Monday 2 April 2012


I was reading an article about a woman who had definitive ‘house rules’ shall we call them when it comes to running her home, but was becoming self conscious about asking guests to abide by them. Actually she was on the fence and by the end of the article could give a toss, but it was an interesting article as a launching pad for debate. In short, do you inflict your rules on other’s when they’re in your house, or do you let them slide a bit so as not to scare your friends with your OCD (or conversely, SLOB-like) tendencies?

Myself, I’m into house rules. I grew up with them, I’m respectful of other’s house rules and I figure if I am going into someone else’s house, it’s just that, not MY house. If they want me to put on paper shoes and only use blue cups, then I could care less; just make sure the blue cup has coffee in it, I’d be much obliged.

Now, as with any topic worth debating there are fine lines of course. When it comes to my own personal space, do I expect people to come into my home and be respectful and let's say, take their shoes off? Yes, please. Trust me, if you stopped to think what you stepped on in a given day then tracked into your house, you’d feel ill. [Not to mention my downstairs neighbor may beat you with his evil broomstick if you walk around our flat with shoes on]. It’s usually the first question I ask people when I step inside the door anyway and the King at this point is so well trained that any time we enter a room – be in in someone else’s house, or in the post office - the kid tries to take his shoes off.

I’m neat, there’s no way around it, and whereas I don’t expect my guests to come in my house and start cleaning – if you want to, go for it, the blinds on the windows need a serious seeing to. I also prefer if they don’t eat cookies in my bed or touch the walls with jam on their hands. As you can see most of my guests are under the age of four at the moment and like to rub their hands on my walls. Don’t think just because you’re cute you can skirt around the rules, toddlers!

But speaking of the fine line, I also think that if you’re inviting guests into your home, they are exactly that: your guests. You can expect a certain amount of abiding by your rules, and yet there should be a certain amount of Valium taking on your part if you can’t handle people sitting on your sofa pillows. You certainly don’t want to come off like an uptight drill sergeant when friends have come for dinner and start chasing them round the house with coasters, whilst trying to vacuum up behind them (although, I have sunk to these levels. I’m not proud of it).

I love watching my partner’s face when we have people round. He watches things they do in mild horror, then stares at me waiting for me to start sweating when they put their mud caked shoe on my coffee table (okay fine, this has never happened as people are far too scared of me to put their shoes on my coffee table, not to mention if they had mud on them).  Now of course – like any good man – he has almost gotten worse than me and is right there with a coaster or plate for someone if needed. Got to love the man. I suppose it also just comes down to politeness. If you’re into eating your dinner off your bed pillow then go for it, but not everyone is. So as with anything, take the temperature of the room you’re walking into…oh, and sometimes it helps to bring alcohol. People like that sort of thing and it might just get them to loosen up about the coaster policy.

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