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Author Topic: Scruffy Hospitality  (Read 10174 times)

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auntmeegs

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #30 on: June 28, 2016, 11:45:05 AM »
My house being clean IS my “authentic.”  It’s not just clean for visitors, its clean for me and my family because mess and dirt stress me out and make me really anxious. 

Peppergirl

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #31 on: June 28, 2016, 11:55:33 AM »
There's something about the word 'filth' that sets my teeth on edge.  I'm not sure why. 

pattycake

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #32 on: June 28, 2016, 02:17:38 PM »
Because I live out in the country, people don't come to visit often. Thankfully, those that do are usually from scruffier homes than mine! We all visit each other, and say "oh gosh, excuse the mess" when we're dropped in on, but when invited for a birthday party or something like that, there's usually been a lot of tidying and cleaning. I am having a barbeque on Friday for Canada Day, mostly because I have a new deck and we can all sit out there! This is prompting a flurry of cleaning because if it rains, they need to be able to come inside. I must vacuum because of the cat, and I have let the kitchen floor slide a bit so all that and dusting will get done. But my living room is where I sew, and that is just getting a lick and a promise and I am hoping the weather report of no rain  is accurate! Besides, we're all what I call "kitchen people" anyway as that's always where we wind up.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #33 on: June 28, 2016, 02:35:53 PM »
My BF's parents place is pretty cluttered.  And they have 5 indoor cats so there is lots of cat hair.  But the kitchen, though cluttered, is pretty clean.  The bathrooms aren't as clean but part of the issue is the high iron levels in the water.  When it is just us for dinner, BF's mom doesn't worry about clearing the clutter off the table, as long as there is room for all 4 of us to sit.  And she doesn't worry about clearing the clutter off the kitchen counters.

But when she is hosting the whole gang for a holiday meal?  She clears the table and the counters and clears floor space in the living room and does a better job at cleaning the bathroom.  And cooks up a storm - 3 or 4 different kinds of pie plus cherry cheesecake plus two meats and all the sides.  I don't know how she does it.  She's in her 70's, still working full time, hangs her laundry out to dry, plants and maintains a big garden in the summer, heats the house with a wood furnace, though BF and I tend to bring the wood in for her so she just has to feed the furnace.  She's amazing.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
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Sophia

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #34 on: June 28, 2016, 02:45:06 PM »
There's something about the word 'filth' that sets my teeth on edge.  I'm not sure why.

I once came up with a description of the connotations of the word Filthy for some German co-workers of mine.  They'd used that as an example of why Americans were so annoying when they use one word when another word would be just as good.  The off-hand definition of Filthy is Dirty.   So, why wouldn't someone just use the word Dirty? 

Imagine a dentist is about ready to stick an instrument in your mouth, and it has blood on it.   If the blood is yours, it is dirty.   If it isn't yours, it is filthy.   

I was thinking of that example, so I was amused to see Teeth in your post. 

Dindrane

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #35 on: June 28, 2016, 02:55:21 PM »
You know, having read the link and seeing some of the replies here, I'm thinking that what the author intended to communicate is that people shouldn't feel like they need to go way above and beyond their usual level of clean/tidy, and they definitely shouldn't wait for their house to look perfect, before they are willing to invite people into their homes. Because otherwise, people wouldn't socialize in each other's homes.

Especially since the author referenced things like the pages of Better Homes and Gardens, and because she specifically mentioned friends of hers whose homes are much neater than hers because she suspects they are naturally more inclined towards that, I think she was trying to get at the fact that hosting shouldn't become this herculean effort, and that a little bit of less-than-perfect is okay.

For me, neat and tidy will never be my home's natural state. I do the best I can, because it does annoy me when it's really cluttered. But I have limitations on how neat and tidy my home can be (limitations from the type of home I can afford to live in to how much time I am willing/able to spend cleaning and organizing), and the more effort I have to expend to get it ready for even casual hosting, the less likely I am to invite people over. If I can be confident that people will not hold my slightly dusty bookshelves and somewhat cluttered living room against me, I'll be much more likely to invite them to spend time in my home.

