From Chaos to Comfort

by johanna kennedy

task at hand

To create the perfect holiday haven out of the toddler disaster/preschool lab in which I currently live by using techniques that give the appearance of a valiant enterprise with the actual effort of a pregnant, frazzled mom.


To demonstrate to my husband that I will deliver on my announced endeavor to provide the holiday dinner for his family of 27.


Because of my gift of procrastination, they will be here tomorrow. 


Step 1:  Execution Plan

Strap my toddler in her booster chair and provide her with every prop needed to entertain for 45 minutes.

Congregating rooms only: living room, dining room, kitchen, main bathroom, closet where coats will be stored. 

Find necessary cleaning supplies including: cotton balls, my favorite essential oils (lemon, lavender, citrus), microfiber cloths, the Swiffer, vacuum and a few wicker baskets.

Hand out jobs to other inhabitants like I am the respected drill sergeant I long to be.

Step 2:  De-clutter

Clear the front of the refrigerator.  Place the contents in a box in the laundry room to be dealt with post holiday. 

Remove all unnecessary appliances, containers and knick knacks from counters and tables.  Implement the 1:1 rule-one trinket per surface (a photo or decoration). 

Remove reading material from the bathroom so as to discourage “camping.”

Hide a multitude of sins (toys, magazines) in inconspicuously placed baskets underneath the end tables.

Step 3: Clean

Round up the troops to assist in returning everything to its rightful home.

Spray all glass surfaces; start wiping from top (pictures) to bottom (tables).

Use the same rag or a microfiber cloth to dust.

Hand Dad the Swiffer for all hard floor surfaces including bathroom. 

Clean bathroom with old, but great smelling shampoo to freshen it up.

Vacuum my way out of the room so as to leave fresh, clean lines.

Step 4: Odors

Place a few drops of my favorite essential oils on a few cotton balls and purposely place them in the following places:

Inside the vacuum cleaner bag to freshen while vacuuming.

Inside the garbage cans in high traffic areas.

Inside the Kleenex box in the living room.

Step 5: Extra Time?

How to make non toxic cleaning supplies and save some money:  http://www.care2.com/greenliving/make-your-own-non-toxic-cleaning-kit.html

More extensive cleaning ideas:  www.simplehomeremedies.com and  www.heloise.com/hints.html

2010 Reminder:  Allow another family member to volunteer their home for inspection, a.k.a. Family Holiday Dinner.