To clean or not to clean

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with her work but Phyllis Diller once said, “Trying to clean a house with small children in it is like trying to shovel the walk while it’s still snowing.” To that I say, TOO TRUE. While my children are no longer remorseless litterbugs disguised in Osh Kosh B’Gosh, it’s still a saying that rings true to me to this very day.

Let me just go right ahead and cop to being an attention deficit freak. My attention span flits around quicker than a hummingbird at a honeysuckle festival. Equally strong is my desire…no, it’s more of an obsessive need…for organization and order. The problem that I constantly war with myself over is that while I have an impressively low ability to stay focused on things I know I really should care about but don’t (like cleaning), I love having a neat, organized, and clean house. I think you can see why this is a problem. Maintaining a household is flat out work. Constant work. And it’s boring….oh so incredibly boring! In my ideal world my house is always a spotless sanctuary. I can see it when I close my eyes. I know what it would look like if it reached that utopic level, but trudging through the tedium to get there is a damn near impossibility.

Please tell me I’m not alone in this. I feel this is a problem many of us share. We’re standing at the base of this mountain and can see the summit. We visualize how great it would be to be on the peak (oh, what a great Facebook profile pic that would make!) and we know the utter sense of success that would wash over us, but the one thing getting in our way is actually climbing it. My house is my mountain. While it definitely has a comfy “lived in” feel and while there may be little messes lying around here and there, the ultimate cleanliness is a far cry.

Maybe this is okay. Maybe the comfort that comes from knowing the house is not just a house but a home is better than having it ready for any unexpected visits from Better Homes & Gardens. Proof of a family living and loving and going through their lives as a unit can contain much more beauty than a streak-less mirror or sparkling counter top. This is what I tell myself when I see an unfolded blanket half on the sofa and half on the floor (and most likely with a cat hiding underneath). It only got that way because someone that I care for intensely was there using it the night before while playing video games. You can have your solo mountain top photo, I think maybe I’ll be okay here at the bottom drinking and occasionally spilling hot chocolate with the lovable mess I call family.

14 thoughts on “To clean or not to clean

  1. I must say, your writing is a true gem! In my mind, you are a throwback to the days of the great humorists – and I mean that sincerely! 🙂 And so true and real about what you write. Love it! Peace . . .

  2. wonderful! and I agree! and you have such wisdom…
    “It only got that way because someone that I care for intensely was there using it the night before while playing video games.”
    and for me – recently I realized the dining room was a catch all area – and I decided that I would be more effort into keeping down the visual clutter out there- nobody really cares and we do not sit there often, but it is just not needed – but the habit of putting stuff in there – like stuff I need to mail or go thru – well it is hard to break.

    anyhow, enjoyed this post ❤

    • Thank you!! Habits are hard to break and sometimes when I clean off a spot that’s been used to house books or homework or whatever for so long, the room just doesn’t look the same anymore. It’s lost that “home” feeling. So then I go back to letting stuff pile up there again. I guess I prefer the “lived in” feeling in some respects. Not everywhere mind you, but in some places.

  3. Oh yeah I’m with you. I even blogged my messy writing space last winter (“shabby without the chic” on Writers Rumpus). Sometimes I follow FlyLady’s system . It helps, without taking a ton of time

    • I’ve read about FlyLady’s system. I can’t really stick with any system for too long because as soon as I come across a book (which really doesn’t take too long because they’re everywhere in my house) I’m lost. Unless of course company is coming. In which case, my house is spotless in about 30 minutes. LOL

  4. You know for someone that says you have attention defiect you are focused enough to write a blog regulary. That takes focus and attention I know because I write two blogs everyday and looking to write a third in the near future.As for the cleaning of the house that is something that will always be a constant. Don’t fight it,embrace it, somedays will be overwhelming others will bring out the creative side in you. At like life itself. Some good some bad always challeneging. Keep writing love your blog.

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