|Image credit: vegadsl’s|
Bird made a list this weekend. A list of how many of her friends have cleaner houses than we do. Most of them do. (Honestly, our house is a bit of a mess most of the time, but not unpleasantly so…usually.) Bird’s list got me thinking.
I rarely clean the whole house all at once, unless company is coming. There is no point. The mess returns so quickly that I prefer to do bits at a time. I admitI love the feeling of sitting on the couch, with a good book, and the whole house clean and order. But then, I find myself unfairly frustrated when someone tarnishes the perfect order. Not a good place to be. Maybe I am excusing my lack of discipline but I often remind myself that when I die, I don’t want to be remembered for how clean my house was or wasn’t. Somewhere in the middle seems good.
I wonder why I clean the whole house for company? To create a false impression? To make myself feel good? I mean why mop the floor when twelve adults and 6 kids will soon be moving around leaving crumb trails? Shouldn’t I mop after they leave?
Another issue I have with my own habit of whole house cleaning before company is the message I send my girls. Yes, it is important for guests to feel comfortable in my home and to some extent a clean, orderly house aids in this feeling. But why don’t I ever do this just for my family, to aid in the calm, orderly feeling I want to create? (I know, some of you amazing women, the ones born with an organizing gene, you don’t know what I am talking about.)
Honestly I don’t have an answer or a lovely spiritual analogy to make here. Today is a ramble sort of day. A day you can share your thoughts and encouragement. Here’s the truth: when I come to your house, and your pile of papers to file is on the counter and a basket of laundry to be folded is on the couch, and a few dirty dishes are in the sink I feel welcomed. Like I can be myself. Like you are not hiding anything from me. It feels familiar. Like when a friend shares a real struggle. Then I feel honored to see the real person, sin and all, in front of me. I prefer your house to be a bit disorganized. I like the idea of cleaning to bless my family rather than cleaning to impress my guests. I like the idea of being real and not apologizing for the mess (how many times I have done this!). So next time I come over, please, don’t clean your house. And definitely, don’t invite my daughter if you just cleaned. It gives me a bad reputation.
(And if you are one of those ladies, who truly never have a mess in your house, you can make me feel better by calling me on the day you have a mess that is driving you crazy. I’d like to come encourage you to sit on the couch with tea and chat with me, while the mess stays put. It might be good for you. And then you can come over and show me a better way to handle one of my messes.)
So, when do you clean your house? Why do you clean your house?