One thing that seems to be common among us "domestically challenged" types - we tend to struggle with low-self esteem and usually our weight as well. I saw some informal polls that were taken on Flylady.com and this seems to be the trend. Not for everyone, of course, but for a very significant percentage of us.
I think part of the secret to having a nice house is believing that you and your family deserve to live in a nice house. Personally, I think everyone deserves to live in a nice house, including me. Keep in mind that my definition of a "nice" house is one that is clean, peaceful and welcoming to friends and family alike, rather than one that is in a high-priced neighborhood and full of expensive whatevers. That's nice too, if you're in a position for that to be a reality for you, but any home can be made into a "nice" home even if the furniture is from Goodwill!
Part of convincing yourself that you deserve a lovely, welcoming home, is in how you take care of yourself. When I see a woman who looks like a sad, messy frump, I don't have to look in her front windows to know what her house is going to look like. I can just about guarantee it's not going to be a pretty sight. And it's the same thing when I see someone who is wearing cute, perky clothes, and a little makeup with a fresh up-to-date haircut. I know what her house is going to look like too. It's likely to look just as cute as she does.
When I teach my decluttering classes, that is one of the first rules I give out. It is a daily rule of mine that each woman has to do at least one thing (preferrably several things!) to make herself feel pretty every day. It can be as simple as a little splash of makeup, or wearing a pretty top that you usually save for "nice", or taking a few extra minutes to blow dry and curl your hair. We always think it is going to take "too much" time, but in reality, it doesn't take much longer than dressing like frump-girl and it does make you feel SO much better. And when you feel better about yourself, you start to feel better about your house too.
This is one change I was able to make stick a few years ago. I subscribe to several fashion rescue E-newsletters, such as MissusSmartyPants.com, and Andi Paige's Cents of Style. These are free newsletters for the every day woman who is in need of a little simple fashion advice. I love Andi's section called "Uh, don't wear that" where she shows pictures of women in pleated slacks, too tight blouses, and the dreaded VPL (Visible Panty Line). And Missus Smarty Pants has great style tips every week for women with every figure problem known to woman.
So, I took the plunge. I purged every single t-shirt, sweatshirt, and turtleneck from my closet except for a just couple for gardening, exercising, or lounging around the house. MSP pointed out quite correctly that it is a rare woman who looks flattering in any of these items. Unless they are unusually cute or cut exceptionally well, just about every woman looks boxy and frumpy in t-shirts, sweatshirts, and turtlenecks.
So instead, I have gradually built up a wardrobe of items that are much more flattering. Instead of a sweartshirt or a turtleneck in the winter, I will wear a nice top with a v-neck sweater, or a pretty colored tank with a cardigan over it. It's just as warm and it looks so much more put together. I'm a big fan of zip fleece because you can pair it up with anything and zip it up as modestly as you like (or not!).
I may still wear a t-shirt now and then, but I will layer it with a blazer or a printed shirt. In the summer, I will match a pair of cute capris with an embellished top and a light duster with some cute flats. I have a whole rack of different colored crocheted cover-ups that don't add any weight to an outfit, but are perfect for camouflaging a few stray fat rolls.
It's done wonders for my self-confidence when I know I look nice and I think it is reflected in my house as well. I wear a little make-up every day, not a full face-paint, but I think every woman over 25 needs to at least wear a little mascara and some eye shadow. My old Dad used to say - "Any old barn looks better with a coat of paint". That's not the best way to put it, but Dad was right on this one. Now I'm embarrassed if I happen to forget or if I don't take a few minutes to "fluff and fold" my hair properly.
Especially now that I've let my hair go totally grey, I make a little extra effort to carry a fun, colorful purse, or do my nails in crazy, sassy colors, or wear clothes with a little "drama" to them. My favorites right now are boys graphic tees. Yes, boys tees, but these are teen boys tees, so they are very cool ones. They have very bold unusual graphic patterns on them and come in a host of very unboyish colors.
Today I've got a white one on with fleur-de-lis and fancy flourishes with french script in grey. It goes perfectly with my amethyst corduroy blazer and a nice fitting pair of jeans. I love them because they are cut a little longer than women's tops so it gives me a little more coverage around the middle, where I need it most and no one will ever know that I'm wearing boy clothes (and you won't tell, will you?). Unless I show up at a party somewhere with some guy wearing the same outfit - now that would be embarassing!
So, c'mon ladies, what have you got to lose? Let's dump those frumpy, dumpy clothes, that frizzy hair, and that purse from the bargain bin at Walgreens! Reinvent yourself and be the cute girl you were in High School. Then let's see if you still want to live in Frumpville or move on up to Trumpville!