31 Days To Less Messy Nest Day 20:: Quit Apologizing

So sorry if you get this post twice in your reader,  I accidentally titled it 31 Days To A Better Dressed Nest, last year’s series.

She invited me in and immediately apologized profusely for what a mess her house was.  I expected to see a normal house in normal disarray like how mine looks when I’m about to host a big bunch of people in a couple of hours. I was wrong.

Her home was stunning.  It was gorgeous. It was glorious. Maybe a little breathtaking. It looked like it was ready for its close up in Southern Living.  This girl was so talented. She had a great eye for design and beautiful furniture.  I wish I could show you a photo. You would gasp.  And she was apologizing for the mess?

I made two mental notes that day.

1. Never invite her to my home because if HER house isn’t good enough for her, mine certainly won’t be.

2. Stop apologizing for small imperfections in my home.

I had always apologized for my home to protect myself so people wouldn’t think I was a slob or at least they would know that I acknowledge I can be a slob and that I’m not ok with it and that really, I have much higher standards than this and my house does not meet my requirements.

It wasn’t until that life changing moment in that unmessy, beautiful home that I realized that all apologies have power.  After that day, I made it a point to start controlling my apologies and using them for good and not evil.

Be sure to visit the other 31 dayers:: The Inspired Room, Remodeling This Life, Chatting at the Sky, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, My First Kitchen, Life With My 3 Boybarians, Reluctant Entertainer over the next 31 days.

Want to read all the Less Messy Nests posts? Click here.


  1. hmmm…I apologize for everything! But a tough reminder to let go of my own expectations for imperfections. I am really loving this series! So many little tidbits I am taking home each day! I love seeing the little highlights and reasonings behind the things in your home that are missed when we see just the big picture.

  2. I try not to apologize because it’s not like anyone I might have over doesn’t have dishes, laundry and toys at the their house! And you are right about people be intimidated by houses (either the outside or inside) and then feeling like their own house isn’t good enough. We are all so sensitive when we don’t need to be. (wasn’t your sister talking about that yesterday?) But people just like to be invited! And welcomed.

  3. Oh my goodness. So profound! Thanks for this reminder today.

  4. i am a classic apologizer. now my three year old does it. i really should not worry about what others think of my house (horrible issue passed on from my grandmother who sometimes would tell people they could not come over if her house was not perfect.) i am slowly learning there is no perfect with kids and that my friends who have kids totally understand that, and they really don’t care what my house looks like!

  5. Love your month of posts. They are what I need to hear.

    I understand the fine line between the “welcome to the party” house and the “day to day” house.

    I can still hear my gramma answer the “Sorry the house is a mess” with her “no, your HOME is beautiful” reply. Somewhere in that is that what happens in a home is more important than how it looks during every hour of the day.

    We should be visiting our family and friends, not their houses.


  6. Gosh, Nester. These posts are all good. But this one is profound.

    I’ve got some thinking to do!

  7. So true! My nest tends to be cluttered, but never “dirty”. I hate walking into someone’s immaculate home and have them go on and on about how messy and horrible it is. I wish they would realize that by saying that their immaculate home is not good enough, they are essentially saying that MY crumbs on the countertop and stack of papers on the dresser is no where near high enough for their standards and it immediately makes me feel uncomfortable having them in my home. :(

  8. I do that all the time. When my house is spotless I still do it and when I really think about it ,is so that if there is some little imperfection ,then by saying it is a mess I have just covered that? Not sure but I need to stop it. I really think that when things are just a bit less than perfect more people are more comfortable

  9. Great post!~ I totally get what you mean…all apologies have power! So true!

  10. My sister-in-law uses a phrase that I really like, “Please come on in and sit down awhile, sorry about the mess, but we live here!” I always thought it put things in perspective, our houses are where we live, not HGTV sets.

