While our house is usually clean (as in, hygienic), it's also usually a mess. I don't think it'll ever be magazine-worthy neat. Here's why:
1. I'm very distractible
When cleaning, I like to start off systematically. For instance, I put all the things that belong in my son's room in one pile. Then I go to his room with his pile and pop it down on his bed while I start putting things away.
But soon I notice that his books are scattered everywhere, and think how lovely and magazine-y his room would look if I organised them.
So I start doing that. I then move onto my daughter's books and start organising her books, too.
By the time I'm finished with my daughter's room I get distracted by something else, and that pile on my son's bed only gets 'dealt with' when I pop it on the floor at bedtime, telling myself I'll clean it later.
Thus the circle continues (I'm pretty sure that's what the song from the Lion King is all about).
2. It doesn't make sense for me to clean
My baby is programmed to balance me out. She's the yin to my yang. In other words, while I'm tidying one thing, she's messing something else.
Take the dishwasher, for example. I try and place my baby down with some toys near the dishwasher while I unstack it. I can hear some clanging and think, oh, good, she's playing while I'm doing something useful.
However, by the time I've unstacked the dishwasher, she has somehow emptied all the nearby cupboards. I'm talking all of them.
Now, I'm no good at maths but the time it takes me to put all those things away is double what it took me to unstack the dishwasher.
Plus, I have to factor in the fact that during the time it takes me to put those things away, my baby is now simply messing up somewhere else.
In other words, it's not worth me doing housework. (Look, that's my argument and I'm sticking to it).
3. I have too many 'miscellaneous' spots
I was recently watching daytime TV and I came across a segment where Peter Walsh (the Aussie organising guru who used to be on Oprah) was talking about his new book on decluttering.
He spoke about how people shouldn't have a miscellaneous drawer. At that point, I was nodding away as I couldn't agree more. You see, I don't have a miscellaneous drawer. Instead, I have whole cupboards dedicated to that stuff.
He then went on to say that everything should have a place in your home. Things should either go back where they really belong, be thrown out, or put in storage. (I think that was his last point. To be honest, by that stage I was cowering under the couch, totally embarrassed by the state of my house, worried that Peter Walsh might turn up at any minute and faint from all my miscellanousness.) (And yes, I have been told I have a vivid imagination, but thanks for pointing it out again).
I was so inspired by Oprah's decluttering guru that I decided to attack one of my miscellaneous drawers.
In the miscellaneous drawer I found photos, blu-tack, earrings, a pen (that worked), a pen (that didn't work) and kids toy pieces.
This should be easy, I thought. The earrings go in my room on my jewellery stand. And the photos go…. back in this drawer. So does the blu-tack. And I'll never find that pen again unless I put it back here. And the kids toys can be dealt with when I get to the kids toy part, so I'll just pop them back in for now and, oh, I don't seem to be getting very far.
I threw the broken pen in the bin and felt quite good. But also tired. And, if I'm being honest, a little hungry too.
So I decided to have a snack and figured I'd keep going later but never got around to it (see the bit about me being distractible).
4. I'm not 100% sure I actually want a clean house
I'll be honest. Both my husband and I are not naturally tidy so for our house to be neat, we'd have to really, truly want it. And we're not so sure we do.
The truth is, having a messy house means we're having fun. Some of our favourite days are when we build forts out of sheets, blankets and pillows, and have a picnic inside. It's the definition of messy.
(Just to be clear, bananas and strawberries are banned from these picnics. I'd love to say that was always the case, but I'll be honest, folks: You live and learn).
Besides, there are only so many hours in the day. And I'd much rather spend mine making forts and having fun, than keeping my house pristine.