A few years ago, I found I was really struggling to get my head around being a wife and a mother and having a house to keep in order whilst holding down a full time teaching job. I only had two children then, and thought that life was so busy I needed help and I needed it fast. Ah, if only I’d known then how busy life could really be! I spent some time researching how to get organised, and in doing so I stumbled across a site called Fly Lady. It was filled with tips and ideas for keeping a house straight 24/7 and to be honest so much of it really was not for me- but there was one thing that has struck a chord and has been a house rule ever since. The Fly Lady insisted that first impressions of your home were the most important, and not just to visitors but to yourself too. And all these years later, I still agree with her. The way I feel when I walk into my home sets my mood up in so many ways, and if I walk into a tip I cannot help but feel agitated and annoyed. First impressions count, and in so many ways.
I’m about to spend a weekend away working with a client at The Baby Show, and as always I’m a little apprehensive about what I’ll return to on Sunday evening. It’s not that I don’t trust Ghostwriterdaddy to keep things in order, it’s more about the fact that we have four children who demand attention in different ways and when we’re forced to solo parent for any length of time there are certain things we have to allow to slide. Housework is usually the first thing that goes when I’m not there, and that’s just the way it is. So while I know that the house will need some TLC when I return, I’m hoping that the Fly Lady’s number one tip will help a little. Here are three ways that you can make that first impression a good one.
Tidy the porch/ entrance area
For years our porch has been the source of grief. SO. MANY. SHOES. And coats. And scooters. And bags. And… you get the idea. Seriously, how do people store these things? We now have pegs and pegs and pegs, and a nice new storage shelf for shoes but we still have other bits and pieces in the porch that drive me mad. That said, I always make sure that porch is tidy before I leave the house, because there is really nothing worse than getting home and not even being able to open the door to come in. Tidy that entrance area and you’re most of the way there.
Create a hallway that invites you in
Another area of the house that tends to be used as a general dumping ground is the hallway just inside the house. Why, oh why do my family feel the need to just leave things in the hallway? Hats, shoes (that should be tidily away in the porch, grrr!) and other bits and pieces that just don’t seem to have a home. The hallway just invites clutter, but if you allow it to build up your first impression is never going to be great. We recently discovered the joy that is a nice, clean and tidy hallway with just a couple of additions. We placed a beautiful console table against the wall with drawers to hide miscellaneous paraphanlia, and I always have fresh flowers on the top to make sure I always have something pretty to look at when I come in. I’ve also added some new plants to the hallway and another set of pegs beside the door for those coats that just won’t fit. It’s working for us.
Always make sure downstairs is tidy before you leave
So if you were to look upstairs, you will see the chaos that is living with four very energetic and playful children. But downstairs is always tidy. I do this for me, and for visitors too. I like to walk into a tidy house when I’ve been out, and if that means dumping everything upstairs on my bed (which is does, every single day) then so be it. I can sort all of that later, but I cannot get back that first impression when I walk into the house. Likewise, if we get impromptu visitors, its nice not to a have to run around apologising for the mess!
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