3 Ways My House Looks Worse in Real Life

 makersjude landry

 Monday I wrote a post called Three Weird Reasons My House Looks Decent Online, today is it’s companion post…

1. The floors are NEVER clean. And if they are clean, then something else is horribly filthy.

My mom says ‘as the floor goes, so goes the house’ or something like that in regards to cleanliness and I agree. If my floors are clean my whole house feels much cleaner. Unfortunately, clean floors don’t show up so well in photos so they aren’t always a priority for me.


The first time a magazine came to photograph my house I paid an embarrassing amount of money to have my house professionally cleaned. The second time a magazine came to my house I spent an embarrassing amount of time making sure the house looked just the way I wanted–because that’s what the camera sees. Hurt me.

Clean floors are my arch enemy, my nemesis, my achilles heel, the bane of my existence. If I do somehow get the downstairs floors all clean on the same day, you can guarantee there will be some other sort of household cleaning disaster that will balance out the cleanliness equilibrium in our home. I was not meant to live in a sparkling clean house.

a perfectly kept house...this is glamorous

2. White slipcovers look 50% cleaner in photos.


In real life this chair looks like Pig-Pen lived on it. With his brown dog. For a year. In a cave. While eating SpaghettiOs. Online it just looks dingy. And I was even TRYING to get a photo of the dirt/dog hair/filth. White slipcovers are quite photogenic.

3. You don’t always see the junky parts


I’m very open that my house is lived-in and loved-on, as it should be. And I’ve showed you my reality. We’ve talked about the real goal of cleaning. And I’ve even written a 31 Day Series on keeping house while keeping sane. 

hoarding room

I’m so passionate about imperfect, real spaces I even created a little video two years ago featuring your homes in all of their messy glory–remember that?! But unless I show a messy room every day, it’s easy to forget that along with you, my life consists of living beautifully within all sorts of messes.

I hope I’m never so focused on making my house cleaner, better, prettier that I miss the beauty that is.


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  1. Oh dear, you just gave away all of my secrets to a perfect looking house *jokes*

    When one room is clean, you can betcha that another is a mess. Who cares! As you have so eloquently put it, it doesn’t have to be perfect…

    Have a great and messy day!

  2. I’m standing up in my office clapping, whistling, and giving high fives to no one in particular!!!! I love this and I love how you have opened my eyes in so many ways!

  3. You’ve just revealed my secrets too!! Love it!
    Great blog.

  4. LOVE the video … what a way to kick off today!

    Thanks, my friend!


  5. You know what? Thank you for this post. My one pet peeve with blogs is that they make homes look magazine-ready and as if real people don’t actually live there. It helps to know that even beautifully designed homes look lived-in most of the time!

  6. So true about the white slip covers! I bleached mine recently and was surprised at how clean they really can get! Mine had a lot of sippy cup dribbles all over and just a kind of general gray haze. I don’t think I even want to know what from. :) But they always look so great in pictures.

    Yes to the messy floors too! That is sooo the case in our house. I’m kind of blind to it until people are coming over, then I panic and clean them as fast as I can. Of course, one time I was trying to just do a quick clean up and so didn’t worry about the massive dust bunny family living under an end table in the corner of the room. You couldn’t really see it unless you were looking for it. What does my two-year-old do as soon as our guest arrives? Takes her by the hand, and escorts her over to the dust bunnies, points to them, and says “dirty, dirty.” Like, look at what I have to live with. My mommy doesn’t clean. Precious child… :)

  7. I love the quote “good moms have sticky floors, dirty ovens, and happy kids”. Our home with two youngsters and a 130 lb shedding dog is rarely ever picture worth so I’m guilty of doing quick clean-ups and pushing clutter out of the picture frame before taking blog pictures (it’s gotta look pretty for pinterest, right?). Thanks for the inspiration today to show a little more real life on the blog.

  8. Such great quotes! 95% of our house is in pretty good shape, just don’t step into the guest bedroom…it’s a nightmare.

  9. thank you!!!

  10. Brilliant! I am so happy right now, after reading this. LOL My floors, with a messy exuberant parrot, hundreds of indoor-outdoor trips each day to the animals fields, gardens, etc, and cooking constantly, are NEVER perfect. Maybe once or twice a month, but it drive me crazy in themean time. I WANT prettier floors, but I would have to spend lots of time each day keeping them that way. Your home is so beautiful, thanks for the small but significant relief. LOL

  11. Love that you share your reality with us! Thank you!! : ) (I tend to only take close-ups of things in our living space, to avoid the stalking clutter…)

  12. I have white slipcovers too and you are so right! The camera hides so much. So does mood lighting in the evening :)

    Ever since I’ve had my own home I’ve stood by that floor rule. That and a clean kitchen will make your house feel sparkling. Even if it isn’t everywhere.

