Foolproof Cleaning System for the Distracted Mind

Updated: Nov 10, 2020



I'd like to preface this post by saying that if you live under the illusion that I’m a neat and organized person, I’d love to keep you in that category so please don’t read this post.


Housekeeping has never been my strength. I tend to live in, what I affectionately call, creative chaos and my ADHD life sentence comes with a long history of report cards highlighting my lack of organization skills and follow-through. I’m also a mom to 3 kids under six and have a recent diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Needless to say, these things can be hindrances to my keeping up with housework. While expressing my struggles to a dear friend, she clued me in to her system and after some tweaking, I found a way to make it work for me.




First of all, this is not an “Everyday my house stays clean.” system. This is an “Oh crap. Company is coming over and I’ve got three hours to go from drab to fab” system. This system is not for the perfectionist. It’s for the person who just wants to meet standards for presentability.


Good. Now all the neat freaks are gone.


Let’s get real. If you’ve got mental illness or chronic illness or children or a crafting habit, or all of the above, it can be difficult to maintain a clean and uncluttered home. Sometimes it even feels impossible. Most days it’s of little consequence. After all, why bother making the bed when you’re just going to be getting back into it? But, once in awhile, your friends come over or your in-laws come to town and you want to pretend you’re not the slob that you truly are. If this is you, I’m here to help. 



Without further ado, here is my Fool-proof Cleaning System for the Distracted Mind. 




First, make your house smell nice. If you have some nice candles, light them. Essential oil diffusers are even better. I like to fool people into thinking my house is cleaner than it is by using a combination of lemon and eucalyptus or orange, clove, and peppermint, or Lavender and peppermint or lemon, lavender, and rosemary. The citrus smells really make it smell like you lemon-pledged the place. It also creates an energizing scent as you begin your cleaning. If the weather is nice, open windows to let fresh air into the home.







Now, start cleaning in the entryway. If your guests enter through your front door which opens into your living room start there. First impressions are everything.  Begin by putting away what belongs in the entryway and then move the remaining clutter from the entryway into the next most seen room. In my case, I start in our sunroom where we welcome guests through the side door. This is the first room my guests see and often the room in which we spend the most time. I put away items that are out of place but belong in that room. Then, I  move all the clutter from the sunroom into the kitchen - another high traffic area. Next, I wipe down all surfaces. Always wipe surfaces before vacuuming or mopping the floor that way whatever crumbs or dust fall from those surfaces, can be vacuumed from the floor. When the surfaces are clean, vacuum. Then mop. If you’re in a time crunch, spot mop trouble areas but don’t bother mopping the entire floor. Nobody cares. 




Living Area Checklist:

  1. Straighten anything out of place.

  2. Move clutter that doesn’t belong into the next room. 

  3. Wipe surfaces.

  4. Vacuum or sweep

  5. Mop or spot clean. 

  6. Appreciate your work 

  7. Move onto the next most frequented room.








Repeat these steps in each room, working from the rooms that are most likely to be seen to the least likely to be seen. This is important because if you run out of time, you can just close a few doors and no one will know that you have collected a house full of clutter in the master bedroom. 



Bathroom checklist: (Smallest room, longest list) 


  1. Straighten anything out of place. Just throw things in drawers. Now is not the time to organize your nail polish collection. I’m talking to you, Procrastination Polly.

  2. Move all additional clutter to the next room.

  3. Close the shower curtain. Ain’t nobody got time for scrubbing tubs right now. Put this in the “do it later if there’s time list.”

  4. Put toilet bowl cleaner in the toilet and let it sit.

  5. Clean the mirror. 

  6. Wipe down surfaces including toilet. 

  7. Scrub toilet bowl.

  8. Empty trash.

  9. Vacuum or sweep.

  10. Mop or spot clean.

  11. Replace hand towel with a clean and neatly folded one.

  12. Appreciate your work.

  13. Move to the next most frequented room.



Kitchen Checklist:

  1. Straighten anything out of place. 

  2. Move all additional clutter to the next room. 

  3. Do the dishes. (If you’re running out time, consider filling the dishwasher haphazardly without rinsing first. Run it with a hope and a prayer. Or in a real pinch, hide your dishes somewhere else. If you have adhd or brain fog of any sort, please don’t put your dishes into the oven. You’re just asking for trouble next time you preheat.

  4. Wipe surfaces.

  5. Vacuum or sweep.

  6. Mop or spot clean.

  7. Appreciate your work.

  8. Move to the next most frequented room.


To be honest, I rarely make it to the bedrooms before guests arrive but when I do, here’s the order I use.



Bedroom/Guestroom Checkist:

  1. Straighten anything out of place. 

  2. Move clutter to the next room, stow in the closet, or under the bed.

  3. Make the bed. Bonus points if you have fresh sheets! 

  4. Wipe surfaces, 

  5. Vacuum or sweep.

  6. Mop or spot clean.

  7. Appreciate your work.

  8. Move to the next most frequented room.








Usually, by the time our guests arrive, most clutter has been put away or is hidden safely behind our master bedroom door. The house looks pretty clean (as long as you don’t look too closely) and it smells fresh upon entry. If you finish with time to spare, take a look at your “Do It Later If There’s Time” list. Or don’t. Nobody cares. 



This can all be done by one person but if you have a spouse, kids, or even a friend available to help, DELEGATE! Doling out some tasks to others can take some of the load off. THERE’S NO SHAME IN ASKING FOR HELP!














I hope this Foolproof Cleaning System works as well for you as it has for me.


Happy Cleaning!


<3 WellTree Mama







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