Sunday, February 17, 2013

February Writing Challenge: Tidy

Prompt: Next to godliness, or just keeping yourself off of Hoarders? Where do you fall on the cleanliness/organization spectrum?

I don't like having a messy house, but let's be real: I have four kids and I work full time. My house usually starts out looking like this in the morning:

Commence Operation Living Room Blitz. Her mission: to pull out every single toy before Mama finishes her first cup of coffee.

But then it quickly turns into this:

8:38 AM on a #snowday and the living room is already trashed. Is it spring yet?

I am not picky about things like baseboards and ceiling fan blades and I am woefully bad about scrubbing my tub. Just tonight I cleaned off the top of the exhaust fan that hangs above the stove and wondered when the last time I'd done that was. I do my deep cleaning like the Pig of If You Give a Pig a Pancake fame on crack. Which is to say that I bounce from project to project, get distracted by something else to do when I leave the room for a moment, go back to what I started only to see yet another thing that needs to be cleaned. By the time I'm finished, I've spent a whole day and have seventeen cleaning projects halfway done.

So deep cleaning isn't my forte, but I do like the clutter picked up. My GOD, the clutter. My children bring home paper after paper from school and those papers hook up with the bleeping junk mail and have one great big paper reproduction orgy and by the middle of the week there are piles of credit card offers, forms, permission slips, magazine renewal cards, PTA announcements, worksheets that the kids did in class (for the love of Pete, why do they have to send those home with the kids?!) and so on covering every square inch of counter space in my kitchen. It makes me homicidal and I usually glance through what I can while holding a baby who is covered in slimy banana at arm's length so she can't get it in my hair. As you can imagine, the kid distracts me and I typically end up throwing it all away anyway. Which means I lose stuff, but whatever.

Along with the paper comes the homework paraphernalia. Pencils, erasers, sharpeners, pencil bags, notebooks, half-eaten candy bars, etc. My dining room table is full of this stuff when I get home from work. As I slave away over a hot stove making dinner, the mess on the table seems to grow. We usually shove it over to the sideboard when it's time to eat. The whole time I can see the mess out of the corner of my eye and it stresses me out.

If I've had the kind of day where I can feel my blood boiling and know that I'm not fit to be around any human, let alone my children, I will sometimes call ahead and warn them: "Bad mood. Hour commute. Clean for your lives!!!" They are pretty good about doing it these days, and a clean house does lift a weight off me on a day like that.

Jake has to do the dishes now that Brie is away at college. He's not as thorough as his big sister was, but he's learning. Every so often, I clean the kitchen myself so that it looks like this:

Got up at 6 am and cleaned. It's ridiculous how happy a clean kitchen makes me.

The best time to clean is on Saturday and Sunday mornings around 6 am. I'm an early riser, and I am less prone to ADD in the morning, so it's an effective time to clean for me.

Tonight my house is quiet, the baby is asleep, and my house is reasonably clean. All is well with the world.

3 comments:

Lindsay said...

The bit about the paper cracked me up. We have a paper orgy going on too, and oh my god, there are only two of us.

Great pics.

Jenny said...

No kidding! The amount of paper school sends home on a daily basis is insane.

Melanie said...

"I bounce from project to project, get distracted by something else to do when I leave the room for a moment, go back to what I started only to see yet another thing that needs to be cleaned. By the time I'm finished, I've spent a whole day and have seventeen cleaning projects halfway done."

Girl, I hear you.