The Fake House

ELRYears ago, on an Everybody Loves Raymond episode rerun, Raymond was watching some game on the television and Debra was trying to vacuum the couch around him.  She finally got impatient and asked for his help because they had company coming over for dinner.  He pondered why, when someone was coming over, did they spend all day long making “The Fake House.”  I laughed so hard I about woke up Scott, who was busy nursing himself to sleep while I watched television.

That launched us on calling company cleaning, “The Fake House,” and we laugh every time.

Gregg called last weekend and said, “What are you doing?”

I said, “Making the fake house.”

“Oh?  Who’s coming over?”


There are people who clean their whole house every day, so that if company was coming, there would be little they would have to do to prepare.  I’m not like that.  I deep clean a room or two once a week.  Since I do my bathrooms on Tuesday, if I have company coming on Saturday, I can almost assure you that I need to re-clean my bathrooms on Saturday.

bathroomI deep clean my living room on Monday.  So if someone is coming for dinner on Friday, it’s definitely recommended that I not only see what the kids have shoved under the couch cushions, but I might want to vacuum the cat and dog hair off of the furniture, too.  (And yes, dear dog of mine, because I’m a human, intelligent and made in God’s image, I know that you sneak and lay on the furniture when I’m not around.  Silly dog.)

So, despite the fact that I am pretty good at my job of maintaining a clean and orderly home, even I have to clean all day when company is coming.

There is a strategy to quickly, efficiently, and effectively cleaning your home, literally, from top to bottom.  Supplies you need to do this are:

  • A vacuum cleaner with an extension
  • Two good dust cloths, one for cleaner, one for dry (I use old cloth diapers)
  • A good scrubbing cloth (I found dishrags with netting on one side and terrycloth on the other – LOVE them)
  • A squeegee with a scrubber on one side and a rubber strip on the other to wash windows
  • A broom and mop
  • A bucket

Cleaners (if you use cleaning products):

  • Window cleaner (or a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water)
  • Surface and floor cleaner (I use Lysol for walls and surfaces, scrubbing bubbles for bathrooms)

The Strategy:

The biggest mistake people make in cleaning their entire house at one time is getting bogged down cleaning one whole room, then moving to the other, then to the other.  The best way to do it is to do one chore at a time.  Start at the top and work your way down.

Step 1:  Dust. Dust each room, starting with the top shelves first, working your way around the room, then the lower shelves.  That way, you don’t knock any dust onto an already dusted surface.  Dust shelves, the underside of shelves, handrails, picture frames, knickknacks.  Don’t forget things like cobwebs in the corners or ceiling fans.  Dry dusting is more efficient, so if you can get way with just a dry cloth, then that’s better.

Step 2: Furniture. Go through the house and strip and remake beds.  Fluff pillows.  Vacuum furniture surfaces.  If you have a “shammy”, then if you run a dry shammy over couch cushions, it will pick up any pet hair.

squeegeeStep 3: Mirrors and Glass. Wipe down mirrors and windows.  I use a squeegee for this and it is SO effective.  I scrub with the scrubby side, swipe with the rubber side, then take a cloth or paper towel and wipe down the edges.  It is so fast and leaves a streak-free surface.

Step 4: Surface Cleaning. Wipe down all surfaces and counters throughout the house.  Wipe down all light switches, doorframes, doorknobs.  Wipe down telephones and remote controls.

Step 5: Kitchen and Bathroom. Walk through all of your bathrooms and spray down the surfaces.  Go back to where you started and scrub.  In the kitchen, wipe down the countertops, cabinet doors, and appliances.  Open the refrigerator door and see if any of the shelves need a quick wipe-down.

Step 6: Floors. Sweep then mop.

Step 7: Vacuum. Start at the far end of the room and vacuum yourself out of the room.  Vacuum stairs as well.

In a short time, you will have a clean house, sparkly from top to bottom, ready for any company.


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