Our house isn’t always a mess. It’s just usually a mess. With three kids homeschooling and two parents working from home, our house is well-used, and it shows.
However, when I know company’s coming, I turn into Mary Poppins on Red Bull. Thanks to my philosophy of purposeful slacking, we can whirlwind this place into Perfectly Presentable in 30 minutes tops. If we’re hosting a gathering, or if people are coming over for the first time, we put on our “clean-and-tidy-and-tastefully-decorated” show and no one is the wiser. I love it when that happens. For a couple of hours, I get the Pinterest-perfect home I desire.
But the truth is, that’s not what our house looks like most of the time, no matter how much I wish it was. And as much as I believe in cleaning the house as a courtesy to guests, and as much as I enjoy the effect of that formality on my living space, sometimes I just want to live in reality. Some days I just want to have someone over for coffee without stressing over the state of the house. There’s something very freeing about letting that go.
But my inner Type A self won’t let me have just anyone over on an average day — I only allow people to see my messy house if I know them, trust them, and think of them like family.
So if you come to my house and wonder if a natural disaster hit, don’t be offended. It’s actually a sign of how close I feel we are. If I’m letting you see our dirty dishes, our piles of schoolwork, our unswept floor, our cluttered coffee table—that’s a sign of love. It might sound backward, but really, I’m honoring you and our relationship by showing you our mess. I’m basically saying, “I trust our friendship enough to let you see the disheveled beauty of our real life without worrying that you’ll judge me for it.”
So while I’d like to have my house clean before you come over, if it’s messy when you arrive, please take it as a compliment. If that’s what you’re seeing, that’s what it is.
Laundry baskets say I love you.
Clutter means closeness.
Dirty dishes are signs of devotion.
Just look past the piles, and feel the love. And the closeness.
My mess is my gift to you. It means you’re welcome, friend. Any time.