Pretend to be a guest at your own home
Usually when we think of spring cleaning we think of getting out the buckets, brushes, rags and cleaners and cleaning the inside of the house. If you want to learn more about that, Google it. My blog this week is about sprucing up the place just before you go inside your home. You’ll have to go outside for this spring cleaning.
Your entryway is the gateway to your domestic life. It gives guests their first impression of your home life and quite frankly a little peek into who you are. After your guest rings the doorbell there’s “wait time,” and it’s a rather private period of scrutiny and judging for him or her. Here are my 8 tips for spring cleaning your entryway.
1. Be Your Guest
Stand outside your front door and pretend you’re a guest and you’ve just rung the doorbell. While you’re waiting for you to come to the door, think about what your entryway says or doesn’t say. (When I did this exercise, I looked at the bear my bonus daughter, Kristi gave us when we moved into our new home 16 years ago. The bear is carved out of wood and I love him. He holds a sign that used to say, “Welcome,” but on a closer look I discovered it was blank. This blank sign would certainly give my guests an opportunity to wonder what the bear wanted to say: “Will work for honey,” “Help!” “Beware of Dog,” or a hundred other bear messages. Repaint welcome sign got added to the list of sprucing up chores that popped up during this exercise.)
As you stand at your door, does it feel welcoming or does it make you want to run? Be sure to have a notebook to write all the ideas that come to mind. By putting yourself in your guest’s place, you give yourself new eyes. Write down what they'll see.
2. The Doorbell
The first thing to do is ring the doorbell to see if it really works. If it doesn’t, fix it, or at least write it down to get it fixed. If it needs a little cleaning, do it whether it’s fixed or not.
3. The Front Door
The front door probably needs a good cleaning and polishing after all its work protecting you and your family from winter’s abuse. Use mild detergent and your favorite furniture polish. If it has windows in it or around it, wash them inside and out. If it has a brass kick plate, polish it with brass cleaner. (Right after I did this, my neighbor came over and said, “Oh, you got a new door!”)
4. The Doormat
After the long winter, your doormat needs to be cleaned or maybe even replaced. Doormats are like bathrobes and slippers; we get used to them and fail to see their gradual demise. Besides many of us enter our homes through our garages and rarely see what we are subjecting our guests to at the front door. Doormats serve to welcome guests, but they are also the front line in the battle against outside dirt coming in. (Just a personal note, it’s a wise tactic to choose carpeting and upholstery fabric that matches the dirt in your yard.)
5. Entryway Plants
Scrutinize any plants in the entryway. Are they thriving or do they look like they’re dying and struggling for nourishment and care? The condition of your entryway plants don’t necessarily reflect how you take care of your family, but some guests could come to that psychological conclusion.
6. Entryway Light
Make sure your lights aren’t burnt out and clean the fixtures so if the lights do work, they can do their job.
7. Entryway Walkway
Keeping your entryway swept is a weekly task and because it’s outside, it’s host to more than human guests. Moss can creep in, cobwebs and their inhabitants, yard debris from wind gusts and such. The best moss killer I’ve found is plain old white vinegar. I buy it by the gallon and douse moss that gets into the little nooks and crannies of the aggregate sidewalk in our front yard.
8. Decorate for the Season
It’s always nice to decorate your entryway for the seasons, but be careful not to go overboard. I don’t think you want your home to look like a department store window in New York.
As you plan your spruce-up remember the most important element in an entryway is to have it reflect your love and care for your home and family. If your entryway can make you smile, it’ll surely make your guests feel welcome.
My book "The Joy of Being Disorganized" will help you get organized just enough to please you. It'll help you see that you're a peace keeper not a house keeper and you're a peace maker more than a homemaker. Learn how to enjoy making peace in your home for you, your family and all who enter. Just click on the cover to learn more.
Do you know someone who always presents a nice entryway? I’d love you to share with me what makes it so special.
Thank you for reading my ideas and I hope you make a grand entrance for you and your guests. Please share this if you think it’ll help someone you know.