Keeping House

It’s not one of my goals to have an impeccable, eat off the floor, ultra organized home. I’d rather have a workable, approachable, forgiving, welcoming, lived in, acceptable, good enough home that I’m comfortable in and that is presentable.

My house isn’t dirty.  But, it’s rarely clean all at the same time.  I know what my threshold is for messiness and our home usually stays right within my limits.

And sometimes a room needs too look like this for awhile so that I have the time to make another room look better.

{every photo but this one was taken this morning}

This room rarely looks like this.  All my boys are at school in this photo along with their 40 pound backpacks, stinky tennis shoes and 19 cups that they each use every day.  What a beautiful mess they create.

It normally looks like this with a huge dog bed and coffee cups and books and papers and 14 remotes.  Back when our boys were younger there would have also been a train track on the floor.  Oh how I miss train track on the floor.  Now, we have a wet suit for diving hanging up in the bathtub and teeth rotting in tiny jars for a science project and a dog that believes my husband is the king of the universe.  I think my dog just proposed.

And really, I’m kind of a messy person.  Us creative types usually are.  My husband is very neat but also easy going to a fault and puts up with me and never complains about the condition of the house.  If it bothered him, I’d probably try to keep it a little neater. And looking at this, I really should start picking up more after myself.  It would only take 30 seconds to make this bathroom look presentable.

One of the tricks I pull to make people think my home is clean and orderly is I try to keep the entry area clutter free and cleanish.  Works every time.  There’s something about walking in to a tidy area that magically makes one assume that an entire house is clean.  It’s not.

Another trick I learned was to keep some surfaces cleared off.  Here’s where we eat.  I just sold most of our chairs so right now we are eating in the family room until I figure out what I want.  Our home is constantly being tweaked and played with and moved around.  And once again, if my man was annoyed by this I’d probably need to find a new hobby but, he just goes with the flow and is happy that I can find some chairs with the money I made from selling the old ones so he’s very smart to just let me have fun and be creative for free.  What’s a few meals eaten in the family room if it makes your wife happy, right?

Sinks are for dishes.

I really need to get on the boys for not cleaning up the playroom.  But, they do their chores and sometimes we just let the playroom go.  It’s normally about 10 minutes away from being clean.

I am not a slave to my house, my house is supposed to work for me.  I’ve learned the balance of what kinds of messiness I can put up with in order to accomplish other things like cooking dinner and writing blog posts {this is my business you know} and picking up boys from school and watching 30 Rock with my husband.  Throughout the years my standards have changed, I’ve allowed myself to lower my expectations,  sometimes I want  my house to be more organized, sometimes messes don’t bother me.  But, I’ve learned not to let other people’s standards of tidiness dictate me feeling guilty for having baskets of clean laundry on the floor.

Having a presentable home is more about what I feel comfortable inviting others into.  And I don’t mind a little messiness if it means I get to accomplish my bigger goals and still have friends over.

What is the current stat of your nest?  And more importantly, is it working for you?

Last October I took an entire month and wrote 31 Days to a Less Messy Nest.  Written from the perspective of a clean enough, working, household in constant use.


  1. Thank you for this encouraging post. Perfection is over-rated and unattainable. I strive for balance with maintaining my home, but in the end I have been disappointed because of the expectation I have is usually for perfection. My home never stays clean for more than a few moments it seems. I have three kids (4, 3 and1) and I work three days a week. I have had a difficult time letting go of the picture I have in my mind of my home. Thanks for such a wonderful, encouraging post. This post was such a blessing.

    PS: Your home is beautiful and I am starting to develop a pillow fetish as well.

  2. This was an amazingly refreshing post! I feel sometimes I am trying to make my home look too much like a magazine and I am not enjoying it or the little people I love so dearly and when I let it go, I am so much happier!

    Thank you!

  3. I never post on blogs, but your post was so inspiring. Thank you for letting us know that your house is not perfect at all times and that it is more important to focus on the people living in the house rather than the house itself. Also LOVE the pic of your husband and dog…I have a giant golden retriever that also thinks my husband is king of the universe and would love to propose to him. Funniest thing and comment I have seen in a while!

  4. I heart you Mrs. Nester!!! You are always so transparent. Such a blessing!!

  5. I love that you showed real life pictures! I totally agree with you. Sinks are for dishes. And ovens are for pots and pans until i have 2 seconds to wash them. I got so tired of the million cups a day thing that i put up an ikea rod with hooks and everyone has a cup and they have to use that cup and only that cup all day. Then I got tired of sorting socks so each person has all the same socks so they don’t have to be paired up but just dumped into their drawer. I am so inspired by your attitude about the imperfections. I’m working on that. Thank you! :)

  6. I know this post is old, but I just had to comment! I so needed this right now. I’ve been really struggling with my “crafty mess”. Once I start a project or two.. the rest of the house suffers.

    You have a beautiful home!

  7. Omg…..! Thank you for this post! I thought I was the only woman in America who couldn’t keep a magazine ready house at all times. I knew my house wasn’t dirty, althought if felt like it when it was cluttered! I was obsessed with keeping it clean until it started stressing me out. My Husband had to remind me that THIS house will still be here when you’re dead and gone. Now when I come home from work and something’s out of place, I just say welcome home.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.