I had the most amazing experience yesterday. It was a great day with my entire family there, including the ever adorable Quinn (my granddaughter). But, the amazement came not from the family dinner, which was lovely, but, rather from the lack of stress in preparation for "company". On Friday, I vacuumed the carpets, cleaned off horizontal surfaces (Quinn has a knack for finding things I don't want her to find), finished some dishes, put some bread dough out of the freezer to rise and pulled the high chair out of Quinn's playroom. On Saturday, I vacuumed again (the cats shed alot), swept and lightly mopped the kitchen floor, wiped off the table, put the big leaf in the oak table for dinner, wiped down the bathroom, did some laundry, took a shower and the house (and I) were done. We grilled chicken outside, baked potatoes, had a side dish that my oldest daughter made (a most excellent macaroni salad), tossed a salad, had ice cream birthday cake for dessert. Quinn loves my baked bread and kept saying BRR when she would point to it. I never had to feel embarrassed or defensive or anxious about any mess or clutter. Was it perfect - no of course not, we live here. Was it homey, clean and fun? Yes, yes and yes! Why was it so much less work than previous cleaning binges that were carefully mapped out, struggled with and done barely before they walked in? The small amount of clutter (excess magazines I'm going through, a gathering of things I cleaned out from my office at work (in preparation for a move to a different office), and a tote I'm putting things in that I want, but, that won't be out on display at the moment (and it's not even full) were easily removed to another room for further sorting after the gathering. The rooms had no big issues, just the usual small cleaning jobs that are required after every busy workweek.
I enjoyed myself, wasn't afraid to let Quinn toddle around the house with a watchful eye on her, and even had time to dress nice and put on a little makeup before they all came. DH was also very relaxed. I kept feeling like I had TOO much spare time this past week as I usually would have been working myself senseless between the paying job and home. The cleanup after was minimal (except for the dishes, as I don't have a working dishwasher). Quinn even picked up her toys before going home. That's when it hit me - it's that daily tidying up after ourselves, routine cleaning and ongoing organizing that made my life so much easier! It's like pushing yourself up a steep hill, and then arriving at the top, catching your breath, and seeing a beautiful vista before you - and the view doesn't look as steep anymore!
P.S. Just a picture in her playroom with Quinn and Yoda hanging out together!