Day 19. Scope out the House: Are You Over-the-Top?

Thank you for joining me in this 31-days to Stress-Free Entertaining series. And for all of your encouraging comments! Yesterday I posted a cool giveaway on RE, and today, it’s still not too late to enter. Tomorrow I’ll post the winner!

It’s time to start thinking ahead to when your guests arrive.

What will your house look like? What are their first impressions, and do these impressions even matter? Again, I write about this in my new book, The Reluctant Entertainer, on overcoming “perfect” and settling in to “good enough.” Melissa from The Inspired Room (another 31-Day sister), shares a very meaningful post on this subject. Melissa says,

I have seasons when I make myself declare my home is “good enough,” even if it is just good enough for now. I use those regular self-imposed times of “no time consuming improvements” to help myself focus on other priorities in life. – Melissa Michaels

In getting ready for a dinner party, I think it’s good to think about our house when inviting others in. But that does not mean we have to go overboard …

– Remember it does not have to be perfect
– Always have one clean bathroom for the guests
– Scope out the area where people will gather and make sure it’s tidied up
Know that our friends are coming to see us, and not our houses

I remember years ago when I was way too detail-oriented and over-the-top in cleaning my house for guests to arrive. I’d dust everything. As a kid, even though my Mom was not a perfectionist, we’d have to rake our shag carpets. Did you ever rake your shag carpets as a kid?

Sometimes I use “detail and cleaning” as an excuse to get done what I probably should have gotten done 2 weeks prior, if that makes sense. In other words, having guests over helps motivate me to clean and tidy up.

But please, do not stress about your house. Do not make your family miserable, either. It’s not worth it. Life is too short. We have too much to learn from one another, and for our family, this has happened over the years around the dinner table.

The dinner table is where life happens, much of the time.

Do you stress that your house is not good enough to have guests over? Or are you a little over-the-top when it comes to having it clean or perfect?

There is a whole chapter on perfectionism in my new book that will rock your world!

Don’t forget to join the other 31-Day bloggers
Chatting at the Sky, Nesting Place, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, My First Kitchen, Life With My 3 Boybarians, Remodeling This Life, The Inspired Room

21 comments on “Day 19. Scope out the House: Are You Over-the-Top?”

  1. Pingback: 31 Days to Stress-Free Entertaining! — Reluctant Entertainer

  2. I had to laugh because having people over always motivates me to clean! :) I also agree with the “less than perfect house” being more relaxing..I always feel that way too. I have a friend who has a ‘perfect house’ everytime I go there and I just want to go home and clean! I always feel stressed afterwards, lol. I’ve accepted that my house will have toys and little ones running about and it’s ok. :)

  3. I love how having a party motivates so many of us to get things done!!

  4. I try not to be “over the top” – but, sometimes this little voice starts telling my brain that “ewww – you really need to clean the slats on the blinds/shutters” or “when is the last time you wiped down the door frames & light fixtures?”… Arrgghh!

    The wise woman that teaches my MOMS bible study always reminds us to treat our family like honored guests & our guests like family.

    Thanks for this gentle reminder to not stress over the unimportant stuff!

  5. I am glad we can sometimes settle for “good enough”. I used to stress really bad, but finally came to realize that it wasn’t worth it to be stressed so bad-takes away the purpose of having company to relax and enjoy! I continue to tell my husband that if things aren’t perfect, it’s no big deal. He’s not a perfectionist either, but it just helps us to relax a little bit when preparing for company.

  6. We used to sweep the shag and then were forbidden from stepping foot it by my Mom. Luckily, I’ve learned to wait to clean until after the company leaves.

  7. Great post. Personally I actually feel more relaxed when I’m invited to someone’s house that’s “less than perfect”. In fact, for this reason, my husband encourages me to purposely simplify how we entertain. He thinks if we pull out fine china, people will feel uncomfortable and conversations are more stuffy. We stick with everyday china (or paper plates and plastic utensils if it’s a large party), minimal/no decorations. And (gasp) we sometimes just go with takeouts if we’ve been too busy! In fact, with a toddler and an infant in the house, he told me to default to takeout. His wise counsel frees me up to be hospitable and welcome guests more than I would otherwise.

  8. Thank you for this series. I am Ms. Perfectionist. Dust the top of the front door; clean out the kitchen junk drawer; tidy up the bathroom cabinets; etc. etc. etc!! This past weekend we had a party for my husband’s birthday. I did not dust (if you don’t touch it who really knows and we were outside), bathroom was clean, carpet and kitchen floor vacuumed, and the crucial stuff (food, outside ambiance items and a great guest list) was done, there was no stress, and we had a great time. I guess reading your blog daily has already taken me down a notch. Thanks, I attribute the success to you!!

