The house needs some attention, which is why it is probably time to have a party.

The truth is, our place never looks better than when we have people over, especially strangers. We work well under pressure. Peer pressure.

We discovered this after having our first child. We had attended birthing classes with five other couples. For six Monday nights we all sat on the floor of a children’s clothing store after hours, hugging big pillows and practicing breathing, “Hee, hee, haw. Hee, hee, haw.”

We had agreed to get together after we all had our babies and, since nobody wanted to take infants and meet at a restaurant, we offered to host. Although these were people we barely knew and they would all be bleary-eyed from exhaustion and sleep-deprivation, I cleaned the oven, polished glassware and washed an enormous picture window holding 24 framed panes of glass with an infant strapped to my chest. The husband trimmed shrubbery and even hosed down the driveway. As our guests began arriving, the husband was still repairing a lock on the back door and I had just finished folding every towel, hand towel and washcloth in the linen closet.

People complimented us on how nice our place looked.

We said thanks and then I asked if anyone cared to see the linen closet.

Not really. But I thought about it.

The place did look good. In fact, it looked so good, we had another kid two years later.

Today, the trim on our house needs painting. Spring has arrived, which means the firewood on the front porch needs to be moved out back and that sorry excuse for a grill on the patio needs to be carted to the trash.

Over the years, we’ve hosted a lot of baby showers and bridal showers, which kept the house in good shape. But most of that generation is now married and on their second and third babies, which means the showers have dried up and so has our motivation.

Cupboards need cleaning, clutter needs to be cleared, the hall closet should be organised and a general purging of kid drawings, junk mail, expired coupons, unused gift cards and sale circulars piled on the kitchen counter is in order.

I have a theory that frequent travel is the secret to keeping an immaculate home. If you’re not home, it can’t get messed up. So, buy a house, get in good shape and then leave. Voila!

My second theory is that if you don’t travel a lot, the next best way to keep your house looking good is to have people over. Hence the party.

The husband just commented that there seem to be a growing number of small projects around the house needing attention. “Maybe it’s time to have party,” he said.

“Sure,” I said. “Or take a trip somewhere.”