do you start, what do you do-when everything needs to be cleaned?

Be a Cleaning Machine

Have no fear, take a deep breath and get ready to clean up before they show up. I have composed this, In-Law Visit Checklist, to guide you through the process of doing what is important, in order to avoid scrutiny from the in-laws. First, let me explain that this is not necessarily considered proper cleaning tactics, but more of a quick list to give the overall appearance of a cleaner home, key word being appearance, which includes knowing where to focus your efforts, and when to apply your creative side.

There are three main parts within your home that the in-laws (more particularly the mother-in-law), will most likely see when they come to visit. The Kitchen, bathroom and living room/sitting areas. Always focus the majority of your time and effort on the kitchen. This is a space that you will probably need to do some true cleaning and where you should begin your venture.

Ready, Set and CLEAN!

#1. If time is tight, consider hiding some of those dirty dishes overflowing from the sink in the oven. Unless she is coming over to cook, she will not find the stowaway items. Wash what dishes you can, or if you have a dishwasher, throw what you can in there. Although you will have to tend to the dishes eventually, this resolves the immediate need of appearance for the in-laws. (Time Spent on Step 1: 8 minutes/10 minutes MAX)

(52 minutes left)

#2 Always SWEEP & MOP the kitchen floor. Even if the countertops are clear and food is put up perfectly, dried spaghetti sauce and mashed fruit roll-ups, will stand out like hot pink spandex in church, when it is stuck to the floor. If you have a vacuum that preforms well on tile and hard floors-use it instead of the broom- if you are short a dust pan- once you have finished sweeping… use a vacuum to suck up the dust pile. Some helpful hints to help along the mopping process is- take your household cleaning spray and attack the nastiest parts of your floor, this will allow the crud to soften, and make it easier for you to mop with water only (unless you have floor cleaner that doesn’t require you rinse). (Time Spent on Step 2-Part I. Sweeping: 4 minutes- Step 2 Part II. Mopping: 4-5 minutes)

(43 minutes left)

#3. Take out the trash. It is customary that when a trashcan has reached its capacity, you remove the trash bag, from the trashcan-and discard of it in a larger unit outside of the living area. When you take out the trash-replace the bag with a new one, and when you replace the lid, take some disinfectant spray and a paper towel and give it a quick cleaning to remove dirt and crusty old food that has been dried to the trash can lid for weeks. (Time Spent on Step 3-6 minutes).

(39minutes Left)

If they will be sitting on it...clean it!


Keep it Up- You are Doing Great!

#4. The next room to focus your efforts on is the dreaded bathroom. This will be the bathroom that is most easily assessable and often used by company. If this is a bathroom that has a lot of clutter- kid’s use, but don’t clean, or is cramped for space- this is your 10minute bathroom cleaning session. Get a bin or a box, or even a laundry basket; and everything that is cluttering the counter space should now be transferred into the container at hand. Place the container with all the junk outside of the bathroom, so you are not tempted to start organizing it. (Time Spent on Step 2 minutes).

37 minutes

#5. You are going to have to clean the toilet. Make sure you clean the whole toilet; which means the parts of the base that are in plain sight, as well as the lid and tank. If the outside is nasty, it really doesn’t matter what the inside looks like- now does it? (Time Spent on Step 5 minutes).

32 minutes

#6. Spray the tub with water…then with cleaner and allow to sit while you clean the sink. Remove all dried toothpaste from the sink and wipe down the handles. (Time Spent on Step 2 minutes).

30 minutes

#7. If there are bathmats that are old and/or dirty…simply remove them from the bathroom all together. The in-laws will not be taking a bath- if the mats are gross-get em gone. Now return your efforts to the tub and spend 1 minute wiping/scrubbing the dirt off of it- now, rinse…and the bathroom is completed. (Oh wait…don’t forget the trash). (Time Spent on Step 4 minutes).

26 minutes

It doesn't have to be perfect-

Your home can looked lived in, as long as it appears that humans live there-not savage beasts.
Your home can looked lived in, as long as it appears that humans live there-not savage beasts. | Source

#8. Now on to the living area… First get everything off the floor. If it is easy to toss things into the correct rooms, do so. If it takes too long-push it all to the laundry room or into your room. Remove the clutter that should not be there from this area. LESS is MORE-when it comes to having a tidy clean appearance. (Time Spent on Step 10 minutes).

16 minutes

#9. Wet a paper towel or cloth and wipe down the table tops-mantel, shelves, speakers…anything that has accumulated a few layers of dust on its surface. (Time Spent on Step 5minutes).

11 minutes

#10. Vacuum- and arrange couch pillows neatly. Light some candles for a fresh fragrance and close all the doors to the rooms you did not clean… Your In-laws should be arriving…now.


