One Hour Until the Doorbell Rings?? Here’s a plan!


Most important? A reality check. An hour is only 60 minutes, and you can’t go from disaster to perfection in that amount of time. But if you focus on the right things, you can make a major impact and be able to do the one thing that matters: enjoy the time with your guests.

Repeat this phrase to yourself over and over for the next hour: Follow the Visibility Rule.

The Visibility Rule is pretty self-explanatory, but does not come naturally to some people (people like me).

What will your guests actually see? Focus your effort there.

This is not the time to sort through the pesky basket of mateless socks that’s been bugging you for months.

Head to your front door, stand where your guests will enter, and see what they will see. You haven’t noticed that pile of papers on the coffee table because it has been sitting there for months. Seeing your home through the eyes of your guests will keep you on track as you make the most of the next sixty minutes.

Grab your phone. Set the timer to ten minutes.

Over the next hour, start the timer again each time it goes off. Race the timer on each task you tackle. This will help you focus on the task of the moment and keep you from getting lost in one task and forgetting about all you have left to do.


First, pick-up and straighten. A clean house has layers, and the first layer is clutter. Starting at the door where your guests will enter your house, move through the house hitting all the areas they’ll see, picking up anything that’s out of place. Close the doors to rooms or closets where your guests don’t need to go. Don’t worry about what’s behind those doors, this is not the time to rearrange your linen closet!

If you are generally a put-it-away-right-away kind of person, you can probably put things where they go in these ten minutes. If you’re not, and you can’t even imagine how ten minutes could make a dent, load up your arms and go dump the junk in whichever room you can lock!

Once those ten minutes are over, reset your timer for another ten minutes and head to the bathroom where you’ll direct your guests. Grab cleaning wipes and wipe down the surfaces including a quick wipe of any visible dirt on the floor. Your guests are going to hang out in this room all by themselves with nothing to do but look around, so you want it to be as clean as possible!

Dry your own hands after you’re done and then use that now-slightly-damp towel to wipe down the mirror. Put out a fresh handtowel and reset your timer for another ten minutes.

Head for the kitchen. If all you need to do in your kitchen is a quick wipe-it-down-and-straighten, yay for you. If not, your goal is to do whatever needs to be done so you can do a wipe-it-down-and-straighten in the next ten minutes.

Clear surfaces are the goal. Put away what you can, start the dishwasher, and load whatever’s left into a box and haul that box to the garage. Or the trunk of your car. Or wherever your guest won’t look. Don’t shove things in the oven unless you know for a fact that no one is bringing something that needs to “go under the broiler real quick.”

This is far from ideal, but an hour to clean the whole house isn’t ideal if your kitchen counters are covered in dirty dishes. Watch that timer and try to give yourself the last three minutes to wipe down and shine up your surfaces.

Set your timer for another ten minutes.

Grab the vacuum cleaner and your duster (or a rag, or a clean sock), and head to the room where your guests will spend the most time. There isn’t time to thoroughly dust the entire house, but stick with the Visibility Rule. What will your guests definitely see? Dust the TV, the lamps, and the end tables where they’ll set their drinks.

There’s no time to grab a ladder and dust the ceiling fan. Turn up the heat and turn on the fan. If it’s running, no one will be able to see the dust-chunks that have gathered on it in the past few weeks months.

Vacuum the visible parts of the floor (there’s no time to move furniture) and move to the next room where your guests will spend time. I know it’s tempting to haul out the mop, but there’s only time for vacuuming.

If you’ve been able to stick to your ten minute timers, you have twenty minutes left.

Take ten minutes to focus on you. Change your clothes, fix your hair, and put on some deodorant and lipstick.

For the final ten minutes, go back through the list, checking for things you may have missed before. Walk through the areas your guests will see, checking for clutter. Be sure doors which hide the messy areas are still closed (and locked, if possible). Flush the toilet. Check the kitchen for random dishes that mysteriously appeared while you were focused elsewhere. Put away your duster and vacuum cleaner and fluff the couch pillows. Wipe up that smudge of dirt on the tile by the front door (the smudge that made you think you needed to mop the entire house).

Most of all, before you answer the door, take a deep breath and relax. The people are here, and they matter more than anything else.

Do you have a copy of my book yet? If frantic cleaning sessions like these make you determined to change your everyday ways, this might be the book for you. Find out more here. 


Some of my tips were shared in a great one hour plan in Redbook’s November issue!



Reviews from Pre-Readers of How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind


One week from today, How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing with Your House’s Dirty Little Secrets will officially be out. “They” (whoever they are) say writing a book is like having a baby. The closer I get to November 8th, the more I nod my head in agreement.