I also think it's worth distinguishing not between messy and dirty or filthy or whatever words you want to use. I think it's a difference between an environment that just looks unattractive, and an environment that has a high potential of making people unwell. Unattractive mess is papers on the table, cluttered surfaces, maybe a little bit of dust or pet hair*, and dishes from that day still in the sink. Unhealthy mess is mold or mildew in the bathroom, thick dust or pet hair, dishes from a week ago still in the sink, or failing to sanitize surfaces that have come into contact with actual pathogens (like not cleaning up after raw meat or keeping the toilet sanitized). I don't think any reasonable person would tell a potential host not to worry about things that would make their house unhealthy for visitors. I think the article is just suggesting that maybe people should relax a little about the things that are merely unattractive.

* Caveat: obviously people with allergies will have a different line between unattractive and unhealthy, and it will vary depending upon the seriousness and type of the allergy. But even then, until the allergen rises to the level of making such a person unwell, it counts as unattractive rather than unhealthy.


#borecore

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2016, 03:28:29 PM »
I don't keep a perfect home all the time, and I'm not comfortable having people over when it's less than really nice, and I'm OK with that. I don't mind if someone drops in for a moment, but I'm not going to have multiple people over for dinner without a serious tidy-up.

I appreciate friends who are OK with having a stack of papers out on their desk when I come over, but I am not them. It's OK not to be!

What I don't appreciate is people who are so comfortable with themselves that they don't consider that it might be making their guests uncomfortable. I just don't want to sit in the same room as a long-unscooped litter box or smell the full, fragrant trashcan, or use a dirty toilet, or linger on a couch with lots of crumbs on it. I will do it, because I love my friends and family, but that doesn't mean I'll like it.
I know they're not doing it in order to bother me, but I'm very sensitive to my environment, regardless. 

EllenS

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2016, 07:21:22 PM »
I mostly noticed how much of the article writer's observations of the hospitable family were not about cleanliness or tidiness, but about decor:  the mismatched furniture and dishes, items like the chiminea that were not new, the dated look of the kitchen. And her "revelation" that such a home could be warm, inviting, and enjoyable.

The bottom-line takeaway for me was not that the author needed to become a slob, but that she needed to quit being a snob.

Dindrane

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #38 on: June 28, 2016, 08:11:03 PM »
I mostly noticed how much of the article writer's observations of the hospitable family were not about cleanliness or tidiness, but about decor:  the mismatched furniture and dishes, items like the chiminea that were not new, the dated look of the kitchen. And her "revelation" that such a home could be warm, inviting, and enjoyable.

The bottom-line takeaway for me was not that the author needed to become a slob, but that she needed to quit being a snob.

Of the media representations of homes that are warm, inviting, and enjoyable, how many does the average person see that also include things like dated kitchens and mismatched furniture or possessions that show their age and wear? Of those homes, how many of them are not cultivating a "shabby chic" or "vintage" or "farmhouse" aesthetic?

I think the answer is "practically none." And sure, you see old stuff and mismatched stuff in shabby chic or vintage decorating styles, but I'd argue that those decorating styles actually take more time and effort (and sometimes money) than decorating styles that involve new things that match each other. Because getting a bunch of things that are old, worn, and/or mismatched to look like you put them together on purpose is hard, and sometimes expensive to boot.

People are influenced by what they commonly see and hear. And most of what I see on the topic of entertaining is the cool and creative (but also time consuming and/or expensive) things people post on Pinterest. If that's all I'm going off of when it comes to setting my expectations for entertaining, having a house that is wildly removed from things I'd want to show off on social media might make me think that people would judge me for it if I invited them over. Especially now that I'm well past the "poor college student/recent graduate" phase of my life. And I don't even spend much time on Pinterest, so imagine what it's like for people who do.

I'd guess that this doesn't stop a lot of people from entertaining even when they think their house isn't up to the standard they think it should be, because people like to socialize and it's cheaper to do at someone's house. But I think it probably does increase their negative feelings around entertaining when they do, and that the author was saying that maybe it shouldn't.


