Saving and Giving has moved to savingandgiving.net! I hope that you'll all join me over at Saving & Giving's new home. I'm planning some fun giveaways to kick things off. I'm still working on the site, and I'd love to hear your input. Let me know which features you want me to keep. You can email me at savingandgiving@gmail.com. If you're currently an email subscriber, you shouldn't see any change in your daily email newsletter. I switched the feed over so that you should continue to receive your daily updates.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: My Secret to a Clean House

I think I may have stumbled onto something. It's the secret to motivating myself to clean my house -- or at least the main floor of it -- on a regular basis. Are you ready for this?


Invite people over on a regular basis.



Oh, this seems like it would simply cause me increased stress. Why would I want to invite anyone over when my living room looks like Toys 'R Us and my bathroom has a fine layer of hair spray protecting it from the elements?

One simple reason.....


Motivation.


Sure, I want my home to be sparkling clean all the time. And I do my best to maintain some type of order. I want my family to feel welcome and comortable in our home. But let's be honest here... We all kick it up a notch when we know that someone from the outside world is going to enter our domain.

I tested this theory about 10 years ago when my husband and I hosted the senior high youth Sunday school class in our living room. He was the youth pastor, we lived right across the street from the church, and there was limited classroom space. So the kids headed to our house for a cozier setting each Sunday morning. That meant that I had a specific reason for keeping the house clean and company-ready each week. It made a HUGE difference.

We've moved since then and don't host a group on a regular basis, so I decided that I needed to take the same idea and make it work for this house. I simply started to invite people over for dinner. It's always nice to have some extra time to relax with friends and family, and it's really motivates me to do a few of the cleaning jobs that I tend to put off.

You know, it's all a big cycle. If my house is messy, I don't want to have anyone over. So I don't invite anyone over, and I find myself un-motivated to do some of those little extra cleaning jobs. That means my house stays messy.

Now turn that around. If I know that someone is coming over, then I make sure my house is more orderly. Once my house is more orderly, I am more willing to invite people over. If I'm inviting people over on a regular basis, then my house stays cleaner. It's much easier to maintain order when you haven't let things get too bad. (Unfortunately my office space seems to be exempt from this little experiment. See HERE.)

Please don't think I have this perfected. I'm not even close!!! But I've tested the theory and found that it works. I just did this recently. Our house was a little cluttery, and it was starting to bother me. But I kept finding other things that needed to be done (or at least things that I felt like doing more than I felt like cleaning). I just couldn't get motivated. So I called my parents and invited them to dinner. It was about 2:00 when I did that, so I only had a couple of hours to get my act together. And I did. And we enjoyed a very nice evening together. And my house was cleaner by the time they got here.

Today.... my house is a disaster area really messy barely presentable. I would probably open the door if someone knocked, but I wouldn't allow them in very far. If they tried to go upstairs, I'd probably have to tackle them to the floor. Looks like I need to invite someone over soon!

It works for me!

Need more great ideas? Stop by Works for Me Wednesday sponsored by We Are THAT Family.

23 comments:

Kristin K. said...

I have to agree with you! I sweep and dust everyday because of my 3 dogs, but I if I know company is coming over, I really clean. I mop the kitchen floor and the bathroom floors, and dust everything else like the kitchen table, computer desk, and tvs. I will also clean the windows. My husband can come home after work and know someones coming over, just by looking at the house lol.

Cheap&Sweet said...

That's one of the best Ideas I have heard in a long time. I clean like a maniac when someone's coming over.

Macomb Money Savers said...

We buy into this theory as well and test it often! It's really too bad that I can't get motivated to clean unless threatened by fear, but it does work. Time to check the calendar and see who to invite over next...!

Rebekah said...

So true! Thanks for sharing this reminder. :)

{ L } said...

I agree, well said. :)

Staci @ teaching money to kids said...

You would love flylady.net. She talks about living in CHAOS - Can't Have Anybody Over Syndrome.

Candace said...

It is very true. I am now keeping 2 little girls in my home and I have found that knowing their mom is coming in the morning and evening I make more effort to keep it clean!

Tracey said...

Aahh - this is a secret of mine as well! My house is usually at least orderly (most days, that is), but if I want to inspire myself to do a top-to-bottom cleaning, I make sure we invite people over!

newlyweds said...

How true is this. I always say the best way to spring clean is have a party, you will surely clean all that clutter before the guest arrive, lol!

Erin @ Closing Time said...

This is so true! I am so much more disciplined to have the house clean if I know someone will see it!! :)

Amber said...

Brilliant! No really, lol, having people over really is the only true motivator for me. We have guests coming on Friday so what will I be doing tomorrow? Yep, cleaning!

The Prudent Homemaker said...

We like using this method as well. It makes for a truly CLEAN house (not just picked up).

I found a way to have a clean house AND a weeded and pruned yard--open your house up for garden tours (I have 30-45 people at a time). I've had a few this year, and it means we clean the house from top to bottom (okay, I skip the sewing room) and that I completely weed the garden, and prune things that need pruning. Knowing that I had garden tours coming up ahead of time also helped me to more diligently plant some areas that might have otherwise been empty.

Heidi said...

very true! my husband and I always comment the same thing to each other after we have guests - we should do this more often to keep up appearances for OURSELF! ;)

Moms in Need of Mercy said...

YES! I thought the very same thing the last time I was tidying for a friend's visit.
The flip side of this, though, is guests see our clean homes and think they're the only ones with messy ones and may feel discouraged, like "Why am I the only one who can't keep up?" So I think a good mix is helpful--let people in to see what life is REALLY like! And clean often enough that guests are not uncomfortable when they see what our lives are really like! :)

Courtney said...

too bad no one is willing to drive out to our house that often!! but this really is a great tip. my grandma said when i was little always expect someone could drop by so I kind of have been implementing that lately!

Michelle said...

I absolutely agree! I just did a top to bottom cleaning yesterday because my dad was coming over to spend some time with us. It's amazing how much you can accomplish in just a couple hours when you have a bit of motivation... and let's face it, some days it's hard to find the motivation! Great tip!

Eliza Welch said...

Such excellent information!

I really enjoyed looking around your lovely blog and would absolutely love it if you would stop by my blog!
Eliza's Blog

Candi said...

You know it's sad when your 3 yo asks if we're having company come over when I clean the house!

Christine (iDreamofClean) said...

SO TRUE! Nothing motivates me more than having someone come over! I clean faster and more thoroughly for some reason too!:)

Christy said...

my mom's motto has always been "have a party, clean the attic" seriously. It bugged the crap out of me as a kid, but now I U.N.D.E.R.S.T.A.N.D.!!! Great post with a load of truth to it!

Alea said...

LOL! This is what I do! All I have to do is tell my children that I have invited a friend over and they automatically start cleaning - I haven't asked them to clean in years, I just announce that we are having company!

BusyMom said...

Oh so true! I clearly rely on this approach too much, my oldest will ask when he sees a mop in hand - who's coming over. He seems surprised when I say no one.

Kim said...

I completely agree with this theory! Somehow my mom always managed to keep the house sparkling, company or not. And while I enjoy keeping things surface clean on a daily basis, I really need company to motivate deep cleaning (but I feel so much better when it's done).

Visiting from Works For Me Wednesday!