My mother in law is an awesome housekeeper. She's also a wonderful hostess... she's not obsessive & nit picky - just real, homey and clean.
Over the years, she has graciously shared many tips with me to help me get from where i started out as a newly wed teenager... (shudder) to where i am now... coping nicely (most of the time) with a busy, full house.
One tip that she shared with me early on shocked me. She casually said, in conversation about cleaning, "I cut corners all the time."
i wanted details.
It was just little things - but i noticed that she never got so stuck in *perfectionism* that she lost sight of her goal: a tidy home.
i made it my goal to be the same way.
i'd spot check my floors or windows when i could get away with it...
Skipping what i could & doing whatever i noticed needed doing.
i'd get rid of clutter & look for ways to create *wide open spaces*.
i'd make sure everything had a place & that each nook & cranny wasn't crammed to capacity.
She showed me by example that when we came to visit, the house was clean when we got there... & she assured me, it would get clean again later when we left, but while we were there, she would enjoy those little finger prints & let the puzzles spread across the living room floor & the couches get turned into forts.
Her house was a home first.
When i sighed at her streak free windows & her crumb free cupboards, she would remind me that she didn't have little ones living at her house - & that my house was *very* tidy considering all the living that went on there. Always encouraging, suggesting, helping when she was around but mostly just enjoying what we had.
One time, i remember going through a big bag of pass me down baby clothes with her. She let me do the choosing, but gently encouraged me to only keep the best & really, how many outfits does a baby need anyway?
Neil inherited a lot of his mom's simple cleanliness. Over the years, his inability to live in a disaster zone has rubbed off on me - & i've learned that if i wanna visit with him, relax with him or have him just *be with me*, then i'd better have the house in a semblance of order when he walks through the door. He's not a perfectionist either - but he requires *order* to relax.
At first it hurt to constantly be culling... but now, i can chuck almost as good as he can. Like i said in a previous post, my motto has become, "getting rid of 'stuff' to make room for people".
i sure haven't 'arrived' as a perfect housekeeper. i know i have a lot of training to do with my little people to get them to be good little housekeepers. i have a lot of little drawers & cupboards that could use some attention... i've got areas that seem to win regardless of how often i tackle them & try to get them under control... i've got bits of dust & dirt where i'd love to see sparkling shine & fingerprints where i'd love to see streak-free perfection.
But it's coming...
Sometimes i imagine myself mother in law to my son's wives.
Will i have any gems to pass down to them?
Maybe they will far surpass me as wives, mothers and housekeepers.
Maybe they'll need a little encouragement & advice.
Hopefully i'll be ready.