Relish Your Home, Perfect or Not
I won’t lie to you. When I know company is coming, I usually clean my house. Do you?
I know we all want to be authentic and real, and just let our homes “be as they are” when our guests arrive, but honestly, I think most of us feel we have to “get the house ready” in some way.
There are different levels of getting a house ready. To some it may mean a quick sweep in the kitchen, wiping off the counters, picking up the clutter. (Hand raised, that’s me even if I have very little warning, and I’m okay with it!)
To others it means taking 1 complete day to scrub and clean every nook and cranny, plus some. (Hand raised, I may do this if I’m hosting a large dinner party and I have the time).
And then to others, they’d be mortified if someone came over unannounced and their house wasn’t perfect. (Hand raised, this used to be me.)
I enjoy the “before.”
The difference for me, is–if I have time–I actually enjoy and like to dive in and organize and clean. It gives me motivation, since I really don’t have a regular cleaning routine or a housekeeper.
I clean my house more for me.
I enjoy the “before” process (most of the time).
I enjoy the “after.”
When I go to my friend Stephanie’s house in Portland for the weekend, her house is always spotless when we arrive. It’s just what women do, especially with out-of-town guests. You get your house ready! But by the time we leave (she has 3 small kids), I’d say it’s sometimes a mess. By the way, even though her house is sparkly clean when we arrive, you can still see the trail of kid projects, organized toys, real-life living. Homes tell the most honest of stories, after all.
Same for when her family of 5 comes to visit us here in Medford. They walk in the door, everything is shining, and seriously, within 2 hours, the toys are ripped out of the closet, pool towels, kid toys, blankets, food they brought to enjoy with our family—you name it, the house is cluttered, the kitchen is full, the sound in the house is alive with vitality and love.
And when they leave, it’s not too bad. They take their stuff, and I pick up.
I really enjoy the “after.” The house is quiet, I have mixed feelings of sadness, because their family means the world to us, so every minute together is a precious gift.
But the “after” mess is real life, and I like to savor it.
Guests don’t really care.
I know my guests don’t really care if things aren’t perfect, and I certainly don’t cast any judgment upon them for their mess. (Read more about this subject in Myquillin’s new book, The Nesting Place. You’ll love her perspective on the home!)
The reality is that we all have a starting point and an ending point with hospitality.
It’s like a yard stick – some will be on the far left, and some on the far right when it comes to preparation for guests. It doesn’t really matter where we are though, as long as our focus is on the people we’re hosting.
I really believe we clean our houses for ourselves, and to what degree is left up to our standards of perfectionism.
For me, I want to enjoy a night with friends, in their home, in their mess (if there is one), eating their food, loving on their kids, hearing their life stories, and maybe even tucking their little ones in to bed.
I’ve really found freedom in knowing my guests appreciate me for who I am; not for my perfect house.
Are you free?
So, company’s coming. Are you free to be you, to relish your home–perfect or not–and to enjoy your guests?
Just being real here, I’d love to know if you feel you clean your house more for you, or for your guests?
If you struggle in this area of perfectionism, here’s a list of posts I’ve written that I hope will encourage you. I also want to thank my beautiful daughter, Abby, for her presence in these happy pictures! Happy weekend, Friends!