I've mentioned a few times that I'm a bit of a hoarder. We have exactly no storage in this apartment, and with all the stuff... well, I'm sure you can imagine. This makes it a little difficult for me to invite anyone over. I love summer because we can have all kinds of people over, call it a barbecue and not even let them in the house.
It's just embarrassing how much our living room ends up looking like a storage unit. The place is clean, it's just not tidy. I tend to plan things way ahead of time so I'll have plenty of lead time for purging.
Play dates are worse. Until today, we'd invited exactly one kid over with her mum; and I was pretty sure that she wouldn't get all judgey with me. (Also, we started out in the backyard; I think we only ended up inside because someone had to go to the bathroom.) That was in June.
Today, we had our second play date (at our house) ever. I really like this family and was pretty sure that this mum wouldn't get all judgey with me either. But still. It's fall, it's chilly, it's rainy and I knew that we'd have to be inside. I'll never tell her, because she probably won't believe it, but I've been "cleaning" since Monday.
"Cleaning" entails gathering stuff that doesn't belong in the living room and trying to distribute it to its proper location. For a lot of this stuff, the proper location ended up being the garbage/recycling; broken elastics, a stack of papers that I'd been meaning to go through and never bothered, pens that don't work, etc. I went around with a box this morning and piled all the remaining crap into it to keep on my bed for the day.
Then I had to move the two laundry hampers that live in the living room because there's just nowhere else for them to go. Put away the piles of clean laundry that live in the living room because I tend to fold laundry when the girls are sleeping and then I can't put it away in their room and then it's easier to just leave the piles in here because they get dressed out here anyway.
Then I remembered I had a kitchen. After filling the dish rack, drying, putting away the dishes - three times - it was time to make lunch, and only an hour to go til play date.
My children have the strangest responses to vacuuming. Beege likes to yell things at me, knowing that I can't hear her, until I turn off the vacuum and ask what she wants. The response is usually a grin and "Nothing." Keebee likes to climb on the dining table, cover her ears and scream at the top of her lungs. Awesome. So, got that mess out of the way - including screaming and yelling - while they ate lunch; it's easier with Kee strapped in her booster seat, at least she's not on the table.
Then I did a quick sweep of the apartment to make sure that there was nothing overtly disgusting or dangerous laying around. Not that there usually is, but it's just when you think you've child-proofed that you find your kid running around with a pair of needle nosed pliers. Or maybe that's just at my house.
The play date was a success; cookies were eaten, pretend drinks were consumed, children screamed. And it looks so (relatively) tidy that we've made another with someone else for tomorrow. And because of all the pre-cleaning, I can even wash the pots and pans that I shoved in the oven at the last minute! (A well placed dish towel can hide a multitude of sins.)
disclaimer - in case my mother or other person who would be similarly appalled ever reads this: my house is not always disgusting. I promise.