  13. Even your messes look beautiful, tho :-). Thanks for being real.

  14. my favorite post! Love you, Girl! Thanks for your honesty…and for your beautiful home!

  15. I know the point of this post was not to learn how to clean better, etc. But as the proud owner of both a Basset Hound and a Roomba, I highly recommend the Roomba ;) It’s a great sanity saving tool for when the floor is too bad to ignore.

  16. My favorite thing was the description of the real life chair! Can you tell me the name of the font used on “A perfectly kept house is the sign of a misspent life”? Thanks!

  17. Thank you for showing me (not a blogger) that you all have real life that happens with you.

  18. Oh my. I love this post (and the prior counterpart post) in all of it’s messy, less-than-perfect glory!

    There’s so much freedom in not having to keep my living spaces perfectly clean all the time…but it seems I have to remind myself (read: give myself permission to not worry about it so much) of that all the time.

    PS: Floors are totally my nemesis too!

  19. Well that’s the story of every ones house when ever their are kids around….

  20. I have to say that it kinda bugs me when people say things like “a clean house is a sign of a misspent life” or “good moms have sticky floors, dirty kids etc”. Why does it have to be one or the other? And why do people assume that my clean house means I spend all my time cleaning it? I do have clean house and clean kids and clean floors and a very FULL life that I love! And I’m a great mom too. And I don’t spend tons of time keeping it that way. I just get annoyed when people whose homes might not be clean or organized or whatever, assume (and judge!) that I am missing out on things because a clean house is important to me! I don’t assume that people who do have sticky floors and messy living rooms are slobs who live the good life. Wish I got the same consideration! Ok. Off my soapbox now! Phew!

    • Anonymous says

      Jen…I’m with you!

    • I think that’s a great point Jen! Thanks for pointing that out, I think the quote is more in response to when someone would judge someone for NOT having a clean house :) clearly that is not you at all!


    • I clicked on the comments to say the exact same thing Jen says here. I’ve seen this quote before on Nester’s blog and it irked me then, too. I wholeheartedly agree with Jen.

      • Ditto. I clean my house every evening when the kids come in and dinner is done and honestly I spend all of 20 or so mins cleaning floors and spiffing up the bathroom. Granted our house is small at only 1300 sq ft but still. The quotes are cute and witty but always irk me too!

  21. You have a family and/or pets at home, your home will be messy. End of story. Hardwood floors are wonderful, but boy do they ever show the dust bunnies and wads of animal fur! I have three cats and I have to either vacuum or use the Swiffer floor duster every day.

  22. Kristina says

    Last year about this time, I moved our big sectional and found a large wad of assorted dog furs liberally sprinkled with foil confetti on the polished concrete floor underneath. I could only assume it was from our New Year’s party six months earlier, which several friends’ dogs also attended (as well as our own). It made me smile and then cringe a little at how long it had gone unnoticed. Life is a funny thing, isn’t it, if you can only see it that way.

  23. Love your blog! From your companion post – I have not had screens on my 1st floor windows in 10 years. I love the sunlight! We get a lovely breeze through the house when the front and back screen doors are open. My 9 year-old-daughter watched your video with me – her comment was, “I am so glad we don’t live in those messes!” She obviously does not think her bedroom floor, covered in Barbie dolls and a Barbie hotel, is a mess. It made me feel better about our messy “summer” home. Only 2 more weeks and it is back to our tidy(?) school year home. You are so down to earth and real – I appreciate that, especially given our materialistic society of overconsumption.

  24. Thanks for keepin it real, Nester! By His grace, I try to do the best I can, with what I have, where I am….and that’s going to look different in every season of life.

  25. I’m pretty diligent about my floors because I have two young grandkids, a black hairy dog, a large hairy cat and a husband with a thing about clean floors. I also like the glass to be clean. But I really believe in balance. I try to clean a little each day and keep the clutter picked up and not worry about the rest. It works for me.

  26. We have two labs – need I say more? The floors in this little rental are never…ever…ever clean. And I’m learning (ps you’ve helped) to be ok w these imperfections.

  27. When we had a guest bedroom, it was almost 100% of the time clean, dusted, and vacuumed with the bed made and beautiful pillows adorning it. There was a comfy chair in the corner and I would escape in there to do my Bible study, read, and talk on the phone because it was the ONLY part of the house that was ever that way :)

  28. My moto is “People with clean houses don’t spend enough time with their kids!” That and I am a bad housekeeper.

    • Anonymous says

      and…some people are just pigs. My husband and I spent a lot of time with our daughter and still were able to keep a clean house. I think some people just need an excuse:)

    • I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re kidding. If, however, you aren’t, do you realize how ridiculous (and judgmental!) you sound?? As ridiculous and judgmental as I would sound if I boasted “My motto is people with dirty houses don’t care about their kids.” So you’re a bad housekeeper! Good on ya! But don’t make yourself feel better about that by criticizing those people who do it differently. Yikes!

