Yesterday on FaceBook, someone asked the question: "Do you like having friends stop by unannounced?" Ninety percent of the responders didn't just say, "No" - they went on to state how stressful having company is, and how they truly disliked having company of any kind.
I think it's safe to say those 90% negative responders have a disorganized house and would be embarrassed to have anyone see it. I remember those days.
I once had a family friend, an older lady, write to me weeks in advance to tell me she would be driving through our area and would love to stop in, visit, and spend the night. I had weeks to prepare my guest room and house for company, so of course, I agreed.
And then I forgot she was coming... Didn't write it on my calender, didn't plan a meal, didn't make sure she had a calm, loving home to visit, or a warm, comfortable place to sleep...
On the day she was due to arrive, she phoned to say she was an hour away. Huh? You're what? But but but...
Talk about stressful. Talk about a family scramble. Talk about me screaming at my husband and kids to start picking up, start cleaning, DO SOMETHING! If I remember correctly, I instructed everyone to grab "stuff" (clutter) and throw it (literally) into the guest room/office. Yes, I'd even forgotten she wanted to spend the night.
A stressed out family can get a lot done in an hour, so the downstairs was "presentable" (which, at the time, meant you could sit down on the furniture and actually see the kitchen counters and table), but the family was stressed out, angry, tearful and embarrassed. Stressed out people do not make good hosts, believe me.
It wasn't until she arrived that I realized that she intended to spend the night. There was no way to even attempt to get all the junk (clutter) piled to near ceiling height, out of the guest room and give her a clean, comfortable place to sleep.
So I had to say no.
I've never forgotten how bad I felt, how embarrassed I was, and how mortified I was at my lack of housekeeping skills. I felt bad for my husband and kids, I felt bad for our friend that had driven for 6 hours and was tired, I felt like I was just the worst person ever...
Fast forward twenty-five years...
Last week we had wonderful friends come stay with us for two nights. Well in advance, the dates were written on my calender. All I needed to do in the guest room was put on clean sheets and take out two empty laundry baskets that I store in there. I didn't have to dust or vac, because that's done on a weekly basis. I planned meals ahead of time, but didn't even have to go grocery shopping because everything I needed for the meals was canned or in the freezer. I wasn't stressed out about their visit and enjoyed their time here more than I can tell you. And I believe they were comfortable here and felt welcome.
In a few days, my son and his family arrive for a quick visit. And here I am again - all I need to do is put clean sheets on the bed. I planned out meals and some activities to do with the grandchildren a few days ago. I can't wait to see them. I can't wait to have all my family here under my roof. I don't have to spend the next few days cleaning or cooking or decluttering. I will just open my door to them and enjoy their company.
"Home" is a place where all friends and family should feel comfortable and welcome. Twenty-five years ago I had a dirty, cluttered, disorganized house (and life) where even my own family didn't feel comfortable or welcome. Now, I am proud of my home and work steadily to maintain it so anyone can stop in any time without me being mortified and embarassed.
Until you get there, it's hard to understand how much easier and less stressful life is if your home is always organized, clean, inviting and comfortable. It takes a lot of hard work to get it to that point, but once you do - life just gets easier!
Life is good. Stop in and have a cup o' coffee anytime!