At this moment, I’m feeling like I did in the last month of a pregnancy. By the 9th month, I was always ready to just be done and get that baby out of there.

As feedback has been coming in from pre-readers, I’ve experienced something else that’s similar to motherhood that I didn’t expect.

Kids are individuals. As they grow, they live their own lives, and though I helped write the story, that story eventually goes beyond me and beyond my control.

After seven years of blogging, I’m seeing that book writing is a whole new game. As pre-readers are taking the strategies and making them work, they’re making them their own. My story is turning into their stories. My baby/book is growing up and going out in the world and making things happen.

It’s exciting to watch.

So, what are people saying?

Suzann – “While Dana gives you help taking control of your home, what she really gives you is an understanding of your brain. She peeks into the head of people like me who seem to spin their wheels and never make traction. It isn’t about knowing ‘how’ to clean your home. It is about knowing how to work with your brain. For the first time, I feel like I haven’t been condemned for the brain I have but rather have been shown how to embrace it and use it to make significant difference in my home, and ultimately in my life.This book is a game changer.”

Stella – “What really appealed to me is that Dana understands because she’s been there, she’s lived the mess, she is not the neat freak with no clue what it’s like to struggle with keeping a home tidy. She’s a naturally mess-prone person who has figured out what it takes to keep a home tidy despite her messy tendencies, and she’s put all her hard won experience down on paper so we can all benefit from it.”

Kandi – “I can’t sing the praises of this book enough! I am neat by nature but felt my house getting a little harder to manage with each baby (and all. the. stuff.). I love how this book breaks things down into manageable REALISTIC tasks. I was only a few chapters in when my husband could already tell a difference in our home.”

Reading these reviews is like hearing someone brag on one of my kids!

You can read all 67 (or so) reviews from advance readers over on GoodReads here.

If you decide you need this book, go here for links to places where you can order or look for it in your local bookstore!



Mrs. Meyer’s Fall Scents Pack from Grove Collaborative


I’m excited to partner with a company that is currently impressing my socks off!

If you love fall scents, don’t miss this amazing deal from Grove Collaborative that’s only available this week (through the 16th)!

Grove Collaborative is a unique company with a passion for household products that are gentle on the environment and gentle on your family. If that is your passion too, they’re an excellent resource for finding tested products in one place at great prices.

You set up a delivery schedule so you never run out of the products you need. I love eliminating stress with subscription services.

When you go to their site, you’ll answer a few questions about your family size and cleaning style, and they’ll suggest products for you. You don’t have to purchase the products they suggest, but it’s a great way to get an idea of the things they offer! Just adjust the numbers of the suggested products if you don’t want them.

Look around at sections like cleaning, personal care and more. If you find $20 worth of things you need (who doesn’t need toilet paper and shampoo and laundry detergent?), you will also receive the Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning products seen in the photo! (Not the apples or cider or bowl. Just the dish soap, cleaning spray, handsoap and towels!)

If you’ve been around a while, you know I have to be VERY careful about what scents I have in my home. I was glad that one of the two choices for this fall special was Apple Cider, which is one of the few scents I can handle. The other scent option for this offer is Mum. Honestly, I was so excited to get new handtowels along with the yummy-smelling soaps! New handtowels always make me happy. And turning old stained ones into rags (the one-in-one-out rule, y’know) makes me happy too!

What you get free, in addition to your $20 order of items completely of your own choosing:

  • Mrs. Meyer’s Fall Hand Soap
  • Mrs. Meyer’s Fall Dish Soap
  • Mrs. Meyer’s Fall Multi-Surface Spray
  • Grove Collaborative Kitchen Towel
  • 60 Day VIP Trial
  • Free Shipping

Go here to get this special offer, and check out the many, many natural products they offer.

If you’re an existing Grove Collaborative customer, don’t feel left out! You can get this Mrs. Meyer’s set for 50% off! (See how they take care of people!) Just go here for that deal.

AND, can you believe they sent me FLOWERS this morning to celebrate me sharing this great offer with you?


In my normal spirit of full disclosure, here’s the before and after of my dining room table. Yay for motivation to clear it (mostly) off! i-got-flowers

Get your free Mrs. Meyer’s products here.

In case you didn’t catch it when I said I’m partnering with Grove Collaborative, I am. That means all the links in this post are my affiliate links. I got a free credit with them and will earn when you use my link. The opinions and sensitive nose and messy dining room table are all mine.


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