I have some friends who never seem to have things out of place--their houses are so spotless that I take this sort of naughty delight in seeing dirt and/or dust that has been overlooked. Some of them even have children at home. Other friends have this comfortable mess or clutter and then others fall in between. I fight this battle all the time with my house. Growing up, I always had a messy room and every now and then, I'd take a night and spend hours and hours de-cluttering and organizing and cleaning. I don't know why I lacked that discipline--some of it it personality driven, I'm sure. Lots of times, I just don't notice things. Then, suddenly, I'll realize how bad everything is and get so overwhelmed. My best friend is one of those neat, clean people. I remember staying at her house for sleep-overs and she would meticulously clean up her room and put things away and have everything organized before going to bed. Even her hair would be braided! I wanted to be like that, but it just wasn't me.

I work hard to keep my house from being nasty deep down, but clutter and surface mess is a constant battle. The other day, I was complaining to Tuan about how it seemed I was always cleaning and picking up and straightening. (Yes, complaining) He gingerly suggested that perhaps I was getting too involved in micro projects rather than getting the big stuff done. I wanted to protest, but as I reflected on the day and how dusting led to moving a pumpkin and gourd--thus creating a still life and then taking apart two hurricane votives, emptying them of poporn and cleaning them, then cutting branches from the yard to fill them and then artfully arranging them on the piano with some other things, I thought . . . "yeah." It really hit home that night when I was "straightening" our bedroom and got involved with re-organizing sewing supplies. Tuan walked in and said: "micro project." Gulp. I quickly finished it and tackled the job at hand.

So I am now trying much harder to balance the two. Wednesday, Tuan took the day off and I got some much-needed rest while he tackled an unfinished project. Thursday, we got up early and walked two miles and that just got me going. Everything got picked up and put away and felt good-before lunch, too! So, Thursday afternoon, I had a clean house and time to quilt/watch a netflix and play outside with the kids. Yesterday, I was coasting on the bliss and somehow things stayed clean while Johnny had a playdate and I worked on a Christmas present. During naps, I started painting the bathroom and all was so well. We even had company last night and there was no mad dash to clean up beforehand. All was still well until bed-time when Tuan asked if there was any clean underwear. gulp. I hadn't thought about laundry in days, okay, 24 hours . . . . I opened the closet and it was not a pretty sight.

So, today I am tackling laundry. While the kids nap, I'm watching Jon and Kate and folding clothes. The irony of this is that the other night, I was reading Carolyn Mahaney's GirlTalk blog and the subject was pleasing your husband and how that (whatever it may be) is the first priority of homekeeping. I asked Tuan how I could be a better wife. "Clean underwear" he promptly replied. I can't understand why he doesn't find artfully arranged gourds, pumpkins and branches more important than that, but I will submit.


Caroline said...

I love this post! Imagining your artfully arranged gourds makes me smile.

Alli Kat said...

Oh, Paula, you and I are cut from the same cloth, truly! This is the way I have operated most of my life.

If you're really interested in keeping a cleaner house on a regular basis, I recommend you check out Flylady.net, which is a housekeeping system I started using this summer. At the time I wasn't working or going to school, so I had more time to implement her stuff, but now that I'm in a new apartment, the upkeep is a lot less than the old place. Anyway, she urges you to make the system your own and change it as you see fit.

Her big thing is to develop routines, but not making them massive "to-do" lists to overwhelm you. You start with one step at a time, and add a new task when you feel ready. Babysteps, Flylady says.

She also sends lots of inspirational emails (she calls them God Breezes) and little challenges that remind me to do the stuff I would never remember.

Flylady.com...the best thing that ever happened to a distracted artsy type like me!