We all have different standards for what is normal/acceptable for our homes.
Some of us live in our heads to such a degree that we don’t “see” clutter and chaos until someone brings it to our attention. Some of us are bothered by the clutter and chaos, but we seem unable to make lasting changes due to dysfunctional thought patterns. Some of us maintain an organized and spotless home as second nature. Some of us maintain an organized and spotless home due to issues related to self-worth.
I’m no organizational or cleaning expert. My friend, Amy, is a truly gifted homekeeper. (She’s not been blogging much recently due to some big changes in her life, but she has great tips for making baby-steps toward your ideals.) Amy’s home is much more organized and clean than mine on a daily basis, but we’re individuals with different needs and goals.
As I’ve said before, one of my goals is a comfortable home that invites others to sit down and chat with me. To this end, I’m middle of the road. I do not have a spotless home. As a matter of fact, I probably score higher points in the uncluttered category than I do in the cleanliness category… but I’m okay with that. Being middle of the road means that people on either side of me on the homekeeping continuum are reasonably comfortable. Cleany-clean people probably wouldn’t be comfy since dusting isn’t my thing and floors are my least-favorite job, but most people wouldn’t walk away feeling disgusted. I’ve had first-time visitors say that my home feels restful and comfortable. As far as I’m concerned, that’s high praise.
To maintain this restfulness, I try to keep the clutter on surfaces to a minimum. I’ve pared down what is displayed on my mantle. My kitchen counters (generally) have only what I use daily. (Full-disclosure: I do have a “hot spot” that gathers clutter on the counter beside the fridge, but that is something of a barometer of how crazy life is. When things are calm, it’s much less likely to exist.) My bookshelves are organized by category, then by size… though as I look at them, I need to do a quick re-shelving or Goodwill-donating job since a few books are lying flat on top of the shelved books. Keeping surfaces clear goes a LONG way to making your family and guests feel comfortable.
Ministry of Reality Confession: Clutter bothers me, and I’m generally spurred to clean only when the dirt is so big it becomes visual clutter.