We had the same argument for about a year straight. Country Boy loved having people over for dinner…spontaneously. I like a plan. And of course I needed time to clean my whole house! After the umpteenth time of us disagreeing about having company over at the last-minute, I decided that this was NOT working. So I made a decision that for one year I would say yes every time my husband asked to have people over. In that year I learned a lot about myself, hospitality and my cleaning style! How we think about our home, cleaning and our clutter can increase or kill relationships. Here are some of my lessons learned with 5 ways to develop a household cleaning style that deepens relationships.
5 Ways to Develop a Household Cleaning Routine that Deepens Relationships
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I read this amazing book The House That Cleans Itself in March as part of my reading goals for 2018. The book by Mindy Starns Clark is a cleaning book unlike any other! Can’t wait to tell you some of her tips later in this post. But it reminded me of the year that I said yes to hospitality. That year stretched me to make my household cleaning style something that allowed me to feel free to open my home more not less! So how can you use cleaning and decluttering as a tool to deepen friendships?
Create a Clean Home Not a Perfect Home
If our goal is to have more authentic friendships then we need to spend time together. Sharing your “space” with others allows them to get to know you a little more. So make your home about people and relationships not about perfection!
So guilty! This was one of my biggest barriers. I am not a naturally super organized, minimalistic person. But I did have a pretty high standard. And trying to achieve that at the last-minute felt so stressful. I chose many times to not have people over rather than risk them seeing a less than perfect home.
Some things to keep in mind if you struggle in this area:
- Most people only “look” at your home the first time they come. So feel free to spend a little extra time on a new family coming over for dinner. After that relax and make it all about the relationship.
- If you are too perfectionist about how your place looks, others may feel like they need to follow your lead. Would you rather your friend or family member invite you over? Or would you rather they not because they are worried about how you might view their home?
- Most people feel honored to receive an invitation and are blessed by whatever effort you had time to make.
2. Make Your Home a Self-Cleaning Home
Set your home and cleaning routines up for success by creating a home that works with your typical cleaning style and your family’s needs! Have you heard of this great book The House That Cleans Itself?
The title of this book is what caught my eye! The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark has so many great ideas. And those that struggle with cleaning are going to love that the author Mindy Starns Clark declares herself “housekeeping impaired.” As she points out, most cleaning and decluttering books are written by those who are gifted at cleaning and organizing.
Naturally organized people tend to come up with suggestions that rarely help “housekeeping impaired.” But thank goodness for The House That Cleans Itself!
Here are just a few of the fresh ideas that I learned in The House That Cleans Itself:
- Walk into each room. Where does your eye go to first? A room will feel clean if whatever your eye sees first is neat and organized. So pay close attention to those areas and declutter or move furniture to fix those “first impressions.”
- Work with your family’s needs. Does your family keep dropping mail or book bags in a certain area no matter how many reminders? Move or create a storage area where it will actually be used.
- Create tuck-away storage areas for ongoing projects. One home we lived in I had a cupboard area in the kitchen converted into a bookshelf and a filing cabinet so that papers and homeschool books could be pulled out and put away simply. Are you a crafter or homeschool mom? Do you have items that you need to access daily? Create a storage area that can be “hidden” quickly while still fitting with your lifestyle and personality needs.
- Streamline your cleaning by thinking like a hotel. Hotels attach more items to the wall such as lights and tissue dispensers. Clark reminds us to make cleaning easier by moving things off the counters or tables and use the “up and away” principle as she refers to it.
Clark also leads you through various exercises to get behind your “Why’ when it comes to cleaning and decluttering. I found all her ideas fascinating and very insightful. I’m slowly trying to implement and utilize her ideas creating a house that cleans itself!
3. Make Cleaning and Tidying a Daily Activity
Create good cleaning habits and routines. Everyone has a different method to their cleaning. Some like to clean certain rooms on certain days. Others like to break it into 2 bigger days.
However, make sure to put small cleaning routines into each day so your house doesn’t need a whole day just to get back under control.
We want to look for ways to make cleaning and decluttering part of each day so that our home can be company ready in just a few hours.
Check out some of these sites and their great cleaning tips, printables and feed. I enjoy Clean Mama over on Instagram as she has beautiful pictures with helpful daily cleaning reminders.
FlyLady is for those who are really struggling and want to create new “cleaning habits” with daily encouragement. I love her idea that you are not behind, just start where you are.
Good Life Wife has a great post here on The Magic of Cleaning Routines and breaking your home into 2 zones. Also make sure to grab her free printables for a whole house checklist plus a yearly deep cleaning schedule:)!
Company coming and you want to stay focused and on task to clean and tidy the house? Money Saving Mom has a detailed 2 hour cleaning schedule. Set the timer and work away. It is super helpful if you are like me and get sidetracked. And if you have a sidekick or two you can get the house clean in under 2 hours!! Yay!
Another trick I used when the kids were younger was a quick 15-20 minute tidying “game” every few evenings. Pass out baskets to everyone. Each person heads to a different room. Put anything in your basket that does not belong. Go to the next room. Take anything out of the basket that belongs in that room. Pick up anything in that room that doesn’t belong, placing in the basket. Continue going to the next room. You can replace and tidy so much in just 15 minutes and it feels a bit like a racing game!
4. Take Your Home Outside
Make your home a place to gather and deepen friendships by utilizing the outdoors. People love to gather around in the evenings in the summer for a bonfire or to just enjoy the cool of the evening. Make use of your porch or back yard to visit and entertain. Clean the kitchen and the bathroom and don’t fuss about the rest!
A couple of tips we have used:
- A laundry basket is a great way to carry all the items you might need for a meal outside.
- If you don’t have a table to lay out food you can also use saw horses and a board (country living at its finest:). Or you can keep the food inside.
- Invite your guests to bring their own lawn chairs.
5. Make Your Home Welcoming
Keep a few things on hand to make your home feel pretty and welcoming. Fresh baked cookies cover any flaws in my book:) So when I make cookies I like to portion out one tray of cookie dough, pop in freezer and then put frozen cookies in a zip lock for quick cookies later! I also like to keep our guest bathroom fairly clean so that a guest dropping by has a clean powder room. Of course now one of our kids uses that bathroom so that has become more challenging;)!
You may also like to keep some basic pantry items on hand for a fool-proof meal so that you will have a little extra wiggle room in your schedule for more cleaning and preparing.
What makes you feel good about your home. Do you love fresh flowers and want to pay special attention to your flowers outside? Do you love candles or using essential oils?
Pick a couple of things to have on hand that allow you to feel “happy” to open your home.
5 Ways to Develop a Household Cleaning Style that Deepens Relationships
Do you enjoy being invited over to a friend’s house? Do you feel like it makes a difference in your friendship? Have you read The House That Cleans Itself?
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