Why should I clean my house for company?

Why should I clean my house for company? Relish your home, perfect or not, and learn how to enjoy the people who come into your cozy space!

Why Should I Clean My House?

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 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.

Why Should I Clean My House?

Clean my house.

I know my guests don’t really care if I clean my house, and 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 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!

7 comments on “Why should I clean my house for company?”

  1. I like to invite fiends or family to come and visit because it really does force me to at least get everything picked up. I find it highly motivating! It may not be scrubbed from top to bottom, but it does look better. Left to my own devices there I always tomorrow to clean.

  2. My house is in the too quiet following my son’s 2 day visit home with a special friend. I had the house in inviting order when they arrived, complete with fresh flowers. We were so excited to have the time together. We had a busy day yesterday, with friends and their kids coming for dessert last night. There are still dirty dishes and the beds are unmade. I am puttering today, enjoying the memories

  3. Great reminder to be a little more relaxed and just enjoy the visit of friends rather than having to make the house absolutely perfect :)

  4. It’s so true. It took me years to realize that not inviting a neighbor in when they’d stop by because my house was a bit of a mess was hurting friendships. So I’ve tried to be more relaxed about it. But if I know someone’s coming I still have to make sure everything’s just right.

  5. This is really insightful and great food for thought. I am NOT a neat freak and NOT organized in the slightest, but my husbands love language is clean and organized, so I try. Try being the appropriate word!! I would say we are cluttered, but for the most part, clean. I have stuff that I like out, (like my vacuum, I dont ever put it away!) but things are not dirty. Floors are cleaning and counters wiped. I like your perspective on being free, and am going to explore that process more in my home!

  6. I’ll also add that I definitely have loosened my expectations…..especially if it’s last minute company…as long as things are picked up and floors swept, toilet clean, i’m good! Hubby is a bit more of a perfectionist. My goal is to always have the house “clean” because at one time my girls commented on the fact that “why do we clean so much for company and not so much for ourselves” or something to that effect…it was years ago…hmmmm…what did that speak to my girls about their value…do I care more about a clean house persona for others or do I value my family and want my house clean for them…and my house wasn’t ever a disaster.

  7. Great post Sandy….I’d say a bit of both….I do it for myself because for me I feel more peace when the house isn’t a disaster. My girls are older now so I don’t wrestle with the toys, sticky messes, etc..but the weekdays can get busy and so there is just usually “clutter” on the tables, maybe I haven’t gotten around to cleaning the toilets or doing the floors. I do it for the guests only so they can come in and have a place to sit, smell a yummy meal or candles….maybe because while I don’t go to people’s houses for the “clean” factor or the house, the fact is, if I go in to a house that is a complete disaster with sticky messes all over, dirty floors, no real room to sit, I’m not as comfortable and relaxed. It doesn’t have to be spotless and like you said, the “after” might be a bit messy (which is totally fine), but I think it shows a form of honor and value for ourselves and others when we take time to tidy up even just a bit. Not sure if that makes sense. My goal is the people whether my house or theirs for sure but the atmosphere and surroundings do play a part to some degree.

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