Allyson

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #39 on: June 28, 2016, 11:53:53 PM »
Count me in with people who hate the word "filthy"

This is rough, because I think people can get defensive on both sides -- ie, people hear "it's OK not to clean perfectly" and if they do like to make their house perfectly clean for guests, feel like they're being called uptight. And by the same token, people hear "I think it shows respect for guests to clean" and feel like they are being told they're disrespectful to guests for not having a pristine home. But, i think in most cases that's not what anyone means... I often see comments on articles like this that assume scruffy=smelly or moldy food etc, but I really don't think anyone's arguing that's OK, and by the same token, I think it'd be a pretty rare person who cared if couches were matching, yeah?

I don't feel uncomfortable in people's houses who keep them like a magazine but my place just isn't going to be like that, and it does make be a bit nervous to think people are taking away bad things from that fact, so I can understand the mindset of "my place isn't good enough to host".

blarg314

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #40 on: June 29, 2016, 01:36:13 AM »

I find that clutter is one of the more problematic things to quantify. I know more than one person who has a home that is not particularly dirty, but is constantly cluttered to the point of making me uncomfortable, and I've personally never, ever been described as too tidy or uptight about disorder. If I have trouble walking to the bathroom without tripping or stepping on something, or I need to clear a space to sit or put my drink, I think it's crossed a line.

So the advice I'd give to someone who feels that they are offering scruffy hospitality is to get a second opinion from someone who is reasonably tidy themselves, and willing to be blunt. If their place genuinely is a bit untidy but welcoming, it's a reassurance, but if it's not, then they can find out and either clean before having guests, or be more careful about inviting people over.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #41 on: June 29, 2016, 08:06:02 AM »
I have a friend who is an absolute clean freak.  We could never live together!  When I visit her, I'm always on pins and needles, making sure I pick up every piece of lint, every crumb, anything that falls where it shouldn't.  Sure, her house is beautiful but the amount of time she spends cleaning?  Just thinking about it makes me tired.  She can manage to stay at my place without wincing but I make sure I do a very thorough cleaning of at least the bedroom she stays in and the bathrooms and kitchen.  Other stuff may get a lick and a promise and the door might get closed on a room or two that I didn't have time to get to.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
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Alicia

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #42 on: June 29, 2016, 08:25:33 AM »
I once had someone say they were amazed I threw dinner parties as my silverware does not match for the 12 or so people I will host for dinner parties. I did inherit china for 16.
So there is a middle ground I feel like most people fall into. You should have a clean place but go ahead and host a dinner party even if the silverware doesn't match. The extremes of either filthy or of people who won't host without every single thing perfect are both horrible.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #43 on: June 29, 2016, 08:27:47 AM »
^  I have no problem with mismatched silverware.  As long as the place setting matches itself.  I have 2 sets of silver for 8 so if I was having dinner for 12, I'd use 6 of each, alternating.

Why, yes, I do believe I have touch of OCD CDO.  Why do you ask?  :)
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
Ontario

Runningstar

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Re: Scruffy Hospitality
« Reply #44 on: June 29, 2016, 08:33:27 AM »
Scruffy hospitality is a new term for me, I call it drop over friends.  For me, there are only a handful of friends that I'm ok with seeing my everyday home.  For others, they are only invited once a year to our fall party.  For it I clean like a machine for two weeks, everything sparkles and I even have a to do list of things that must be done and the order in which to do them.  It is what some would call a spring cleaning.  What the article meant to me was that this level of work is not necessary to entertain, to lighten up and just do it.  Not going to happen, pride stands in the way, which is a little sad. 

I like the example of the dental tools for the difference between dirty and filthy.  My home is almost always sort of messy, I'd prefer it to be clean - but it isn't usually.  What I do, was what my grandmother did - the entry and main room upon entry is always within an hour of being clean.  That way if a friend should call and ask to come over I at least have the potential of presenting a clean area to meet in.  We have an open floor plan - so yes, you will see the accumulation of stuff on the dining room table, and the kitchen will always be lived in.  We live in the woods and mice/insects are an issue so I really do have to keep an orderly and clean kitchen - or we would have filth.  In a way it is a blessing since I have no choice but to keep up with it.