Thursday, December 16, 2010

Putting Our Best Foot Forward

Having our house on the market has made me aware of both how easy and how difficult it is to keep a clean house.  Because I was so busy trying to purge and get my stuff put away and the house show-ready within a short time, I opted to pay a cleaning service to come in for a deep clean so I could take that off my plate.  I'm glad I did.  The house sparkled after they left!

Having it super-clean gave me incentive to keep it clean.  If I was going to be gone all morning, I was careful to leave the house ready -- beds made and smoothed, toys put away, socks in the hamper, dishes put away, sinks wiped out.  It looked great.  And when I came back home after a hectic day out, it was so calming to come home to order.

"I can do this all time time," I thought.  "Why don't I?"

The whys became more apparent to me as the days/weeks stretched on before me.  Running around to get everything "just so" in the morning caused me to run late.  In the evening rush to get homework done and dinner prepared and served, I didn't always feel like cleaning up right away, or putting away that load of laundry that I had washed earlier in the day.

So while the house is clean and organized, it's slipped back into normal.  We had some showings last weekend, and if someone wants to come anytime this week or over the weekend, I'll whip it into shape again.  But for now, we are going with "lived-in comfortable" chic.  It's a look that I'm comfortable with.

However, I have learned some things: I've learned that it is beneficial to take a little bit of time in the evening and a little bit of time in the morning to put the house into order.  I've also learned that having it super-clean is a motivator in itself, and I'm seriously considering adding a housekeeper into the budget to come once or twice a month.

But the other thing that I've learned that I hope I will adopt is to occasionally take a look at your house through the eyes of a stranger and to do something about it, so that you  can enjoy it.  For example, we've had a smoke detector hanging from its wires for years right in our entry hall, because the clips broke at some point when we tried to turn it off.  It took $15 and 20 minutes to put a new one in.  Why didn't we do it sooner?

But I've also learned that I'm not ever going to be housekeeper of the year.  And that I don't think that I want to be.  Recently I was having dinner with some friends, and all 3 of the other women said that they vacuum every day.  One of them vacuums her sofa every day (and I've seen it after dropping in!!).  Their homes are show-ready all the time, even though they aren't trying to sell it.

So what about you?  Do you have any housekeeping secrets to share that give you peace?


Carrie said...

If I had a tip...huh. Well, this is my tip (because it seems to work best for us):

We host people regularly. Dinners, parties, etc.

Because you HAVE to clean the house before you have people over. So every other week or so, the house HAS to be cleaned (bathrooms given a good cleaning, all things put in their proper places, etc.)

That's the only thing I've found to be motivational for me. ;D (But some might just say that's extra work.) But it gives me a happy incentive! Good fellowship!

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Carrie--that's exactly what we did back when we were young and carefree! Seriously, older kids keep us on the go, and we don't have nearly as much time on the weekends to get together, but I love both the idea and the results of it!!

Nancy said...

Having people over definitely helps keep the house clean!

I'm curious, do these women who vacuum every day also work? Outside the home, I mean, not to get into a "stay at home moms work too" discussion. Because there's no way on this earth I will vacuum every day, and the sofa no less. I do run the Roomba every day but that's only in the kitchen and part of the family room. My house is a bit of a disaster but I've seen worse. I definitely call it lived-in comfortable!

Keeping a house clean for showings is one of the worst parts of moving. Not that any of it is a walk in the park.

Jen Rouse said...

I have been trying hard lately to be a better housekeeper, complete with a cleaning checklist to keep me accountable. I'm never going to be a Martha-type woman, but I do feel calmer and saner when the house is under control, for sure!

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Nancy--One of the three women does work (outside the home). So, yeah. I'm not 100% sure I believe that. Not because her house isn't clean (because it has been every time I've been there), but it's one thing to take 45 minutes or an hour every day after the kids leave at 8:30, and another to do it at 6pm after you've been working all day (or at 7:30 am before you leave!).

Of course, I AM home, and I still can't imagine doing it every single day.

Jen--I'm with you. I aspire to it, and I see the benefit, but it's very VERY hard for me, and this level is not even a goal, much less a possibility!

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

When I feel like my house is a major mess but I don't have time or energy to do a "real cleaning," I focus on two things -- pick up and do the floors. Dust I can let go, and even toilets, but if the floors are swept and mopped (or spot cleaned) and things are picked up, I feel like I've made tremendous progress.

Anonymous said...

I love the abililty to post anonymously... I kept things way cleaner when I had toddlers crawling about, but now it tis much worse. However I have mastered the quick pick up and wipe down. The teenagers are not as helpful as they once were, but at least my daughter does her own landry.