I have neglected my blog for a week now--and for a good reason. No, not just because I am struggling to balance the blog=addiction versus blog=pleasant creative outlet struggle, but because Book Club was at MY house this week. People, I am not used to company. Oh sure, I have a few friends (okay 2) who know that my "laundry room" is really my sofa and that the crumbs on my kitchen floor could feed a small third-world country, but this was serious. Visitors would be coming to my home who had never before seen me in "my element." So what is "my element?" I will tell you.
Nine people in 1100 square feet.
There, I said it. THAT is my element. So, what have I been doing? CLEANING, of course. Scrubbing walls, floorboards, carpet (yes, scrubbing carpet) and working desperately to find homes for all the little pieces of clutter that find their way into my house. I am not a pack rat or a compulsive shopper, by the way, and yet every time we go through our things to see what can be donated, I am AMAZED at how much stuff we give away. Where is it coming from? Well, that is likely another post entirely.
Furthermore, I should add that I consider myself "housekeeping challenged." I do clean, but I have struggled to learn how to clean as I go. I have actually stepped over things before and ignored stuff on my counter because I was waiting until later when it would be more convenient to do the whole job really well. Funny how inconvenient life can be.
So, have you ever experienced the phenomenon of seeing your home with new eyes? It's what happens when you realize that someone is coming to visit and you take a little look around to see what needs to be done. All the minor imperfections that usually blend into the background suddenly jump out at you. "Oh no! My sofa looks ratty! The bookshelves are sloppy! The carpet is stained (and a few shades darker than I remember). My floorboards are chipped and in a few places missing!"
Yeah, that's pretty much how I spent the first part of my week. Every now and then I would visit flylady.net for moral support. Happily, things began to shape up and by Book Club night my front room (which also functions as play room, laundry room, and entry way), was looking decent. My four "hot spots" that attract clutter were clear and I only had three containers of miscellaneous stuff that I didn't have time to put away hidden in my bedroom. I was ready.
Now I should be clear about one thing. I didn't want my home clean because I was worried about my book friends being critical. I knew that they would not care or maybe even notice the imperfections that I was now keenly aware of. They just wanted to get together to enjoy some interesting book talk mixed in with a few treats and personal updates. It's a nice night out. I wanted them to be comfortable and I wanted to be comfortable. (Although imagining someone remarking, "I can't believe she lives like that!" can get you dusting.)
But here is my favorite re-discovery of all: when my home is clean and orderly, I enjoy living in it. A lot. I love my 1100 square feet--with all the chips, dents, indelible scribbles, worn fabric, and unfinished projects. So, although it is a lot of work, I'm trying to keep it up. A clear counter can sure make me smile.
What makes you smile?