Monday, May 4, 2009

Tidy Girl

I've heard of people who clean their houses every week from top to bottom. These organized souls have a routine--bathrooms on Monday, living room and dining room on Tuesday, and so on--and they stick to it.

Then there are people like me, who clean their houses once a year, whether they need to or not.

Yeah, okay, I'm exaggerating. I clean bathrooms quarterly and mop my kitchen floor when I just can't stand it anymore, which is at least once very six weeks. But a big, thorough clean? It takes a parental visit to make that happen, and we usually get one a year.

If it makes any difference, when I finally do get around to cleaning, it's a two-week job, so let's revise my cleaning estimate. I spend 2/52nds of the year cleaning my house. The the other 50/52nds I tidy and do laundry. I cook and carpool and recycle and vacuum. I tidy some more.

That's the problem, I think. By the time I get done tidying up--making beds, picking up papers, hanging up coats, wiping down counters--I'm too pooped to do the serious cleaning.

But I have to say it's a joy to have a truly clean house. To walk in my laundry room and find a dryer with a surface free of lint, to amble barefoot through the mudroom and not pick up any mud on the soles of my feet. To look in streak-free mirrors (okay, that's a lie--hard as I try, there are always streaks on my mirrors and windows).

You know what the big drag about having company is? You spend two weeks cleaning for them, and then while they're there, you don't have time to tidy, and so instead of having a clutter-free, dirty house, you have a cluttered clean house.

And that's the rub. My preference is for tidy. In a perfect world, I could have both--tidy and clean. But as Yogi Berra said, "Even if the world were perfect, it wouldn't be." Or put another way, even if the world were perfect, I probably still wouldn't have enough money to hire a household staff. So tidy it is. Streak-free mirrors? Not in this lifetime, girls.


Gumbo Lily said...

Tidy works for me too, but there comes a point that I just have to shovel the mess out. After a lot of mud and muck here lately, I decided to throw every boot and rug out the mud room door, swept and mopped it and washed the rugs. Oh how nice that felt, even if it only lasts a couple days. A woman's work is never done.


Tracy said...

Ah yes....the continual conundrum!

I hate clutter so the house is practically always tidy, but I too, rarely have a clean home. I've now settled for dusted, mopped & vacuumed as being clean. Mr Busy cleans the toilet. Someone gets set to swipe over the bathroom sink.

That's it. The kids wardrobes are overflowing with outgrown clothes but it's a case of out of sight out of mind. As long as I can find towels and sheets without emptying the linen press I'm a happy camper.

Angela said...

We sang an ANCIENT hymn at our Ladies Meeting today, which began "The Lord is King lift up thy voice" - and one verse seemed just for women like me, it began "The Lord is King, Child of the Dust"
I am definitely a Child of The Dust!!!
Where does all this untidy clutter come from??
As soon as you get one room straight, another one is artfully ravelling itself into a mess.

Danielle said...

Always a battle of STUFF abides. I'm with you tidy. If you think choosing tidying clutter isn't the priority, spend some time watching Clean House. It's my battle call. Keeps me motivated to purge, purge b/c I live in a house of "collectors". And then, when you have company, or you can't take it, or you need to procrastinate, you go for the Big Clean.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Jody, Isn't it amazing to have a clean mudroom? That's probably the place in the house I let go the longest without a good clean, but is one of my favorite places to have shine.

Tracy, Vacuuming is the one area in which I keep up. Dusting is second, mopping a distant third. Any really bad spots, I wet a dish towel and scrub. Lazy! And out of sight/out of mind is the way to be, isn't it?

Angela, Yes! Children of the Dust unite! What I need to learn to accept is the cyclical nature of dust and dirt and clutter--no matter how hard I clean, it comes back. I need to get zen about this; instead, I feel defeated, and that's not good.

Danielle, I definitely need to get better about purging. I would love a streamlined house. I'm hoping to get babysitter Carie to become Purger Carie this summer--get the attic emptied out, all the stuff to Good Will, papers organized. How much could it all cost? I don't want to know.

Victoria said...

Tidy wins, I reckon. Depends on the house too. In our old house I preferred clean, in this house I prefer tidy. Although it might have something to do with ages of kids - when they're all babies I prefer clean, dream of clean..

Dulce Domum said...

I shove all my mess in drawers and cupboards and then I clean in a somewhat slack-arsed (excuse my anglo-saxon) fashion. Therefore, my home has the sheen of cleanliness and order, but it's all a big sham! Shame on me! I would love to be one of those ntaurally organised people.