I am not Martha Stewart. I am not June Cleaver. I am not even on the level of my mum who, bless her heart, did her best to train me. The simple fact is that I’m an indifferent housekeeper. There is dust on the wainscoting. And the tops of the bookcases. And in the summer it’s worse because the windows are open, and the dust from the road just invites itself in to live with us.
So periodically I have to buckle down and muck the place out whether I have fifty other things (like this book due in a month, or the essay for class, or the chickens who need to go out, or a sewing project that has to get done) on the agenda or not. Housework falls somewhere between 40 and 49 on the list.
So we throw a dinner party.
There’s nothing like the prospect of witnesses to your housekeeping to make you want to straighten up and be a credit to your mom’s years of investment in you. But how to make it manageable so that you don’t answer the door to your guests looking like you just ran the Boston marathon and haven’t had a shower yet? Here’s one approach:
Day 1: De-clutter. Is there one thing in every room that has crept in where it shouldn’t be? Throw it out or recycle it. Pick up what’s out of place and put it away. There. I’m feeling a sense of accomplishment already!
Day 2: Dust. The Swiffer is a gift. Use it well.
Day 3: Vacuum. Finally, after 20 years of pain and agony, the DH heeded my pleas and deep-sixed the hundred-pound Kirby that flung dirt around the room with the abandon of a two-year-old. Now I have The Beast. The Beast eats dirt for breakfast. Pounds of it. I’m in love with The Beast. I think we are going to run away together.
Day 4: Mop.
Day 5: Set the table, open the door, and put on my best June Cleaver smile. They’ll never know that my house doesn’t look like this all the time.