Seven Ways to Clean Your Home to Make Room for Hospitality
by Michelle S. Lazurek
I love having guests over. I enjoy the fellowship that occurs when friends and family come to my home, whether it is for a meal, coffee or even board games. But the part I hate the most is cleaning. It is a lot of work to clean every inch of your home just to welcome others in. But it doesn’t have to be as difficult as people think. Here are some lessons I learned about how to make hospitality a joy even with the chore of cleaning:
Abandon the Rockwell. We want our home to be the epitome of cleanliness, just like the perfect family depicted in the Norman Rockwell paintings. But we all know life does not work like that. If we are honest, no one has time for a thorough home cleaning, not to mention before company comes over. Do the best you can. A quick sweep and dusting might be all you’ll need before guests arrive. Don’t let the enemy make you believe you are not a good host if you don’t get to clean as you had hoped.
It’s not “have to,” but “get to.” Coming out of a pandemic, we are all yearning to get together and share life’s finest moments. Don’t let cleaning dissuade you from having people over. As this pandemic taught us, being around others is so important. Don’t worry about every dust bunny or un-swept floor. Enjoy the moment of being with others. Togetherness is the ultimate goal, not cleanliness.
Break it up. If you are determined to clean thoroughly before company arrives, take it in small spurts. Set a timer for 30 or 60 minutes and commit to cleaning one room at a time until guests arrive. It will feel less daunting this way.
"Cleaning will always be with you, great company will not."
Skip some. When you are cleaning, it’s easy to want to clean the whole house. But will your guests see every room in your home? If you can’t do the thorough cleaning you’d like, clean only the rooms you and your guests will use. Leave the rest for another day. Cleaning will always be with you, great company will not. Choose to enjoy the moment of being in the presence of loved ones. Don’t dwell on the rest.
Enjoy the result, not the chore. A friend once said to me, “If you’ve come to see me, you are welcome at any time. If you’ve come to see my home, give me two weeks.” There is a lot of truth in that statement. People come to enjoy your presence, not to critique your cleaning skills. Don’t let the moment overwhelm you. Choose to enjoy the time spent with others, not the chores you had to do before getting there. You’ll enjoy the moment so much more.
Enlist help. If you have loved ones in your home, ask them to help. Ecclesiastes says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” When two or more put their talents to good use, the result is always better. Ask your children or husband to help you. If they hesitate, offer an incentive like a special treat or take them to that fun place you’ve been promising. Don’t be afraid to tell them that cleaning is a daunting task and one you cannot take on without their help. It’s a good lesson in helping others in need, plus it makes them more cognizant of the mess they make and their responsibility to clean it up.
Simplify. Perhaps the best way to make room for hospitality is to keep clutter and possessions to a minimum. After your guests leave, go through each room and throw out all the stuff you’ve accumulated. The easiest way to make sure cleaning does not become a tedious task is to limit the amount of stuff to clean. Make a pledge to yourself to fill up one garbage bag for each of your rooms. If you find items still in good shape but no longer usable, donate to Salvation Army or Goodwill. You’ll be helping your community and keeping your clutter to a minimum.
Cleaning can be a dreaded task. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Do what you can to shift your mindset from one of disdain for cleaning to one that helps the community, simplifies your life and allows you to make room for the important thing: being with the ones you love.
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award winning author, speaker, pastor's wife and mother. She writes for several online sites and is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services as well as a certified writing coach. When not working, she enjoys collecting 80s memorabilia and spending time with her family. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.