  11. I SO needed this! Last week, I was busy “being creative”, so needless to say, the house was less than perfect. My cousin, who is home from Africa (working there for business), unexpectedly stopped by. The only thing I did the entire time she was here was apologize for the messiness in the house. I regret that now….I really wish I spent the time just talking to her!

  12. Oh… that really hit home. Ouch, ouch, ouch – but such a needed prompting. Thank you!

  13. Oh my word…I apologize for my home way too much! Such wisdom here!

  14. Love this. Like someone said, there is no perfect house with kids and given a choice between the perfect house or kids, I choose kids! (They’re much more fun!)

  15. When I have friends over, I make a point to (try) not to apologize for the way the house looks, and instead focus on the visitor. I always think that if I’m uptight in my home when people enter, then they’ll feel uptight too and I want people to relax in my house. I’m sure I’ve slipped up, but you make a great point with this post.

  16. Along the same lines, Julia Child said, “Never apologize for the food you’ve cooked.” Even if it is burned. Her point was, if you set the tone that there is something wrong with your food, then your guests are not as likely to enjoy it. Same goes for a house, I suppose!

  17. Great advice. I think women will always need to be reminded of this! :)

  18. Amen. I needed that!

  19. Great post! We often worry so much about what people think about us not realizing that our reactions can make others feel less about themselves!

    I must say, I thought it was funny that after your title you immediately apologized for posting twice….just kind of ironic :)

  20. Thanks, I needed that. I’ve been getting the little hints about this scattered through the month, but I needed the straight up version, too. :-)

  21. good point!

  22. LOVE this advice! My very favorite person in the whole world has the messiest house of anyone I know. Her house has been the favorite hang out spot for 20 or more years for everyone. She is like a giant hug the minute you walk through the door, super sweet and welcoming. She says nothing if things are messy or not vacuumed. She doesn’t care so nobody else does. A few years ago I started trying to be more like her and just be loving and welcome everyone that walks through my door. Life changing. People come to your house to see YOU not the house.

  23. Whenever I drop by a friends house and see that it is a little messy and cluttered, I instantly relax. It makes me feel better about my own home & the fact that we are all the same and just doing the best we can. As embarrassed as I am to have people see my many imperfections, I realize that it probably makes them feel a little better about their own. If they choose to judge me & think less of me, oh well. I don’t need those kinds of friends anyway.

  24. I have a friend who does this exact thing when her house is immaculate, and it truly makes me feel uncomfortable about inviting me over to my house, because I assume that she will be beyond horrified to see my house looking “lived in.” It drives me nuts!

  25. I heard this before and thought it might apply: “If you want to see me, come over any time. If you want to see my house, please make an appointment.” =)

  26. I grew up with the apologize parent. She still does it. She says she is sorry for the mess and you look around and MAYBE a cup is in the sink, that is it! Then I let my 2 1/2 yr old and 1 year old loose and feel that they should be sitting on the couch and not touching anything because if she thought that was a mess wait til she sees what they can do in 5 minutes. Granted we will pick it all up before we go but I get nervous that she will get upset at her grandkids for being kids. That isn’t the case, ever, she tells me that she will pick it up when we leave (although that doesn’t fly either. If you can get it out you can put it away is my philosophy) but it still makes me a tad anxious at first.

    I found myself doing the apologizing as well. Then I figured out that I have 2 little ones in a 900 sq foot house. If you show up without calling (and I don’t mind that) you are going to see a mess. I do say the kids have been having fun today and my house shows it.

    I also caught myself apologizing to my son when I would not let him have something. I then thought that is sending the same mix message as my mom does when we visit. Was I really sorry that he couldn’t have juice in bed? No – it isn’t good for his teeth. What I was sorry about is that I upset him by not letting him get his way but at 2 (and really at 22 would he get that was what my blanket apology was about?) So I make sure I acknowledge his sadness about not getting his way but I don’t tell him I am sorry because I am not.

  27. I am so bad about this one. Actually, I don’t even like to have people over because I feel my house isn’t good enough. Smells too doggie! I am trying hard to get over this one!


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