Is Your House Too Clean?

posted by Andrea | 05/5/2011

I’m guessing that after reading the title of this post, some of you might have laughed and rolled your eyes. Your mind might have quickly remembered the pile(s) of dirty laundry on the floor, the baskets of clean laundry waiting to be folded, and the stack of dirty dishes sitting in the sink.

Nope, your house is NOT too clean!

However, as you prepare for your next play date, your next batch of company, or even the friend you know is going to stop by later this weekend, how much time and energy are you going to spend cleaning your house?


Will you shove all your clutter into a back closet, the basement, or under your bed to create a spotless-looking house? Will you sweep, scrub, vacuum, dust, and polish for hours? Will you try to convince your guests that your house is perfectly clean?   Personally, I want our house to be clean and organized for my own sake — and since Dave and I are both very clean {and we don’t have kids} it’s pretty easy to keep our house fairly presentable at all times. However, I’ll be the first to admit that even though our house is usually quite clean, I often do a little extra when I know someone is coming over. I don’t obsess over creating a perfect home, I just want it to look nice — and I really do enjoy cleaning! But you know what, I’ve noticed that having a “too clean house” can actually intimidate our guests.


We had regular company when we lived in our old house, and I often got comments like, “wow, your house is so clean”, or “gosh, I don’t ever want you to come to my house”. I took those statements as compliments, but often wondered if our house really could be “too clean”. I honestly didn’t care if anyone spilled or used a coaster, I tried to keep the atmosphere very casual and never served fancy food — but I could tell that our guests were often worried about making a mess. We’ve continued to invite people over after moving to our new house, but now our house is a total mess! If you don’t believe me, just click here, and here.

And you know what,  I think our guests really like it!

Not that they want us to have a messy house, but I think it’s kind of reassuring that even a professional organizer has dust, dirt, and clutter sitting out in the open for everyone {even company} to see!   So even though I REALLY enjoy having a clean house, I’ve also started to realize that a little bit of clutter, a few dirty dishes, and maybe even a pile of unfolded laundry is actually more inviting for our guests. So I’ve decided that our house should be clean enough for us to feel comfortable, but “messy” enough for our guests to feel comfortable too — does that make sense? After all, the reason we entertain is to enjoy time with our friends — which means those friends must feel comfortable in our home.   Now, I will put ONE disclaimer on my previous statements… once all our home renovations are finished, we’re planning to have a big open house to show off all the work we did — and you better believe I’m going to clean my house like I’ve never cleaned it before :) I’m just saying!!

What about you?

Do you obsess over creating a “too clean” house when company comes over? Is your house a total disaster?  Which in my experience, makes guests even more uncomfortable! Or, do you strike a happy medium of clean enough…but not “too clean”?

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  1. Kari


    Thanks for this post! I need to show it to my husband. I like the house to be in fairly good order when someone stops over. My husband, on the other hand, thinks it needs to be spotless. I can’t complain too much, because someone coming over is what gets him motivated to help me out! :) There definitely is a too messy though! We are friends with a couple whose house is normally is disarray. I want to help pick-up when I go over! But when they come over to our place, I don’t want them to feel insufficient (can’t come up with a better adjective) because they don’t keep as clean of a house.

    A house needs to look lived in to be comfortable.


  2. Stacey


    Thanks to a 3 year old and a needy baby, my house is always a disaster. It stresses me out, especially since our house is on the market but i just cant seem to keep up:(


  3. Cassie


    Great post! I do try to keep my house as clean as I can, because I too, like having a clean home. But I also have two children who are 18 months apart. So my house is never “spotless.” When we have company over, I do try to make it a little cleaner, but there will always be toys somewhere around this house, so it’s never really too clean. :)


  4. Mrs Wonder


    “The only advantage of not being too good a housekeeper is that your guests are so pleased to feel how very much better they are. – Eleanor Roosevelt”
    That’s my motto!
    I’m a horribly messy person. The fact I am a homemaker is sometimes preposterous.


  5. Fiona


    Yes, Andrea, I can see why you say your house is a mess…!!
    However I’ve observed that you appear to be in the process of redesigning and upgrading parts of your home, and the pictures I see here show a temporarily disorganized home!! There is light at the end of the tunnel for your home :-)
    In my home, we don’t have any such excuses – no building work in process or anything like that… No, it’s always in a state of disarray…lol.
    However I’m slowly but surely sorting out these storage areas and I’m striving to find “A Place For Everything.” I follow your Blog with interest, and with four children in our home, it’s often no easy feat to maintain a semblance of order.
    I wish you well in your house remodeling project, and hope to keep you posted on my progress too!
    This post made me smile!


    Andrea Reply:

    yes Fiona, you’re right — we are in the middle of a HUGE construction project which is the main culprit for our super messy house. Over the next couple of months, we should have things wrapped up and looking much cleaner!

    And I’m SO glad my blog is helping you to declutter {by-the-way, going slow is a great idea!!}. Just keep plugging along, little by little, and you’ll most definitely start to see huge progress over time!


  6. Bedalia


    I’ll never forget the time my uncle asked my mother during a visit to my parents’ house, “How do you keep it looking like nobody lives here?” Even as a teen, I recognized the comment as the veiled jab/backward compliment I’m certain it was intended as. I vowed then and there always to have my (future) home reasonably clean and tidy, but comfortable for my guests and (future) family. So far so good!


  7. dorothy


    Time to update these old articles, Andrea! You now have a family!!! lol

    I like my house clean. I like to have a clean house when *some* people come over. Some folks, I couldn’t care less what state of disaster my house looks like; others i definitely chuck things in bags and hide the mess.


  8. Sarah


    I definately do NOT have a house that is too clean. But i have been very intimidated going to other people’s houses at times. A new friend of mine just told me she will try not to pick up before I come over since I look around and wonder why i can’t acheive that level of cleanliness. I swore she would never come to my house until I had everything organized and things looked really under control. Then we had some really bad storms a few days later and I begged her to take refuge in my basement, lol. Luckily she and her family did not judge my mess :)


  9. Nina


    I don’t obsess over cleaning, but my grandma seems to often go over board and do cleaning and tidying up that is unnecessary. For Christmas for example, my mom and I were cleaning inside the house and my grandma was outside gardening, as though the plants were a big deal.

    Another example is that some of my cousins are coming over tonight. My grandma is washing the sheets and all, and I appreciate her help. The thing is though that we made my bed and I got kicked out of my room. If I lay on the bed I would ruin the sheets. I can fix them later if that happens! Also, I have a perfume for sheets. She sprayed a little, but then she got one of the perfumes I use for my body and started spraying tons of that on the sheets! I’ve stopped using that perfume because my parents were saying the scent was too strong, although I didn’t notice. Now that she’s sprayed so much of that stuff though, I can’t even walk into my room!

    With all that she’s doing, you would think some king were coming over, or the president. I appreciate all the help, but it’s too much. So yes, there is such a thing as too clean.