I am a horrible housekeeper. I mean seriously bad. I mean, I get nervous and embarrassed when friends, even very close friends, drop by and I apologize about the state of things as they attempt to find somewhere to sit.
It has nothing to do with not caring about my house. It has nothing to do with lack of skill. I am terrible at staying on task. I start to clean one room, and I go to put something away in another room. I start to clean the other room before remembering “Oh yeah! I was cleaning something else!” This lack of focus makes it very difficult to complete anything in a reasonable amount of time, so I often don’t even start.
I really think I just missed out on the clean gene. My parents are both, in general, quite organized. My mom’s house is always tidy with pockets of clutter. The clutter generally exists in areas where she hangs out a lot (as it does for most people), but otherwise, her house is neat. My dad’s office is fairly neat, though his desk at home can get buried under piles of things, but he is not generally untidy. Because they both have tendencies toward clutter, I think I got both of their recessive traits. I don’t admit to being below average at many things, but I am definitely below average when it comes to maintaining a semi-tidy home.
Right now, my living room looks like my house imploded. There are 3 baskets of clean laundry that have been sitting here for days. There are toys everywhere (such is the life of a home with 2 preschool aged children in it). The couch is half-covered with one of the laundry baskets and the remnants of a craft project from earlier tonight. Honestly, now that I write it, that doesn’t sound that bad as an occasional problem, but that is the average state of my living room. I always hesitate to post pictures of my children to Facebook or anywhere else when they are taken with a cluttered background because everyone else’s FB pictures always seem to have a clutter-free background.
Sadly, the clutter in our house often becomes a part of the decor. We start to walk around it because we get used to it being there. Case in point: We had a garage sale about a month ago. The leftovers are still sitting in the dining room waiting to be donated. I keep walking around the tub they are in rather than doing anything with it. Sometimes I look at it and think, “Ugh! I have to take that tomorrow.” But I generally just walk around it.
There are several reasons why my house is always cluttered (not that I’m making excuses or anything). Here are the top 5:
1. I am a pack-rat, and my husband is also a pack-rat (though he would argue with that). I tend to save things that I think will have a use later: Partially used notebooks, bits of ribbon or fabric or anything craft-related, boxes, bottles of lotion, soap, cleansers, etc. that have even a little bit left in them. I also save sentimental items. “Oh, grandma gave you that stuffed animal.” “That was sister’s first drawing of a person.” “We can’t throw away Little Bit’s first coloring sheet of the letter L!” Hubby has lots of hats, sunglasses, and golf paraphernalia. Big stuff that takes up space.
2. I value my screen time too much. I love to watch TV, and I love to be on the computer. I don’t really know why…but it’s part of my down time. I have a very difficult time walking away from my screens to go do productive things. I am definitely a child of my generation in that respect.
3. I genuinely dislike doing housework. Some of my friends say they don’t LIKE it, but they don’t really mind it, and some tasks I don’t really mind either. Some are just time-consuming or inconvenient (laundry, tidying rooms, etc.), but other tasks I genuinely have to drag myself to do: dishes, cleaning floors, yeah, pretty much just those.
4. I have two small children who make doing anything productive while they are awake almost impossible. Sometimes, when I am in a mellow mood, and they are being helpful, I let them help, but there is only so much they can do. I feel very confident that if my house was a little more organized I might feel differently about them helping, but as it is, I usually feel like they are in the way, so I don’t bother. Then after they are asleep, I worry about waking them up by being loud while cleaning…so I blog.
5. It’s just going to get messed up again. Hubby feels this way too, so he often doesn’t do things that might make the house tidier overall because it feels so futile.
Well, tomorrow begins the first day of my new commitment to gaining control of my house. I am taking the morning to clean and setting up a plan to keep things under control. I will kick this problem in the proverbial ass. I am so tired of looking around and thinking, “Uggggghhhhh…” I would like to be able to have people over without having to take a day off work to get the house in a presentable state. A little kid clutter is one thing. It is expected when one has small children, but ours goes beyond that. I will win this fight. The clutter will not beat me. I am strong. I am invincible. I am…wait…that’s a whole other thing. But I AM woman…and I will defeat the stuff. That is all.