Happy Monday, White House readers! I hope you have all have a wonderful weekend and are diving back into the workweek full steam ahead. I’ve finally been seeing my way clear to doing a little writing. One of the reasons I was compelled to start The White House Marketplace was an urge to beautify my own home and give others the tools to do the same with theirs. I spent way too much some time on Instagram this weekend and saw some beautiful homes from The Glam Farmhouse, House of Southern Grace, Twisted Cotton Farmhouse, Homely Addiction, and many more, and found myself thinking…how on earth do these ladies do it? Their homes are gorgeous! Do they not have kids? Pets? HUSBANDS???
I don’t know about you, but life for me consists of the job, which I love, and chasing after the detritus of a life left in the whirlwind path of my crazy lovely family. Shoes and socks abandoned in a pile at the doorway, dust crumbling from the soles. There’s a basket 18 inches to the left, but meh. Basket Schmasket. Bookbags dropped haphazardly on the playroom floor, books and folders spilling out amidst the odd rock salvaged from recess. A random Capri Sun package left beside a half-built Lego metropolis. We wouldn’t want to trash that—might come in handy in a drought. And laundry. Just shoot me now and save me from the laundry that creeps like dandelion weeds in summer across the floors that I solemnly swear were clean this morning.
Despite these things, the worn coziness of my cushy cream and yellow armchair peeks out from beneath someone’s jacket, beckoning. Under a stack of school papers, the warm wood patina of our farmhouse table gleams dully, awaiting a swift coat of polish. The kids’ smiles beam from gallery walls, reminders of vacations past and days in the sun. The house abounds with texture: quilted fabrics, burlap, leather, wood, glass, stone…things to run our fingers over or curl our toes into. It is home, and it is beautiful.
The problem, distilled to its essence, is not that home is ugly, or even unpleasant…but rather that you cannot see its inherent loveliness for the stuff that is absolutely everywhere. So what to do?
I really like Melissa of The Inspired Room’s advice for getting rid of the mess and maintaining a “clean enough” home. I’m about as far from neat freak as it can get, so this is good for me. Here’s what she advocates:
1—Establish a morning routine. This is a big one for me. When I am not working elsewhere, my morning routine tends to consist of waking up and getting the kids off to school, then shambling to the couch with a cup of coffee and GMA while I work at the laptop. If I were to, say, take a shower and get dressed…maybe toss a load in the washing machine and clear my bathroom sink along the way…there’s a chance things wouldn’t get quite as overwhelming.
2—Clean your sinks! A clean sink always seemed a little strange to me, I have to admit. If a dirty dish made it to the sink, all the more reason to celebrate, right? But FlyLady suggests that a clean and shiny sink will give you a sense of accomplishment in the face of all of the other tasks that need to be done, and that is the truth.
3—Initiate cleaning frenzies. We’ll be doing this today. And tomorrow. And the next day. Melissa says that a cleaning frenzy might last 10 minutes or an hour, and are sometimes whole house or limited to a single room or theme (i.e., toilets or toys) but involve all members of the family.
4—End with a nightly kitchen clean-up. There’s something so compelling about going to bed knowing that your kitchen is clean and tidy, and being able to wake up with the same knowledge. Mornings run more smoothly and if I don’t have to spend a lot of time cleaning up last night’s mess I’m more inclined to make supper rather than running out for take-out.
These four things seem totally doable, right? I got this. And if I got it, you definitely got this.