Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Come On In!

I have proof positive that my house used to pretty clean. I mean, our bedroom would get pretty neglected and piled up with laundry and never dusted....but the main part of the house, when Sweetheart was a baby, was just fine.

I know this because all the pictures of her when she is little? The background looks GOOOOOD. I KNOW I did not pick up before I snapped one of the thousands of pictures I have of her. Also, we lived next door to some close friends and we were in and out of each other's homes all the time. My house looked OK.

I really can't pinpoint when the demise began. I remember the summer I quit work and I had 4 year old Sweetheart and 6 month old Little Bit and 15-20 boxes from my classroom stacked all over the house. It looked pretty bad then.

I really don't have people stop by much anymore. We, and all our friends, are far past the stage when you all have one baby and can still get together on Friday nights and eat pizza and watch movies together while the babies fall asleep. We are far past the age when you can just run by some one's house. We are at baseball and soccer and karate and dance and school and birthday parties and ACK!!! Plus there are just too many of us now to get together much.

And, we are here ALL the time. I don't send my girls off to school and get busy straightening up the house while they are gone. Although I do daydream about that sometimes.

So I don't keep my house very picked up. I think I would do better if I KNEW people would be dropping in unannounced. But they don't. I have to get with it. Plus, and tell me if you agree with this, our home is older and it just takes more for it to look good. Our old house looked good even with no furniture in a room becuase it was just newer and nice. It's harder to keep an older home looking good.

In a few weeks we have Little Bit's birthday party. The week after that we are hosting the salad portion of a progressive dinner for church. On Thursdays now we have 2 ladies coming over for Bible study.

I have to get with it. I cannot spend all my time doing emergency cleaning.

I have a slight panic attack when I think about those big events and having lots of people over. There is so much that needs to be done. I KNOW hospitality does not mean having a perfect house, but it has to be better than this!

Are you company ready? Are you best friend ready? Do you panic when you have a big event? Tell me. I want to know if I'm normal. :)

And also, if you know how I can get back to how my house looked in 1999, I would really appreciate that.


  1. I have been reading your blog for awhile now and am so blessed by it. I totally agree about an older house being harder to make it look clean than a newer one. I have 6 kids and homeschool as well. We don't have many people drop by, but when I know someone is coming it is major clean up time around here! I do try to keep the entry way living room and office area picked up so I don't have to panic when the doorbell rings.LOL. It is so nice to hear that other peoples homes are not sparkling clean all the time. :) -Angie

  2. No, I would not say I'm company ready. My children are grown, but I don't have the energy I used to have. All houses get that lived-in look, no matter what your family situation.

  3. Being a preachers wife got me started on having my house 'ready'. Even if it was just the main living areas, kitchen and front bathroom. The rest of the house could be a mess but those areas had to be at least cleaned and tidy. You learn to do it after the embarrassment you feel when church ladies stop by unexpectedly and don't take the "not a good time for me" excuse. : )

  4. Angie, why is that? Why does my older home not look as nice even when it's all picked up?

    Yes G--I guess that would do it.

  5. Okay. I went from being a total slob 7 years ago to being "company ready" pretty much all the time unless we just got home from a camping trip where it rained the entire time or everyone fell in the river daily (as per our trip last weekend). Then it takes me a few days to recover.

    Unfortunately, I am one of those people who sees a mess and has no idea where to start. It just looks overwhelming to me so, naturally, I wander around picking things up and putting them back down somewhere else. Cleaning house was a huge and difficult task for me so I have a few tricks I use all the time that really help me - the scatterbrained, easily overwhelmed type.

    Of course, the first trick is to get rid of clutter. I declutter constantly. I have no idea how it keeps coming back but it does. I just keep throwing it back out.

    My second trick is that I count things. Every time I have a huge mess, say in the home school room, I tell myself "Self, pick up 25 things and put them away". Then I pick up 25 things and put them where they go. Then I look around and see if I need to do it again. I keep doing it until there is nothing else to pick up and then I tell myself "Self, pick up 10 more things and put them away". I can always find 10 more things even if I have to pick up peices of thread off the carpet. The last 10 things get the area really neat.

    Trick number three is one I got from another mom of 6. She told me "never go from one room to another without taking something with you". Of course, I don't do this EVERY time I go from one room to another but I do try to have the "leave it better than you found it" mantra when I'm walking through a room. This honestly does not take much time.

    My fourth trick is to fold laundry staight from the dryer and put into baskets designated for each child, or put it away (linens, grown-up clothes, etc). That is a HUGE mess saver. It takes 5 minutes to fold a load of clothes and it saves lots of stress.

    And for my next trick (tada) I give each one of my older kids (there are 5 of them ages 5-13) a room to clean up every day. I assign the room and we do it right after they get done with their room/reading time every day. They dig toys out from under the couch, straighten chairs, sweep, wipe down the bathrooms, sweep the deck, etc. Whatever needs to be done. It only takes about 5 or 10 minutes.

    This is NOT to say that my house is ready for a visit from the president or Martha Stewart or anything but it's neat enough that I don't have a panic attack when somebody pulls in the driveway unexpectedly.

    I think the trick is to slowly develop new habits and MAKE yourself stick with them.

  6. Tonya, THANK YOU! It is so encouraging to hear from someone who understands! I have been working on doing things as I walk by and straightening up one or 2 things in a room when I'm there.

    My kids do help with a lot but somehow 2 kids don't have the impact that 5 or 6 do! In 5 or 10 minutes, we only get 3 areas clean instead of 6!

    And oh the decluttering...yes. I have to keep working on that one.

  7. You could always look at the bright side of that and say, 2 kids only make 1/3 of the mess that 6 kids make. Actually, my older two kids mess consists of leaving their dirty socks on the couch and wrecking their room but the baby more than makes up for that. I told my SIL that I am running a montessori pre-school without the mess containment. And everything is fair game since I don't usually notice what she's done until after she's done it. At least she's learning through play, right:?.

    My personal favorite of those tricks I mentioned is counting things. It breaks the job down into managable portions with an end in plain view which helps my brain type immensely.

  8. I would not let my best friend in my home today or most days for that matter.When I was growing up our house was spotless every drawer every closet every room.My sister and I dusted and vaccumed the whole house everyday after school.We also cleaned the bathrooms,set,cleared the table,and did the dishes each night.It was a wonderful place to live.Try as I might I just can't seem to keep my house so perfect or even presentable.I know it has a lot to do with 5 kids and homeschooling but having a messy house really steals my joy and I need to over come it SOON.Sending the kids to school isn't an option though I suppose they will go to college someday.LucyT

  9. I know how it feels to not have a nicer new house to keep house in. Just this last week though I am finding that vacuuming window screens, cleaning the inside of windows and vacuuming walls and floors has really helped to brighten things up. (Yes, vacuum walls, it seemed to remove a layer of dust that I would not have believed was there and the odd cobweb too.)

    I have 4 kids but haven't managed to have time to train the olders when littles keep arriving. The youngest is 2 now so hopefully soon.

    Good luck on the cleaning.

    Best wishes
    Jen in Oz


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)