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    • acaetnna profile image


      6 years ago from Guildford

      Wow awesome! Great tips!

    • H.C Porter profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lone Star State

      freecampingaussie- lol... yeah, sooner or later you just have to say- i have other things to do than clean up for a visit that I dint plan on happening, lol

    • freecampingaussie profile image


      7 years ago from Southern Spain

      You were lucky to get an hours notice - mine would just arrive every time !Love the dishes in oven idea as they often were not done as the girls always put it off . When we were separated I called out to the house ,climbed in the kitchen window over tons of dirty dishes, didn't cleasn them but gave the toilet a quick clean !Great hub.

    • H.C Porter profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lone Star State

      express10- lol, don't you just hate that? I use to always have a nice and tidy home...then i had children, and regardless of what it is I do, it never seams good enough for company, but i suppose company will have to get use to it-and if they can't, well then, STOP SHOWING UP UNINVITED, lol :) thanks for the comment

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 

      7 years ago from East Coast

      Good tips. I hate when certain people pop up without much notice so I tend to clean daily to eliminate mad dashes. As long as I've been attending to my routine, I have none. The second I get lax, bam!

    • H.C Porter profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lone Star State

      Millionaire Tips-thank you for commenting. Yeah, we never seem to get enough preparation time before people just stop by...The hour long visit, literally can take hours to prepare for-and never seems to be good enough :)

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      7 years ago from USA

      Great ideas here HC. It does seem like company arrives with very little notice. I hate to drop everything just to clean up for them, but I do.

    • H.C Porter profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lone Star State

      serendipitypalace. i have no clue what to tell you, specially if you already had a contractor come out. IF they haven't flushed the septic or redone the pipes...maybe that would work? hope it all gets fixed, good luck

    • H.C Porter profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lone Star State

      Kris- thanks for reading.... Both the inlaws and my parents live within 15 miles of me...I am doomed and invasion is likely at any moment... most of the time they call to ensure we are home, but every so often i get caught :)

    • serendipitypalace profile image


      7 years ago

      We've had toilet flushing problems. Spent over $2,0000.00 for a plumber/septic contractor back in April. It was a real treat afterwards until just recently with the plugged toilet. We have a drain cleaner, we have old plumbing. Just saw a tip you can run water in the bathroom and try to flush. Not sure if it helped after plunging each day several times to get the gooky stuff to go down. Any suggestions? I see a Drano add. My husband, a carpenter/contractor, doesn't want to use with the old pipes. Our house is over 100 years old. Any help on getting a regular flushing toilet without paying would be great.

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 

      7 years ago from Indiana

      I am SO thankful that mine don't live that close for that very reason (just stopping by with an hours notice)! I'd be a wreck:) But I do like how you have broken this down in a time line - it makes it seem really doable!

    • H.C Porter profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lone Star State

      merchantdoctor- Only in the perfect world do we always get a heads up... I wanted to scream when I have had people just knock on the door... My house is never clean... I have a 3 and 4 year house is always messed up, lol. Thank you so much for your comment, I appreciate the feedback and you taking the time to read.

    • H.C Porter profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lone Star State

      Paradise7- I always have to lock the kids in a room while I clean the rest of the house...they not only get hair everywhere, but everything that shouldn't be on the floor everywhere :) Thanks for reading and for commenting, I appreciate the feedback!

    • H.C Porter profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lone Star State

      jenubouka, Quick Fixes are Great long as you remember where you put everything :) Thanks for the comment and for taking the time to read my work, I truly appreciate it. :)

    • H.C Porter profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lone Star State

      tlpoague- lol, i think every family and every set of inlaws have their own quarks to tend to... isn't rocket science as long as you pay that point- fake cleaning is easy as pie...

    • merchantdoctor profile image


      7 years ago from Reno

      Funny and creative! Now if only the in laws would give me hour....

    • Paradise7 profile image


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      We always had to put the dog outside and vac up all the dog hairs, pronto, before the in-laws showed up. If you have a dog, you get used to a few doggy hairs here and there. For some reason, my mother-in-law found dog hairs particularly disgusting.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is pretty creative and funny to hide the dishes in the oven. If you have a basement it can be the greatest hiding spot for a quick fix.

    • tlpoague profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      Great tips! When my in-laws use to visit, it was a mad dash to make sure the fridge and oven were cleaned out. It never failed, those were the first two places my mother-in-law ended up checking. (She loved to cook, so it was the first room she would go to.) My father-in-law passed on and my mother-in-law is in a nursing home, but I still find that when company is coming, I will check those first. Thanks for posting these helpful tips!


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