It’s embarrassing to be reminded. Some people clean their houses every week, on the same day of the week.
I’ve come so far from that, and I don’t necessarily call it progress. My house gets… no wait, a room in my house may get cleaned when it becomes difficult to navigate through it. My whole house gets cleaned only when I’ve lost something and need to find it. Of course, I might find it in the first room I clean, in which case only one room gets cleaned.
Spot cleaning is my specialty. Spots on the floor, piles of mail on the table, sink full of dishes, a cat mess, a dead plant, are all within my 15 minute tolerance for housecleaning. In fact I often turn to these obvious, flagrant crimes against clean to avoid other things I don’t want to do. High levels of anxiety over other areas of life can be temporarily muted by these small but visible improvements.
My most effective tool against messy, dirty house is to invite company. I like to have dinner time company and that is my most compelling reason to clean the living room, dining room and kitchen. If it’s the first time in my house for a visitor I am aware of how important that first impression can be. I can get close to being fussy clean for those people. If the company “knows” my kitchen from having been there many times, I skip being tidy because I’m counting on that first impression over-riding everything they’ve seen since. It works. Kind of…
Overnight company is more of a problem. I should really clean the whole house, except for rooms I keep locked (!!?) My solution is to only invite family, meaning people who have lived in my house before, to stay overnight. I leave the cleaning supplies where they can find them and if they’re bothered they can do a little cleaning in their spare time. They are on vacation and have lots of that.
My bottom line is keeping relationships as the most important thing. Remember that little poem?
Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
For babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow
So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep
I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.
I don’t know who wrote it but I have it memorized from those days in the rocking chair with my little daughters. It applies to company too, of all ages. Better to let them know I like them and want to be with them, if they don’t mind my messy house. I’m just sayin’ they might even be relieved to see that my house looks kind of like theirs…