  9. I have learned not to STRESS. I almost like it when friends “pop” in because I am more relaxed. Kind of like, “here I am…messy house, dirty dishes and all!” I just try to keep things picked up, because it means less work if it all gets left for later. I also love to do as much ahead of time when I have time, so that when emergencies come up, I am not a STRESS MONKEY! {I love keeping things in my freezer so that we have time to entertain at a moments notice!)

  10. I try not to stress too much. I do remember a time when the girls were helping me clean before company and they commented something like this “why do we have to do so much when people come over, but not when it’s just us”. That clued me in that maybe I was going a bit overboard. Not that my house is ever messy, but maybe there are things I let slide or go undone because I’m “comfortable” with it for my family, but freak out when I realize someone else is coming into my home.

  11. My husband used to be able to tell how close we were to the Big Entertaining Event at Our House by my degree of frenzy about cleaning. Not good. Now my goal is for him to be surprised and say, “It’s tonight???”

  12. this blog is so wonderful. I so wish I would have found something like this when I was raising our family. We are now empty nesters, but now the family has GROWN and still I stress when I entertain! I think I need to buy your book for myself but then on the other hand my 3 grown daughters might appreciate it in their ‘santa bags’ I make every year!!
    I so need to remember that friends are coming to visit me and not my clean house!

    thanks again this is such a lovely blog!


  13. Mine is a bit of a mess now. Need to fix that before the holidays. Thanks for the chance to win.

  14. Alas, I just put my family through about four hours of stressful, panicked, frantic cleaning of the guest room suite Sunday. Have I learned nothing? These were unexpected and rare guests and I just freaked out! No one wanted to be anywhere near me and I couldn’t stand it. They stayed overnight and left in the morning. Hello?! That was not worth it! I vow that I will not do that again! I will CHOOSE to be pleased with the house as it is, and look forward to my company. They will get a clean bed and clean bathroom! And I will look forward to the next visit.

    Thanks for the post! Love your series!

  15. An anticipated gathering is always motivation for me; although I don’t stress as much as I did when I was younger raising a family. I’m 56 and an empty nester and have learned that it really doesn’t matter all that much. As long as things are tidy; and, yes, there’s a clean bathroom for guests, it’s fine. I love your blog, Sandy. It’s refreshing, inspirational and fun! I only wish these wonderful blogs were available way back when I was a young wife and mother. :) That’s okay…better late than never!

  16. Just had twenty people over for pizza and while cleaning the the living room,I noticed how dirty the windows were. What a motivation to clean the windows. I only did this one room as it was the room we would all be in. I get to the rest of the house later. Clean windows make the whole room look clean.

  17. Sandy, I too find motivation to clean by entertaining…if my house needs a good cleaning, then I need to host a party…I wish I was more disciplined, but I’m not….I learned long ago to accept what I could reasonably accomplish without making myself and my family miserable as a result. I look forward to each days post☺

  18. While I’ve never raked a shag rug (great idea) I have often do so much cleaning and prep work that by the time the guests arrive I’m so exhausted I only want them to go home so I can rest!

  19. Oh yes, I have raked carpet! Bright orange shag with brown appliances in the kitchen & orange/brown striped curtains. Sounds frightful but great memories happened in that house including raking carpet. :) Thanks for the reminder!

  20. I used to stress out but now I just make sure that the main living area is tidied up and then shut the rest of the doors. LOL!
    You know what a great motivator to cleaning your house is? Getting it ready to show if you are selling it. Trust me, I’ve gone through the frantic “making it perfect” more than I want to admit. I’m pretty over it at this point. In fact I’ve thought of making a sign and hanging it on the front door when people come to look at it, that says, ” People still live here, so what you see is what you get!” LOL!
    Have a blessed day!
    P.S. I know it’s been awhile since you’ve visited my blog but I’m having a little giveaway to celebrate my 800th post if you want to stop by to enter.

  21. I’m learning. :) And I did not stress out over the rug pad that was too big and stuck out from under the rug for the big coffee morning last week. I think the furniture was arranged in that section so that no one noticed (and my husband finally found a tool to trim it this weekend- at the grocery store because of course that’s where they would be found- just as shoelaces aren’t at a shoe store but at some outdoor market or undergarments hanging on the metro walls by scotch tape!).

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