I actually have a sign in my laundry room that says that. Don’t get me wrong, I love when my house is clean and in order—I just seem to have a hard time keeping it that way. It’s not because I mind actually cleaning, either, other than there are so many more fun things to do instead. It’s never bothered me to tackle a dirty toilet or soap-scum filled tub. What bothers me is that no matter how clean my house might be one day, the tendency is to fall back into chaotic disorder the next. Phyllis Diller was quoted as saying, “Cleaning your house while your children are growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” Yep. Our family is a little apathetic when it comes to clutter. Or at least more tolerant of it than most.
I watched a segment on Dr. Oz he had about clutter and he pointed out the old tried and true rule, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” It sounds so simple, but I feel like my stuff needs a purgatory of some kind. I am a very visual person, and if it’s out of sight I forget about it, so I like having my stuff out where I can see it. It wouldn’t be so bad except we as a family have a lot of stuff. And, it’s usually items we use on a regular basis. (My son and all his shoes comes to mind.)
Consequently my desk has lots of writing books, cool notebooks/journals, tons of pens along with things I am not supposed to forget to do—like bills to pay and field trip permission forms to return. If I “put it away”, it’s a pretty safe bet that it will be gone forever—or at least until it’s past the time I was supposed to take care of it. I’ve tried different systems to keep it to a minimum, like having a special folder for all my ongoing projects, but then I still need to have the folder where I can see it!
But, hey, I know where my stuff is. As does everyone else who visits.
What I’ve learned is that a mess won’t go anywhere. In fact, it seems to multiply. The kitchen island is a great example. It starts with a piece of mail I want to make sure my husband notices, so I put it on the island. He comes home, eats, doesn’t notice the mail and I forget to tell him about it. It stays on the counter and is joined by a few other “husband pile” items, like safety glasses and an odd screw I found on the kitchen floor that might be important. In the meantime, the kids notice that there’s empty, horizontal surface space on the counter and add their school papers to the mix. It’s amazing how little time it takes for the paper monster to grow.
The worst part of being tolerant of a mess is that most of the people I admire are naturally organized or admittedly OCD about cleanliness. At any given time I could drop by their homes and probably eat off their bathroom floors. They suffer from the inability to leave a mess or aren’t able to sleep knowing there are dishes in the sink that didn’t fit in the load in the dishwasher. They alphabetize their spice racks. There’s no such thing as a junk drawer. I need my junk drawer.
I like to think that my friends and family understand this about me and think it’s one of my cute, quirky characteristics. Or that dog hair dust bunnies are a new trend I’m experimenting with in my décor. Thankfully I do not have to remind them that they shouldn’t attempt eating off my bathroom floors. After all, they’d have to fight with my dogs if they did that. I have to hope that they love me anyway, even if my philosophy on housework is more Erma Bombeck than Martha Stewart.