Seriously, you won’t believe me at first. There is a simple way to up the over-all cleanliness of your home…at least in the living areas. If you are an already neat person (like my Mother), you have an advanced version of the same point. Honestly, this is about parenting as much as having a clean home.
Here’s the secret: Have guests in your home on a regular (I’d say weekly) basis.
Now, you should actually have them in your home for fellowship, fun, bible studies, book clubs, friendships, training for your kids to know how to be hospitable…and a million more. You don’t want to use people just to keep your house clean (but it is a good benefit). Really, this is good for parenting and good for friendships.
I am an expert in systems and structural dynamics…and…I want you to become and expert too. Learning how systems work, and how to use them (and build them) creates a fresh world loaded with more time and confidence.
From a systems viewpoint, there is a reinforcing tendency (loop) when you don’t have people into your home. Your standards drop a little…messes and ill-repair tend to grow…which makes it harder to invite people over. When people quit coming to visit, the messes grow. Seriously, just think of the hoarders you know (or watch on the plug-in-drug, TV). Aren’t they all pretty anti-social? Is it cart or the horse first? Who cares, it still smells like a stable! Now, this really IS about parenting!
Oddly enough, the Internet and Starbucks are adding to the problem; both allow us to meet away from home! If you will commit to start having people over, you will start seeing your house get straightened up…in fact, you won’t listen to the complaints of the kids as they help…”we just HAVE TO get the place ready for company!” That is a real urgent kind of parenting as a team.
Here’s how to get started:
- Start by inviting someone who is a more relaxed friend over for coffee or dessert…not a big deal. You are just wanting to hang out and catch up…not a big deal. The invitation and the acceptance MUST happen before you do anything in the house.
- Straighten up a specific area to sit in…and the path to it. You don’t have to straighten up the whole house because you aren’t about to let them look at it.
- Light a Froo-Froo (aromatic) candle for about an hour before your visitor arrives. Even if you house smells fine, it still smells ‘weird’ to other people. Plus, the nice smell will make everything look 3x better than it really does.
- Next, invite someone else. Let your children start having a group of friends over to hang out (or start with one or two if this is new to you). Mark a regular moment to get with others AT YOUR house.
- Finally, consider teaming up with a friend…your house one week…your friend’s house the next week! Honestly, you’ll be amazed that one little step can lead to so much. Even if you hardly straighten at all, it will be much better than if no one ever visits.
If this is too much…how about just one person this month? Remember, parenting means the kids are watching…even when it comes to having a clearn house and a few friends.
Finally, if you are on steroids for cleanliness (like my Mom), it’s just because you think company could drop by any moment…or…you are trying to sell your house! Am I right?
Dr. Fred Lybrand
P.S. If you want to learn more about systems for a successful home, drop by at http://www.homeandschoolsuccess.com
Dr. Lybrand is an author and educator who is responsible for changing the lives of students all over the world through his innovative approach to applying systems thinking to practical learning. Go to the upper right corner of this page and subscribe for a free learning gift and future updates