  29. I am going to share a small secret with you. Don’t tell anyone else. There is a product on the market, I got mine at Costco; called a neato. It is a robot vacuum that WORKS big time. I have wood floors and 5 dogs. Nuff said. I bet if you came to my house now you would think I just cleaned the floors. I set this thing to go and it does all the floors. Even the ones with an area rug. No one is paying me for this, but it does work. Then it goes back to it’s base and recharges and cleans some more. It goes under chairs, under beds, and up against the walls. It is great. The cost? About $300.00. I got mine on sale for $249.00. It is a great thing for a busy mom. I love it.

  30. Your home represents organic beauty of imperfections… the word imperfect itself says ” I M PERFECT” … love it …as is…

  31. Oh- I hear you! I used to stress over having a perfect house all the time. When the grands came along I really relaxed and decided first things first- love on them and the house will be as clean as it needs to be. Good for you for getting your priorities straight- xo Diana

  32. I needed this today – thank you :-) We just moved into a new house and clutter is everywhere. It drives me insane, yet I crave time to spend with my babies instead. My mom comes in a few weeks…maybe I could put her to work instead??? ;)

  33. I just saw this quote on Facebook right before I read your post —- “Cleaning house when children are at home is like trying to brush your teeth with Oreos!”

  34. Wonderful post! I am a big fan of honest posts like this and it’s always refreshing to see them. I think majority of us “know” that blog shots are staged shots to showcase the best of your work/decor/projects etc. but it’s always nice to bring it back to the reality of day to day life. I personally find it helps me related to other bloggers. Cheers!

  35. Love this!! It’s such a reminder that all these beautiful posts online are blips in time. It would be a shame if that beautiful house wasn’t lived in!!

  36. Thank you so much for these articles about your house in photos. I recently wrote a blog post about this same topic, but from the other side of the story. How I feel like my house would never make for good posts on decorating, although I have always loved the idea. I have to say that when I wrote my article, I thought of your blog. But, not from the perspective of the unattainable. It’s because you do keep things so real. I appreciate that. You help the rest of us keep from spinning into hopelessness about how we run our homes. You show us wonderful ways to make things imperfectly better. And how to enjoy where we are today. I absolutely love your tips! I hope to use them in my home. I never considered taking my screens off. Duh! When we lived in England, we didn’t have any screens. I loved it. I’m such a rule follower. I need help. Just in case you are interested, here’s the link to my post: http://thevirtuouswife.com/on-dust-bunnies-and-decorating-blogs/

  37. Thanks again for getting me off the hook about all the cleaning! My kitchen floor gets mopped about once a month because with 3 little kids….why? And seriously. Couldn’t we spend every single day all day attending to something our homes need? It’s like the structure we live in becomes this needy, demanding person we give all our time too. I have a lot of needy, demanding people that need my time. ;)

  38. Love this post! With wood floors and a shedding beagle, the swiffer is my best friend. i would rather sew than clean…that’s why my kid’s have chores :-) And I must come and make you an appropriate slipcover for that chair! i’ve learned some new tricks of the trade! heart you.

  39. Love this post. Confession: I only clean our floors when company is coming over. Yes, that’s gross. And my white, 11-year-old , $450, slipcover-style sofa that does not actually have a removable slipcover? It looks like Pigpen and his quadruplet brothers have taken ownership of it. {Dying to slipcover the fake slipcover but alas, I do not sew. }

  40. Where does one find a rug like that beauty in your bedroom? The faux animal thing.

  41. Thanks for another peek into real life and a reminder that the goal is not perfection but living life. Your description of your white slip covered chair is just priceless – oh how I love to visit here!

  42. Karen Wilkerson says

    Thanks so much for this!

  43. OMG – where did you get your gray bed? I LOVE IT!

  44. I feel human now! I am known as the neat freak in my family and from dogs to kids my sheets could always use a cleaning. I feel so liberated!

  45. ugh. my floors are always a hot mess thanks to my pup!

  46. Good to see some more of the mess (this is one of my constant struggles). But to be honest, your messy parts still look pretty clean to me. Some days, I’m worried the folks form Hoarders are gonna come knock on my office door. :-/

  47. Emily Cromer says

    Thank you so much!

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  50. I love this! I think we all tend to think that everyone else lives in a perfectly clean house or at least I tend to. It’s great to see others have normal families and their homes get messy too! : )

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