The 28 minutes rule

British women need on average 28 minutes’ notice to prepare for unexpected guests.

By Fusion Lifestyle Reporter
December 12, 2013, 3:11 pm
The 28 minutes rule

British women need on average 28 minutes’ notice to prepare for unexpected guests.

This blitz of activity, dubbed “the 30 minute make-over”, often sees panicked hosts rapidly disposing of mess and hiding clutter to create a superficial impression of cleanliness and hygiene. 


One of the most popular tactics to give the impression of a pristine home is the use of impromptu ‘hidey-holes’ such as washing machines, tumble dryers and laundry baskets in which to store mess.


The poll of 2000 women by Swinton was part of its No Place Like Home Facebook campaign, and found that nearly half of those questioned also had a special drawer or cupboard which was regularly used for emergency storage of junk before visitors arrived. Another popular place to secrete things is the oven – with 15% admitting they’ve hidden dirty plates in their cookers.

Another extreme tactic employed by house-proud hosts caught off-guard is described by Swinton as the ‘bouncer’ routine. 

This involves physically preventing guests from entering the home with 23% of respondents admitting to using the technique because they were embarrassed by their untidiness. 


A further 57% said that even when they were given notice of an impending visit they would only tidy downstairs and try to put off guests venturing upstairs. However such ‘stairway stalling’ would often come undone if a visitor needed to visit an upstairs toilet.

The poll also revealed that those visitors who are expected will often get a strong whiff of bleach, furniture polish or other cleaning product upon entering a friend’s home, with three quarters of women confessing to manically cleaning right up to the moment their guests arrive. 

Interestingly, despite the fact nearly half of those questioned dreaded unexpected visitors; one in five of those quizzed said they themselves still regularly visit other people’s houses with no prior warning.


Steve Chelton, Swinton, said: ‘’We have all been in situations where visitors turn-up unannounced and we quickly flit around the house picking up odds and ends. It’s only natural that our homes look lived in and most houses will have shoes, bills and a few crumbs scattered around. Unexpected visitors should be a nice surprise, not a cause for panic.’’

Two thirds polled said they love the feeling after having a ‘big tidy-up’ or deep clean and 28% regularly make a vow to maintain this level of cleanliness. However 50% also admit that they will probably be unable to keep this promise and 20% admit it’s a totally unrealistic target.

Steve Chelton added: “We’ve found in communities up and down the country where our Swinton branches are based that it’s the people that make a house a home and it’s no bad thing to overlook a bit of clutter and mess. Our campaign seeks to celebrate the wonderful memories and mementos that make us feel proud of our homes.”


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