Yesterday when I looked around and realized my house had turned into a disaster zone I realized I needed to do some emergency cleaning. The things is though, I don't always have an entire day worth of time to spend cleaning. The following is the method I use for doing a blitz cleaning job. It's quick and extremely effective at getting my house back into order.
1. Get a trash sack. Walk around the house and empty all trash. All bathroom trashcans, all tags, tissues, scraps of paper laying around the house. All used matches and magazine tearouts. Large bits of trash left on the floor. Collect it all. The house should already feel 10x cleaner.
2. Make the bed.
3. Pick up all dirty clothes. Take to laundry room or laundry basket.
4. Get a basket. Put any of the kids' junk in this basket they've left laying around the house so they can put it all away later.
5. Go through mail quickly. Eliminate any recycling and trash. Make a neat stack of bills to take care of later. Put magazines in their proper place.
6. Fluff pillows and fold blankets in living rooms.
7. Collect all dishes around house.
8. empty dishwasher and reload. Comet the sink.
9. Clean kitchen counters, stove, and fridge.
At this point I would sweep and mop if time permitted. If not, do that job the next day. I can do all of this in my house in under an hour. The house may not be clean enough to eat off the floors yet, but I always feel like I have much more control of the situation. I do a mini version of this every single day and it really helps keep the house always feeling picked up. Getting a large basket for the staircase was such a huge help in keeping our public spaces clean. Now, I just pick up while the girls are at school and throw their junk in that basket. They know they have to empty the basket after school.
If, like us, your family has a tendency to accumulate stacks over the course of a week I highly recommend the basket method. Keep all those messes in a semblance of order by having baskets for them- if you know the bills and mail won't get dealt with until the end of the week then get a basket with a lid to keep them in during the week. You won't have to look at the mess, but it will all stay in one place. Same for shoes. We kick them off everywhere, so I bought a basket to keep by the front door. During the week I just want the shoes to at least end up in the basket. And when I'm cleaning I walk around to collect shoes and put them in the basket. I also keep a variety of baskets empty around the house so if one of us takes on a project of some kind we can grab a basket and throw the project inside when we're not working on it. I don't end up getting mad at the girls for that crazy yarn/duct tape production they have in the works if they can just throw it all into their basket when play time is over.
I'm not perfect at house work, but I have found using this method keeps my house in a state where someone could show up at any time and I wouldn't be embarassed of my mess. For me, that's a big success. Also, it keeps me from being that mom & wife who is constantly yelling in frustration about the mess in the house. A win win!