Most of us find ways of succeeding (muddling through) in areas of our lives in which we are not proficient.
People who cannot back a car well, for example, look for pull-through parking spaces. Those who don’t know how to keep a computer functioning make it a point to cozy up to people who do know how.
Homemakers who hate housework develop ways of maintaining reasonably clean and tidy homes. Homes that neither tie them to mops and dust rags nor cause them to panic when unexpected guests show up. Here are some of their time-honored strategies.
They utilize attractive baskets and storage boxes. By scooping up newspapers and magazines and dropping them into an attractive basket, the savvy homemaker creates a clutter-free room in less than two minutes. She stows necessary household supplies like tape, scissors, and pens, as well as necessary evils like remote controls, inside decorative boxes with lids.
She chooses to accept good-enough. She dusts around books and other items on shelves and vacuums around large pieces of furniture. She manipulates window blinds in order to hide the dustiest surfaces and closes the shower curtain to conceal a less-than-sparkling tub. She also uses low-wattage lights and candles to illuminate rooms when guests are in her home, and she discreetly stashes a bottle of Febreze in several rooms of the house.
She focuses on absolute necessities. Though her entire house may not be in mint condition, she gives priority to two rooms: the kitchen and the bathroom. The floors in those two rooms need to be squeaky clean. Her kitchen sink and stove top need to pass a quick inspection, and the guest bathroom must have a clean sink, a clean toilet, a clean hand towel, and a good supply of toilet paper. The other rooms in the house get just a lick and a promise.
She keeps on hand necessary ingredients for making quick and simple meals. Her pantry usually holds taco shells, chili beans, and spaghetti; as well as taco seasoning mixes, chili seasoning, and canned pasta sauces. Her freezer contains several pounds of ground beef, plus frozen pies she can pop into the oven at the last minute, or cheesecakes that go straight from the freezer to the table. If she needs to put together a meal unexpectedly, she is prepared.
She adopts a people-first policy. The smart homemaker reminds herself that friends do not visit to inspect her house for cleanliness. Most guests are comfortable with a bit of dust and clutter. Friends come to see her. They prefer a put-together hostess over a put-together house.
She quits apologizing for the way her house looks. She doesn’t draw attention to dust and clutter by mentioning that she needs to dust and pick up clutter. She doesn’t point out that leaves and pine needles clutter her front porch or that her couch sags in the middle.
Following these tips, this less-than-stellar homemaker can greet her guests the way she has always wanted to greet them. She opens the door, smiles warmly, and says, “Welcome! I’m happy you’re here.”