Why I’m Not Cleaning for Company Anymore!

posted by Andrea | 12/13/2012

As I mentioned last week, Dave and I have been hosting all sorts of holiday parties with family and friends. It’s been busy, but fun, and I’m enjoying “showing off” our kitchen and other home projects!

And while it’s tempting {especially for me} to want my home in tip-top shape before company arrives, I’ve decided that’s NOT going to happen anymore. It’s not just because I’m perpetually short on time these days; I’ve simply decided that guests don’t like coming into a home that is perfectly clean. It’s less inviting, less people-friendly, less welcoming.

So believe it or not, when we had all our company over last weekend, I hardly cleaned a thing!

I cleaned the bathrooms and swept/vacuumed on Friday afternoon — and besides daily chores like making the bed, folding laundry, taking out the trash, and washing dishes, I didn’t do anything else to clean our home before company arrived on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night!

No dusting, no mopping the floors, no washing windows, no scrubbing the showers, no shoving things under the bed or in the back closet… nothing! In fact, Dave and I were gone for most of the afternoon on Saturday and only got home about 30 minutes before our guests arrived (and we still had to shower and change our clothes!)

Aren’t you proud of me?!

I will admit that because of my love for organization, our house is almost always decluttered, so I don’t have piles of papers, clothes, toys, etc. lying around (which makes a huge difference in the appearance of a home). However, I can almost guarantee that none of our guests noticed my somewhat dusty end tables, none of them noticed that the showers weren’t sparkling clean, none of them noticed Nora’s finger prints ALL over our windows, and none of them noticed that 3 of our door frames still need another coat of paint :)

Instead, they noticed we had plenty of food, fabulous friends, and lots of fun!

 

Oh, and for the record, I don’t think there is anything wrong with cleaning your house before company comes over. I like my home to look neat and organized as much as anyone else… and personally, I’d rather walk into an overly clean house than an overly dirty house!

The point I’m trying to make is that your home doesn’t have to be perfectly clean for others to feel welcome — and actually, a home that looks a little more “lived-in” will probably feel more welcoming than a spotlessly clean home.

Once again, BALANCE is the key — I’m learning that a lot these days!

How do you create a welcoming home for guests?

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14 comments

  1. Candis

    12/13/2012

    Ha – yes I am so proud of you :-) Thank you for your blog it has keep me striving for balance in my life even in the most difficult days of extreme unbalance.

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  2. Deb

    12/13/2012

    I don’t deep clean for company, but definitely the obvious stuff, it is a balance, I am relaxed in a less than perfect house, but if I go to a friends house and there is laundry on the couch, kitchen a disaster, etc. I cannot relax and just start subconsciously cleaning or planning how to clean…….but only if we are REALLY good friends. ;)

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  3. Jess

    12/13/2012

    Yay! So glad to hear another person with that opinion too! I feel bad for people who never invite anyone over because they haven’t waxed the floors or washed the walls. My house has two mobile 10 month old twin boys and dogs and cats. I’m proud that it’s organized, but it sure isn’t sterile!

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  4. Jamie

    12/13/2012

    Amen! I always feel more at home in other people’s homes when it’s not spic and span, but it’s hard for me to open my house to guests and not have it spotless! Something to work on :)

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  5. Beth

    12/13/2012

    A friend once told me, In her opinion, if a person comes into my house and judges me harshly for it not being perfectly clean, then I don’t want them as my friend. I thought that was well put.

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  6. Jenn

    12/13/2012

    I really enjoy following your posts. It is fun to read about someone that I have a good deal in common with. I too, have been learning the painful lesson of letting go the frantic cleaning prior to company. I think it has encouraged me to relax a bit more while I have friends over, rather than worring about that one thing I didn’t get done.. That I just KNOW they will notice!

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  7. Miranda

    12/13/2012

    Thank you for this post! I am always that person cleaning like a madwoman before company comes – to the point where I rarely have people over because the pre-company clean-up puts me in a bad mood (read: turns me into a nasty, passive aggressive nutjob). I don’t know why I assume anyone cares how dusty the top of my television is, especially because a) my company probably doesn’t notice at all, and b) I never think about how clean someone’s house is when I am a guest myself. So silly the pressure we put on ourselves!

    You have inspired me to clean less while preparing for company, and invite people over more often.

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  8. Charissa

    12/13/2012

    I enjoy entertaining in the evenings because I think homes always look inviting (and cleaner) late in the day. You don’t have to put up with the sun shining on any dust!! Turn down the lights and light some candles. You’re good to go!

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  9. Erin

    12/13/2012

    I completely agree! We’ve got my mom’s big family Christmas at our house this weekend. I figure we’ll get everything picked up/organized (I’ve got a few things to do in that area anyways) and do some lite cleaning. Then Sunday we’ll do a deep clean after the party.

    The last time we had a big group over my husband spent a bunch of time cleaning and I told him not to bother – we’d clean after. After it was over he agreed with me:)

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  10. ivy

    12/13/2012

    My grandmother always told me as long as the entry way, bathroom and kitchen we clean don’t fret over the rest.

    I to have a hard time not wanting everything perfect before people come over, but have realised its not worth getting all stressed out over and making myself and my family miserable trying to be unrealistic about it.

    It is what it is. I agree with one of the previous posters that if someone is going to judge you because of a lived in home then do you really want them as a friend?

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  11. Nicole

    12/13/2012

    Super! I was just reflecting on this a few weeks ago – that the messier someone’s house is when I visit, the more comfortable I am…usually the ‘mess’ is just daily life and creative projects and it lends life and energy to the space. When things are ‘perfect’ and ‘just so’, with all the projects and real things of life put away, it seems to be a way to prevent people from knowing you; creates a secretiveness that puts people on edge. I’ve learned a lot from my partner, who always makes sure to leave out the things we are currently working on, as ways to begin conversations and put people at ease. Not cleaning (much) is just another way to create comfort and ease with guests, plus it takes the time pressure off the hosts too ;) . I do still clean the toilet before a big visit, and try to make the guest room comfortable and clean, if people are staying over. Thanks for writing about this!

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  12. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    12/13/2012

    I never have been one to do a lot of cleaning for company. I keep a decent house most of the time so I don’t have to worry when company’s coming. Plus I never wanted to clean so much that I was worn out when company got here. I’d rather spend my time cooking for them and then visiting with them than cleaning. So part of the reason I clean a little each day is so that I’m always company ready!

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  13. Maria

    12/14/2012

    I don’t clean for company either! I decided to stop doing so one winter day, when they all dirtied my floor after I spent time cleaning it :( On that day, I just realised it was pointless and what was important was the time we spent together not the fact of having a perfectly cleaned house…. Plus the fact that you don”t feel frustrated , especially when there are kids, to see them touching everything.

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  14. Kate

    12/19/2013

    I stopped deep cleaning for company and it makes having visitors less stressful! Especially since our gatherings usually include children and food. I wait to do things like mopping until after. Just basic wipe down of the bathroom, sweep and vacuum, scrub kitchen sink and we’re good!

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