Inspiration & Decor · Thoughts

A Clean, ‘Living’ Home: Why Neat Is Good, But Not Immaculate


Due to the holidays, I have spent more time at home since schools are closed, which is where I do my outside work. In the meantime, I have had plenty of time to do some inside work (my housework) and even some serious general cleaning chores I’ve been putting off for a while.

I think this time at home has definitely caused me to focus more intensely on the cleanliness of my home. This made me think about how clean my home really was and with some guests coming in and out during the holiday season, what do the guests think of my house? Do they think it is as clean (or even as dirty) as I think it is?

Do they see the small areas and bits I may have forgotten?

Like small stains on the floor (I have a love-hate relationship with our white tile floor that gleams but is SO hard to maintain and needs constant mopping) or a developing layer of dust, maybe even a misplaced item. What do they think of that?

I discussed this with some friends and even my father, who is the main judge of the overall quality of our home as the family patriarch. He told me something that very much struck a chord within me- for a man who doesn’t really clean, he has some good knowledge about it.

“A house can be clean, but it needs to be alive.”

While I can clean the house all I like, making sure it’s spotless, there’s no point if it looks so immaculate that it seems uninhabited.

I know the importance of a warm home, yet the key emphasis is the word ‘warm’. Warm means cozy and comfortable, while being lovely to look at. Though of course, warm also means it has a welcoming atmosphere and reflects the emotional warmth and closeness of the family that lives within it. I believe my father meant that sometimes a misplaced item, even say a couch with throw pillows askew doesn’t label the house a mess.

It labels the house as ‘living’. People are constantly moving around in it and spending time there since they can and they love being there with family.

With all the emphasis I put on homemaking and the importance of taking time for housework, it is also vital for me to leave some allowance for our house to ‘live’, to show signs of both the bustle and fun, everyday memories of its family members. With that in mind, I can proudly say my house is a ‘living’ home.

Everyday I see my father and sibling relaxing after work and school on the couch or the bean bags, watching or talking or even playing together. Smiling, laughing and sometimes even playing jokes on each other. Taking naps or reading magazines, complaining about the heat of the Australian summer (while I happily bask in it). Fighting over the standing fan.

While my house is clean, I’m even more glad it provides comfort and refuge for the family that brings it life.

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