June 13, 2002
Today’s June Journal SMACKdown question: “Which part of your house is always dirty?” Always? Even when we’ve spruced up the place because company’s coming? I think we’ve cleaned every part of the house at least once since we moved in, so no one place is always dirty. However, it’s rare when all the parts are clean at the same time, much less uncluttered. I am the child of two packrats/collectors, and I inherited those tendencies. I like stuff. I don’t see piles and stacks unless they’re really high and untidy, and it’s hard to keep things clean if there’s clutter covering them. Our house isn’t disgusting, but it’s not what I would call presentable a lot of the time.
I really want to improve this state of affairs this year. (Thus the “clean, organized, and harmoniously decorated home” item on my goal list). I’d like to be able to come home to a place that leans more toward calm and less toward chaos, and I’d like to be able to invite people over without factoring in how long it will take to clean the place up first. Unfortunately, I haven’t made much progress toward this ideal yet. There are so many other things I’d rather do when I’m home than straighten and clean and organize. It gets worse in summer, when there’s yard work to do, too. I don’t want to do that, either, but it seems more important than the interior stuff, since so many more people see the outside of our house. Even if I do get the urge to tackle the house, I get overwhelmed by how much there is to do. Everywhere I look there is something that needs to be put away or sorted through or wiped off or scrubbed down or something.
We could afford a cleaning service (at least I think we could; I haven’t seriously checked it out). But while I like the idea of a clean house, I don’t like the idea of people I don’t know in my home when I’m not there. We’ve had bad luck with lawn services doing bad things to our yard, so I’m not anxious to try the same concept inside my house. On the other hand, our tree service is great, and writes little stories about our ashes and honey locusts and such for us to find when we get home; they also will knock and let us know to move our vehicles if we are home and they’ll be spraying above them.
Until our tree service guys open a housecleaning branch, it’s up to Mr. Karen and me to keep our own house in order. Our current system, with each of us having a few tasks that are ours, and which we routinely fall behind on, and lots of tasks belonging to no one which get done only if someone’s coming to visit or one of us can’t stand it anymore, is not working. We need a new system. I’m flirting with the FlyLady idea, which I’ve heard about repeatedly from more than one set of friends; if it keeps showing up like that, it may be a sign that I need to follow up on it. But maybe FlyLady is a distraction, too. Maybe I should start with the books I got on the subject in my latest order from Amazon. Indicative of how things tend be at our house, two weeks after getting them, those books are still in the box, sitting on the floor in the breakfast area, with a few other things stacked on top. Maybe a first step in the new regime can be picking that box up off the floor and putting those things away. It could happen.