The Forcing Function

Sometimes, when my home gets really messy, my husband asks for us to host a dinner party as a forcing function to get us to clean the place up. It’s one of the most stressful things he says, because I immediately start to panic about the place being such a mess, and I absolutely hate to panic-clean. So lately I tend to squash that idea quick because it stresses me out, and leads to a stressful dinner party where the place is still not as clean as I’d like. It may work for him as a motivator, but for me it’s just too stressful.

I prefer to clean at my own pace.

But there is a minimum pace which must be maintained for a clean home (especially if it’s starting out messy.) It’s been said that if you want to see a dirty room you just stop cleaning it. It gets dirty on its own. So let’s say that negative clean is cleaning slower than the house is getting messy, and positive clean is cleaning fasting than the house is getting messy. Ideally, I’d like to always be in a positive clean state, so the house is getting continuously cleaner until I can maintain it more or less in top condition, and quickly recover from downtime. (Big events cause more clean-up, and illnesses mean messes can pile up.)

But only in the past year have I really moved from the negative clean into the positive clean. I’ve de-cluttered, organized, set up a nice seating area on my balcony and learned how to sew. I got the apartment to a level of clean which didn’t require dinner party as a forcing function, but let me just have one for fun!

I had some friends over for Thanksgiving, and it was so much fun! So easy to prepare food with my kitchen cleared up and organized. And then, so easy to clean up afterwards! Despite cooking way more dishes than I have ever prepared alone at a single time, it was the most successful party I’ve ever hosted,¬†a milestone on my path to happy¬†household management.