Monday, February 13, 2012

Pop-ins and The Company Path

We've all been there.  You get a call from your friend from church--she's in the neighborhood and wants to swing by.  The right answer, the one you really want to give is "Sure!  What a nice surprise, come on over!".  In reality, you're in your sweats, breakfast dishes everywhere, kids school books all over the table, your bed isn't made and your 4-year-old probably didn't flush the toilet in the guests bathroom. She'll be in here in 20 minutes.  

What do you do?  Take a shower and put on some under eye concealer? Or get a shovel and start clearing out the living room.  And I'm hoping to be done in 15 so I can put on some coffee. We're just hoping to get to a place that isn't gross. GET MOVING! Pop-ins are really not always a blessing, and it's too bad.  I love people and I am incurably social, but those who love me will tell you I am not all together relaxed:) A wise woman once told me this is called a "double bind".  The fun-loving, extrovert never says no to a party, but the order-loving, micro-manager needs time to control the environment. These things are both true about me, so I really need to know that, be that, and set myself up for success. 

My mom is a genius when it comes to being laid back about stuff.  When I was a kid she would always refer to cleaning in one of two ways.  We were either cleaning, or we were just cleaning "the company path". When people were coming over she would get us after the main areas so that the house was presentable but we didn't always have to change out our sheets and scrub the floors in the basement bathroom. She was onto something.  She really taught me by example that you don't have to have a perfect house to have a beautiful home.  She is a wonderful person:) 

What mom didn't do was bins, shelves, and hooks.  So even when she focussed on "the company path" she still had to make decisions.  And in a pinch, when there wasn't time for decisions, she had to settle for tidy piles of things that she didn't have time to put away. Or just say "oh well, I didn't have time" and go with it (which she is much better at than me). This is worth talking about again.  Decision making and house cleaning.
Cleaning day is for busting out chemicals, it should not also be burdened with decision-making... How much time do you spend on cleaning day just trying to figure out where to put stuff?
That's me quoting me.  The ultimate self-indulgence. But hey, I've admitted that I'm writing a blog, so I've obviously gotten over it.  This clearly brilliant idea (that must have come from an incredible mind) is great for The Company Path conversation too. My philosophy about life in general is that we should be 15 minutes away from order at all times. Did I mention that I'm not as easy-going as I may appear?  Of course, this is not possible if you are home all day with a bunch of kids unless you have a strategy.  My strategy is, well, bins, shelves and hooks:) Instead of trying to put everything away that is all over the floor--we have 15 minutes, folks!-- I can shove it into the carefully placed bins or baskets that I selected because they look so pretty with my living room colors.  Instead of trying to figure out where all of these little things should go that are on the counter and the desk, I can use the broad side of my arm to swipe them all into very tidy bins that sit on the shelf or the desk and look charming and coy as they hide my chaos. Instead of folding and putting away the clothes that are thrown on the dressers and at the foot of the bed, I toss them onto the hooks that line the wall behind the door and look effortlessly organized.  "This old room?  Why, I just do this when I don't care how it looks!" 

Anyway, bins shelves and hooks can keep you out of the decision-making weeds when you don't have the time and free you up to spend those precious 15 minutes on the things that can't keep.  Like the bowls of cereal milk (they don't work with bins so much, believe me I've thought about it) and my morning breath.  And also, they are a wonderful addition to my mother's idea that my whole house doesn't need attention right now. My friend from church is unlikely to spend any time in the kids rooms or the basement, or my master bath.  She actually doesn't care what my house looks like at all.  This is for me.  Because I know that uptight me will struggle to enjoy the party that social me craves, if I'm looking around the room that I've spent so much of myself creating and I can't see it over the top of all of the crap.  I know she doesn't care, and I love her for it, but I care.  Instead of wishing I were more like my mom, I just need to know myself and plan accordingly. I can't say no to a pop-in.  I'm way to social.  So, out with decisions and in with bins:).  

Side note: It turns out that I care more about the house than under eye concealer, which may come as a surprise to you if you read my post about the J-Lo Glow. The other day I went to my SIL house to drop my kids off for lessons and both she and my other SIL were looking smashing in their blush and their skin was all aglow and they were truly visions of mommy beauty.  I realized at that moment that make-up hadn't made the cut for me that day, nor the one before. It should be duly noted, that I don't always practice what I preach. I use so much energy preaching that there is not always enough time for practice. I mean there's only so much time in the day.  I'm currently doing this instead of working, teaching, vacuuming, making my bed, taking a shower, going for a run, paying bills, etc.................

Anyhoo, all that being said, if you're in the neighborhood, come on over! Coffee's hot and I'm chill like that. But if you love me, please just give me 15 minutes.


  1. So many quotables I don't know where to start. Some of them I've heard before, but most of them were brand new to me, including my new favorite, using "the broad side of my arm to swipe them all into very tidy bins that sit on the shelf or the desk and look charming and coy as they hide my chaos." Haha! I'm going to use it all the time. Also you introduced me to giving things 'a lick and a promise.'

  2. This is awesome and brilliant, as always. It also makes me want to go buy more bins and baskets and some hooks. Currently my biggest woe about my house is that the kid's bathroom and the company bathroom are one and the same. It's a bad combo.

  3. My problem would be that I would never make it back to those bins and baskets to make those decisions! When you don't do that, I imagine they start to overflow???

    1. Oops, I didn't sign my name!

    2. Amy, yes, they do! It's definitely a solution for living without chaos in the meantime until you can get around to the cleaning and organizing. Sadly, it doesn't eliminate the eventual need to clean house:( Did you read my post "Idealistic vs Realistic" from January? That one is the presentation of my whole housekeeping philosophy and gets at the heart of why I started this blog! In it, I will admit to you that I am not a very good housekeeper. I am obsessed with order, but hate being a slave to it. I had to come to Jesus about the whole thing:)

  4. Love it. I don't even have kids and my home is a wreck because I don't care until the mess has snowballed into a abominable mess. Once, after a nightmare involving the cracks in our house's foundation opening up and swallowing me and as the walls come crumbling down (it was a stressful time :) my mom passed on advice from Grandma Watkins: "just clean one room a day. that way when company comes over, no room has more than a weeks worth of dust, grime and filth." I don't do it, but i remember it, when things get tense. love you girls :)