Sunday, November 11, 2007

Clutterama Drama

Yesterday I joked at the end of my post about needing a cleaning lady (see, if I make a joke about it first, you can't really "tsk tsk, what a mess her house is" at me, because I KNOW!) Self-effacing humor is my favorite defense mechanism. I will tell you what a tool I am, internet, before you get a chance to think you're telling me something I don't already know.

So yes, I definitely do need a cleaning lady. "But, Sarah," you say, "you are a stay at home mom," a "lady of leisure" as one of my friends once glibly pointed out to me. "Why don't you just clean your own damn house? I mean, pick yer butt up off the couch, put down the bon-bons and get to scrubbin'!"

Well, it's not that I don't want to (or it's not ALL that I don't want to). When Ethan was an infant, he was a smidge on the needy side; let's not forget the months of colic, people, and the incessant, "you MUST hold me or the world will come crashing down" crying. I spent most of his first six months bouncing or rocking or swinging my baby and the clutter multiplied around me like a pair of bunnies in love.

Since gaining some independence and a killer personality, Ethan is demanding in a whole new, exciting way. He has boundless energy that requires various outlets--parks, puppet shows, walks around the block, play group, play dates, gym class, sign language class, music together class, reading books, throwing and kicking balls, spinning in the living room, and the list goes on. Between all that, meals and naps, sometimes the baseboards just don't get wiped down. And at the end of the day, I really don't feel too badly about that. I've had too much fun to really give a rat's ass about the fact that I can see big plastic blocks underneath the chair across the room, and that there's a basket of laundry that needs to be folded.

But I know I have to find a way to balance it. It's not fair to Husband to work all day and come home to a house with an inch of dust on his gigantic TV screen, right? And how I long to have pretty little guest towels in my bathroom instead of 3 damp towels carpeting the floor. Having company requires an entire afternoon of re-arranging and shuffling the clutter that is our decor.

Don't get me wrong. I DO clean. I clean the bathroom every week and I do the dishes after dinner. I vacuum several times a week and since the remodel of the kitchen turned our house into a dust manufacturing machine, I have been dusting a couple times a week. So it's not like we live in squalor. Or anything that remotely looks like squalor. Well, my mom might think it's squalor.

When I was on bed rest during my pregnancy, my mother cleaned and cooked for us. I never had it so good, as I think I've said before. But I swore that when I got up and on my own two feet again (literally), I would become the cleaningest cleaner that ever cleaned. Yeah, that never happened.

So why not get a housekeeper? Well...I do have a reason. I can't get a housekeeper because my house is a mess!!

No, no. I assure you, I won't be one of those people who cleans my house before the house keeper shows up and leaves the woman scratching her head, wondering what the hell to do for the next hour.

No. It's just that I have a lot of clutter---magazines piled up on the coffee table, mail on the dining room table, blankets that don't belong on any particular bed and have no real home because our house is the size of a postage stamp and has just as many closets as one. Things like that. Things I just don't know what to do with. What does a cleaning lady do with all that riff-raff while she's scrubbing and cleaning? Just thinking about how embarrassing that would be for me makes my head hurt. A 36 year old woman should be able to keep her house clean, right?

I've tried. Really. I even bought a book called, "The Clutter-Busting Handbook: Clean It Up, Clear It Out, and Keep Your Life Clutter-free." Right now I believe that book is in the middle of a pile of magazines and catalogs on my coffee table. Yes, internet, the "how to de-clutter your life" book is now part of my clutter. Yes, I hang my head in shame, internet. I am a clutter addict.

SO, this is the new deal, people. I am going to start busting the clutter. This week. Tomorrow.

Several months ago I read a blog by a woman who, once a week, went through her house and threw away 57 things. Some of it was just finding the stray bottle cap here and there; some of it was serious spring cleaning type stuff-tossing. She had six kids or something mind-boggling like that. So if she could find 57 things to throw away every week, I figure I can find 30 things. So tomorrow I am going to go through this place with a trash bag and an iron will and I will start getting to the bottom of this clutter. And maybe I will be able to donate a ton of stuff we no longer need to people who do. I figure if I do this once a week for the next few weeks, it will be like living in a new home.

And then the clutter will be gone and then, at long, long last, I will get a house keeper. Wish me luck!


KMW said...

Our housekeeper saved our marriage (just kidding--sort of).What I mean is that it is nice to never fight about who is doing what to clean up the place. My only warning: Once you get a housekeeper, you'll feel that you can never live without someone so wonderful to help you.. Also, taking care of E is a FULL time job. I don't think you have time to clean. If you can afford it (and even if you can't) I say do it. It makes life so so so much better.

miraclebaby said...

good luck!

Pam said...

I sent you an email (to the address on your blog front page)...with a possible solution....or, at least, an offer!