The President of the United States is visiting my hometown city of Albany, NY today and it reminded me of what I call The Queen is coming exercise. Years ago my mother would shrug at the end of a typical day’s mess and say “It’s not like the Queen is coming or anything”. With a pretty large brood of children I think she deserved the slack she cut herself at times deciding our home was as clean and as neat as it was going to get for that day. As a mother of many, she really knew how to pick her battles.
While I consider myself to be something of a neat freak there are times when it’s hard to stay motivated or make the time to keep my home in tip top shape. When things are really slipping (or real guests are expected) I play my little game of the Queen (or the President) is coming to drive enthusiasm. It’s not so much that you need to make everything perfect because you don’t have much time; it’s really about what stands out as needing immediate cleaning or tidying. When you look at your surroundings from the viewpoint of a new visitor, I think it helps you see your trouble spots clearly. For instance, my trouble spot today is the pile of clean clothes spilling out over the edges of the laundry basket begging to be folded and put away. Ok, I’ll be honest, it’s actually two laundry baskets and plenty of it should be ironed too. If I knew the President were dropping by that is the first thing I would deal with. Forget about the ironing part, that’s just not going to happen, but I can give the really wrinkled items a fine mist spritz of water, throw them in the dryer for about 8 to 10 minutes and they’ll be practically wrinkle free.
The only thing to remember with thinking that the Queen is coming is that you can’t just stuff stuff into a closet or a cubby. Not only is it cheating but it doesn’t really take much longer to put things where they really belong. Think about how cliché it would be if the Queen opened that one particular closet that was stuffed to the gills and everything comes tumbling out. As for a quick clean-up, reach for the vacuum and disinfecting wipes which stand up really well to a quick scrubbing. Don’t forget to offer tea and crumpets or our President’s favorite, Italian style food including deep-dish pizza.