Cleaning House

We’re having guests over for Thanksgiving dinner. So you know what that means – SPEED CLEANING! I know – if I’d kept up with the daily chores all along, I’d only have to “spruce up.” I really do see the wisdom in that. But my housekeeping skills have not been very consistent, so now there will be frantic straightening  along with prepping for the meal.

I’ve made my share of attempts to form a regular cleaning routine, but none have taken root. The one-room-a-day system left me discouraged when I ventured out into the untamed rest of the house. I tried a variation, doing the same chore in every room in one day, and got tired from lugging the equipment all around the house.

Part of my issue with cleaning is that the job is never done – I’m caught in a continuous loop. Whatever surface I dust on Monday is covered again by Thursday, and the floor I sweep needs another run by the next morning.Plus, there’s this kind of performance pressure to make each room resemble a page from Better Homes & Gardens, which stresses me out.

I’ll admit it, I have a cleaning attitude problem. When I was single, I got away with doing next to nothing. As a new bride, I made a passionate vow to please my husband by keeping the house looking gorgeous, just like my mother-in-law did in hers. Later, kids and pets and busyness kicked in, and I grumped about how I couldn’t keep up.

In each season, I’ve found a way to be discontent. I’ve swung from laziness to perfectionism to martyrdom, always taking a negative view about the chores and myself. Well, it’s time to take a step back, take a breath and refocus.

Cleaning the house is not about impressing anyone, or proving how worthy I am. It’s simply about handling something God has gifted us with respect, and taking care of my family. Having rooms be picture-perfect doesn’t matter as much as making them comfortable and healthy.

If I can concentrate on keeping my home a blessing instead of a showcase from now on, then I might enjoy the cleaning of it a lot more. And having people over will only add to the fun of a holiday.