I have a confession to make.
Every January I get my oven cleaned.
By a professional.
And it’s the BEST MONEY I’VE EVER SPENT!
I talk a lot on this site about making life easier, and there’s nothing easy about cleaning the oven as far as I’m concerned, so I’m happy to treat myself after the madness of Christmas and delegate that job as quickly as possible (in fact, it’s been booked in for weeks already!).
The way I see it is that Christmas will see a huge overuse of the oven – and so in January I can start afresh.
(If you’re considering treating yourself as well, then DO IT because I swear to you, the first time they did it I honestly thought they’d gone out and bought a new oven – it was that clean! – no way could I have got that good a finish myself…)
Anyway – I digress!
My point is – last year, when chatting to the oven cleaner, he told me something that fascinated me…
His busiest time of year is right BEFORE Christmas….
Not after Christmas, as I opted for – and I was intrigued.
The main reason?
Women wanted to impress their Mothers/Mother in Laws with a pristine kitchen over Christmas – oven and all.
It got me thinking about the levels we go to to get ready for guests – and exactly what lengths people go to when it comes to impressing guests.
How Far Do You Go?
I have to say – I’m very house proud, and I love to have a clean and tidy home when guests come over. But Christmas is a little different in our house…
Yes, it’s clean.
Yes, it’s tidy.
But actually – the biggest clean I do around this time of year comes AFTER the holidays – when the decorations come down. It’s sort of like pre-spring cleaning because it’s the start of a new year and for me it seems the perfect time to get things properly straight again.
Over Christmas I try and go with the flow a little more because there’s lots going on, lots of people are in and out of the house, and it’s a time to relax a little more.
What about you?
Do you prefer to do the bulk of the cleaning and tidying before or after the holidays – and is this choice affected by whether you have guests over this time?
Let The Stats Do The Talking…
We all want to make a good impression for any guests we have – but how does it actually affect how much cleaning and tidying we do around the house, and what’s the ‘right’ amount?
I was really interested in knowing what people are doing around the country – and so I’ve been looking at some of the stats that Vorwerk put together and they make for very interesting reading!
- One in five UK adults (20%) worries about their parents’ opinions the most when welcoming them into their homes, and less than one in 10 worry about what the in-laws think when visiting (9%).
- 52% of us are spending between one and two hours cleaning before guests arrive. Twenty per cent spend less than an hour preparing, and 28% spend more than two hours.
- We are most likely to reach for the vacuum cleaner ahead of any other household chore when expecting guests (75%), followed by tidying up (45%), cleaning the bathroom (39%), dusting (38%) and washing up (25%).
Given my own experiences, these stats aren’t altogether surprising really – but it’s nice to know that I’m not too far off the norm!: –
- I want my parents to know that I can take care of myself and my family – there’s some pride in being house proud and being able to welcome them as our guests when they visit. So it’s a big YES from me for worrying about my parents opinion.
- Even though I don’t go into a cleaning frenzy – even the basics take a couple of hours if it’s just me doing it (the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, living room and downstairs loo are the places guests will see) – so I’m definitely in the largest percentage there (although, when there’s hardly any time, I get the rest of the family to help as well and then it’s done in no time at all, or I cheat a little and use the tips I talked about in the post about ways to do a quick clean when guests are due).
- And lastly – If I had to only do one job before guests, it would be to grab the vacuum. There’s something about vacuuming the house that makes it automatically feel cleaner and tidier than it may actually be (similar to when mowing the lawn in the summer makes the whole garden look well tended). Although – thank goodness for the dishwasher, as it can hide a multitude of things if needed ;o) (I’m only human!).
So – what can you do if you get the need to clean before someone visits?
Firstly – know which rooms they will be seeing. There’s really no point in tidying and cleaning somewhere that won’t even be seen!
Secondly – shut some of the doors. Even if you pass rooms on the way to the room you’ll be using, it doesn’t mean that they need cleaning as well. Do yourself a favour and minimise the chores!
And lastly – if someone is visiting you, they are your friends and they will give you grace. Everyone knows that life happens, and homes can’t be pristine 100% of the time. Give yourself a break!
With all this in mind – this Christmas I’ve decided I’m going to try not to do a cleaning frenzy right before people arrive
There’s enough other stuff to be getting on with, after all!
I’ll let a few extra things take a back seat and enjoy the festivities as much as possible, and not feel bad about taking a few shortcuts.
After all – I know that I can catch up with a good clean when I’ve got a bit more time after things go back to normal, and in the meantime – my secret weapon will be scented candles!.
They do a great job of making the house smell clean of course, but they also add that lovely ambient lighting, and that combined with the darker days means there’s less light to see the dust ;o)
…and talking of light – I may just remove the bulb in the oven until January (and the oven cleaner miracle man) comes along – so you won’t be able to see inside anyway….