A Slice of Housekeeping

I wrote about my perfectionism and procrastination in my previous post – and there is a certain amount of those traits that cause me to react to housework the same as I do writing.

I love a clean house, but if you have children and/or pets, you know that maintaining a clean house is a bit like being Sisyphus pushing that big ol’ rock up the hill.

After a while, perfectionism (or just frustration) kicks in and the thought crosses my mind that if it can’t stay nice, why bother.

Until you know you’re going to have company.

After the thought of even the possibility of others who do not routinely visit or live here seeing the insides of my house, the landscape changes. Instead of harmless piles of books and clean laundry and magazines and mail, I see dust and pet hair and sloppy organization. I start to see it through the meanest possible lens — even if I know that our friends are probably not going to judge what they see with the same labels I see pop into my head. (For the record, I don’t judge the housekeeping of others – this is purely how I fear others would judge me…)

So today, on the off chance that friends would end up at our house, I settled for something slightly less chaotic than an all-night cleaning spree.

Twenty minutes. That’s it. Put things back where they belong (or at least on my desk — which still isn’t clean and functional – but I’m hoping it will be after I have seen Teresa’s new one on Facebook!). Put some dishes away and wipe off the counters. Quick run of the vacuum cleaner – but just upstairs. Nothing fancy.

It didn’t look the cleanest it’s ever been, but it seemed less messy and more tidy.

I’ll take it.

It might be that this is a good reason to have people over more often. :)


25 thoughts on “A Slice of Housekeeping

    • I think I straightened up the book stacks. Anyone who knows me knows that there are going to be piles and piles of books in my space. I don’t worry about that too much.. BUT it is nice if there looks like there is some kind of order! :)

  1. I love it when we get company. I am so good about cleaning up. Actually I do that for the cleaning lady every other week. What a feeling to have things put away, isn’t it?

    • It is wonderful to have things put away. I always feel better when the house is tidy. We don’t have a cleaning lady, but I suspect that if we did, I would clean before she came…

    • I rarely wait for perfect when housekeeping happens – it’s too easy to make this justification for NOT cleaning house at all. Of course, it’s why I pray that people don’t just drop in – I’d rather read than clean. :)

  2. Company coming is the sounding bell for my husband to do the jobs that he has neglected. Which is a catch 22 because there is suddenly a flurry of activity with undone projects and all I want is some help to clean the house. I think I am going to follow your lead and keep the news a surprise.

  3. I’ve been putting off that 20 minutes until tonight–when I learned we were going to have company tomorrow! There are still dust bunnies lurking nearby, but most of the junk is cleared away the major dirt cleaned. I make no promises about tomorrow, though!

  4. I’m a flybaby! Lol. Definitely believe in the 15 minute principle. But my perfectionism derails me to turn 15 minutes into 45 waaaay too often. I mostly like how she phrases housekeeping as “Blessing your home.” When I think about it that way, I get way less grumpy about it! :) Hope you enjoyed your company–that’s the most important thing!

    • We had a fantastic visit with our friends – as we always do!

      Glad I’m not the only one who gets hung up – everything seems to take longer than she thinks it will.

  5. I feel the same way! I take comfort in a sign hanging (crookedly, no less) over the back door that says “Dull women have immaculate houses.” Here’s to interesting women and lived-in houses!

  6. I wonder why we ALL worry about company when most of us live with some mess. Ha…having said that I think I might tidy a bit to keep up from 2 weeks ago when company stayed over and I really cleaned.

  7. You’ve written words we can all identify with! I loved the way you said you don’t judge the housekeeping of others, but still you see your own through the meanest possible lens… that same little mind game is played in my thoughts so often!

  8. Loved your post and then everyone’s comments. Some of the smartest words my mom ever shared with me were that if a house at least looked tidy, people could look past the dust. Your plan sounded perfect to me! Hope you got to enjoy the time with friends then!

  9. It’s all about the lens we look through, isn’t it? Good for you for holding back and doing what was reasonable rather than the cleaning frenzy part of you felt compelled to carry out!

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