Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Keeping it Real

Sometimes, I worry that I'm the only one chronically incapable of keeping a clean house.  

I like to blame it on the fact that I have two girls, a crazy terror of a toddler, and two adults living in approximately 1600 square feet spread over three levels.

I also like to justify it by saying that my baby has had ear infections for virtually all of 2010, and anytime I've done anything that doesn't involve rocking him in a rocking chair involves a screaming, crying banshee.  But that might be a little bit of an exaggeration.  Just a little bit.  (As a sidenote, because I know you're all dying to know, it seems that after three antibiotic shots last week that we have finally conquered the ear infections.  Quick!  Knock on wood!)

The truth is, I'm just not a great housekeeper.  I don't have any huge internal motivation to eradicate every particle of dust from the house or to make sure that there are fresh vacuum stripes left in the carpet five times a day. 

It doesn't really help that my mom was a cleaning fanatic growing up.  The vacuum stripes in the carpet bit?  We lived that.  The vacuum was virtually always running at our house.  In fact, we had to buy a new vacuum every six to eight months.  That's right, a new vacuum, not just new bags or new hoses.  Do you know how much vacuuming you have to do to burn out a vacuum in six months?  It's ok.  You don't want to know.  Seriously, it's better that way.  I think my unwillingness inability to clean is really a not-so-subtle rebellion against the endless hours of Saturday chores.

But I go to other people's houses, and they are (almost) always clean, picked up, sparkling with no rings in the toilet.  Now my house isn't on the verge of being condemned or anything like that, but from where I sit, I can see crumbs on the kitchen floor, counters that haven't seen a washrag today, and more baby toys than I can count covering every spare inch of carpet.  Oh, and there's two weeks worth of groceries out in my van waiting for my kids to get home to help unload them.  My kitchen is up a flight of stairs from the main entryway, and I'd rather just wait the half hour until my kids come home than climb up and down the stairs 27 times.  Sigh.  There are just so many things I'd rather do than clean the house.  Like sleeping.  Blogging.  Reading other peoples' blogs.  Reading my latest novel.  Going on walks, talking on the phone, finding things that keep me busy so I can avoid the housework, etc.  Sure, I really like clean houses, but actually doing the work to get there is another matter all together. 

Take this bookshelf for example.  Now, the rule is, no laughing.  No throwing things. I already warned you that I'm an impossibly bad housekeeper. 

Remember those worksheets you used to do in Elementary school where you would circle the things that don't belong?  See if you can find:

Two dead cell phones, and a cover for one of them.
A soldering iron, with two rolls of soldering material.  (I'm sure there's a technical term better than soldering material, but I don't know what it is!)
A picture hanging kit. 
A homework folder that should have been at school in a certain child's backpack.
A camera.
A level.
A drill.
A charging cord to one of the dead cell phones. 
Two ward lists.
Two very overdue library books.  (You would think those would be hard to find seeing that you're looking at a picture of a bookshelf and all.  And they would be hard to find, if say, my girls put them with the other books where they actually belong!)
A sippy cup.
Lip gloss.  (There goes the theory that it's everyone else in the house that makes the mess!)
A haircutting kit.

So really, since we live in the aforementioned house that is only slightly bigger than the average postage stamp, and we have no storage space, and no room in the kitchen for a "junk drawer," this bookshelf became our junk drawer.  The biggest problem is you can't close a bookshelf.

Enter a Saturday, a mom fed up with the "junk bookshelf," a tax return and an IKEA within driving distance.
Here is picture proof that at least in one little corner of my universe, everything is precisely where it's supposed to be.  Well, everything except my husband's tie.  I guess you can't have everything.  My favorite are the little white boxes from IKEA. Genius because now, all the little clutter things can just get stuffed away where no one can see them. 

So if you come over to my house, ignore the crumbs all over the floor, the thermometer on the stairs, (don't ask.  I don't know either....) the homework on the counter, or the ring in the toilet.  Just come admire my beautiful new bookshelf.  And then tell me I'm not the only one that doesn't have a house that looks like it came straight out of a magazine. 


  1. Did we have the same mother? Because, oh my gosh, my mom is married to her vacuum. I've never seen a person vacuum as much as she does, and I have often attached my self-worth as a homemaker to how often I manage to vacuum (once every two weeks? Maybe?) which is really silly, because obviously my mom is a little over-excited about it. And the Saturday chores. Gah.

    I am glad the ear infections are getting better. My Chloe had them forever until we finally did the tubes. It was awful, so I feel for you.

  2. My house is SO embarrassing. I can pretty much guarantee that mine is worse. We had our living room spotless on Saturday morning. We cleaned it up again Sunday night. By Monday night (keeping in mind that we are gone all day, and we went to bed early Monday night), there were shoes, clothes, pillows, toys, paper, cut up papers, tape, kleenex, baskets, a science fair board, coats, gloves, and tools on the floor. I can list those off, because they're all still there for me to look at. Dishes are a nightmare. I hate doing them and procrastinate until I end up doing them for an hour at a time. We won't even talk about the bathroom. Ew.

  3. Oh, I have 3 boys (8, 5, & 2) and myself in a 650-square foot apartment.

  4. We are SOOOO in need of bookshelves. I think most moms are more like you (me) and it is the exceptional mom that is a clean freak. You seem to be right on track.

  5. I am also a horrid housekeeper. I waited forever to get the bookshelves I wanted and am in hopeless love with them now.

  6. I've heard that this first step is acceptance, so here goes:

    "My name is Linnea and I hate housekeeping."

    Yeah. It didn't work...

  7. You're not the only one that doesn't have a house that looks like it came straight out of a magazine.

    There, I told you :)You've seen how I housekeep. We're the same.


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