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Monday, November 22, 2010

Keeping a "Clean" Home

I've been reading a new blog called Keeper of the Home and I really like it. Obviously, as an at-home-mommy, it's very applicable to my current "job title" ;o)

This post is great.

Some really great ideas there about hosting. Some of them I already do, but some I want to work on. And by work on I mean *someday*...I'm going to be pretty uh, relaxed about keeping the house clean and ready for "guests" in the next two months. Guests that come after someone has a baby know that they're to drop of the meal and their good wishes and turn a blind eye to the dust bunnies and clutter in exchange for some baby snuggles! ;o) Plus, we don't exactly have a ton of house guests these days.

We do have friends over every other weekend or so, though, so keeping the house picked up is still something I think about. The best homemaking advice I got was way before I was married. A friend told me her "rule" was to always keep the main part of the house picked up and ready for drop in guests. She wanted her house to be welcoming and a place people felt comfortable just stopping by. Sometimes a messy house can be a distraction to fellowship...for both the guests and the hostess.

I loved that! It's not always possible, but it's something to strive for. So from that house rule I've developed a few more. This is generally how I operate:

1. If it can be done in less than five minutes, do it now, while you're thinking about it.
For me, this applies to things like unloading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, picking up the laundry on the floor, making the bed, wiping down the toilet, folding a load of laundry, etc. It helps me keep things in a general state of order as I go about the day. Lily doesn't seem to mind "helping", or at least watching me do my daily chores. And this way I don't have to plan an actual time to do all of those things...I just do them as I go.

2. Playtime ends with pick-up-time. I'm not sure where I got this one from, but I *hope* it keeps the house relatively picked up as the girls get older. Whenever LJ and I are done playing and it's time to move on to something else (nap, bathtime, dinner, etc.) I help her pick up so that we always leave things where they go. I find that if I don't do this, I get overwhelmed with the toys everywhere and I don't feel like picking them up...so I leave them till the next time she plays with them, which is fine. But it means the house is a bit messy and things start to snowball into more of a mess...so I try not to let it start. I'm crossing my fingers that it's a good habit to model for them so that when they're older they'll already be used to the routine and do it themselves (with much prompting from Momma, I'm sure!) ;o)

3. Don't apologize if you *do* end up with guests in a less-than-picked-up house.
This one is the newest (and hardest) for me. But I find that when I'm saying "sorry the house is a mess, sorry I didn't make the bed today, sorry the kitchen's a disaster, sorry for the dust, sorry sorry sorry" I'm not really helping my guests feel relaxed and comfortable in my home...and if I admit it, I'm trying to get their pity, which is wrong. So what if the house is a mess. Can't do anything about it now! Instead, I want to focus on enjoying my friends and family and letting go of the image of perfection I want to project. I'm not perfect even WHEN my house is clean and tidy. And no one needs to hear me whine that I didn't get my to-do list done before they got here. They just want to eat some food, watch the game, and hang out with us. Dust bunnies included :o)


  1. Thanks Jess! Those tips are really helpful!

  2. Awesome. I <3 you, Jessica. :) The pick up after play time will save you what I'm going though with Nat. I waited till she was 3 1/2. Ya know, it's not too bad to clean up after one. But then two. And three. Sheesh. But, she is growing, and so am I.

  3. Glad they might help ya Leah!

    And Nicole...I feel for ya. Is she at the age now that she can do some of the picking up herself? Cause I always laugh at myself when I tell Lily, "Okay, it's time to pick up" and of course I'm just picking up while she watches...or tries to hinder! She *does* sometimes help put things away...she likes to mimic me :o) But uh, when can I *hope* she'll actually help out?? :o)