Sunday, February 10, 2008

Clean Sweep...

Have I mentioned my house is bit of a mess? Perhaps that I am less than a stellar house keeper? Have I lamented over the fact that there are exactly zero clutter-free spaces in my home?

I have? Oh yeah. I MUST have because my constant bitching and whining about it actually got me somewhere. It pays to be persistent when confessing your deepest embarrassments. Someone is bound to step out of the blogosphere and offer to put you out of your misery.

A few months ago, I blogged (read: kvetched) about how I can't hire a house keeper because my house is to big of a mess. I resolved to try to do a better job (I think I said something about going through my house once a week and throwing away 50 things? Oh my. Give me a second to control the giggling.) Well, what do you know, but the universe was laughing, too, knowing full well there wasn't a shot in hell I'd actually stick with that clearly reasonable and manageable plan. So, instead, it sent me Pam.

Pam reads mah blog. She likes to organize. She took pity on me (or on the poor child I'm raising amongst my squalor). She emailed me and said, "Hey, I might be able to help you!" And the clouds parted, the angels sang and in my mind's eye, I suddenly saw the possibility of a home worthy of the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog rather than the tornado-esque ruin of junk mail, sippy cups and random IKEA train track pieces that is my current living situation.

Husband and I briefly discussed the possibility that this "Pam" person might be a big hairy ax murderer jockeying for a shot on the evening news. We thought maybe it wasn't a good idea. Then I opened a cabinet in the kitchen to get a pot for dinner and three pots (and their mismatched lids) fell onto my fragile little toes. That decided it for me. Big hairy ax murderer or not, Pam was going to help me get my life in order.

Much to our relief, Pam is nothing remotely like a big hairy ax murderer. She is indeed a completely pleasant and charmingly anal retentive, self-professed Type-A'er. Let me tell you, it is refreshing to have some of that energy in my house. We are not type-A'ers here. We could stand to be at least type-B or C'ers. But on an alphabetical scale of organizational compulsions, "A" being highest, we are in the "W, X, Y, and Z" range (which reminds me, Ethan pronounces the letter W, "dubya", apparently as an homage to our smartest president ever. I couldn't make this shit up). So anyway, having a bit of "A" in our home was a very, very good thing.

As Pam and I went through the downstairs and started sorting Ethan's toys, I had a momentary panic attack when I put the first toy in the "give away" pile and a slightly bigger panic attack when I put the first toy in the "throw away" pile. But I have to admit, two days later, I cannot remember what toys we gave away and what we threw away; I just know that I can see the floor under my dining room table again (again, more clouds parting and angels singing, please). I also realized with her help that one child doesn't necessarily need 12 balls in the house at one time. Yes, sadly, I needed help to come to that epiphany.

Once the toy collection was pared down, we moved to the kitchen. Turns out, I have no idea how to organize a cabinet. Who knew those things don't just take care of themselves.

Let me take a moment to try to explain the embarrassment of opening up one of your kitchen cabinets and realizing that the outside of your crock pot, which is leaning precariously atop a variety of baking pans and pot lids, needs a serious scrubbing. How the hell did it get like that? I swear it was clean when I put it away. Or maybe it wasn't, as I'm not likely to believe that little grease elves snuck into my cabinets in the still of the night and rubbed themselves up against the crock pot. I wish that were the case, believe me. But no, I'm just a slob. My apologies to anyone who has eaten at my house before; I hope you didn't get sick. And if you did, thank you for not being litigious.

That is probably the biggest lesson I learned on Saturday. I have spent years living under the delusion that my home was clean, albeit cluttered. On Saturday I learned, much to my abject mortification (and in front of another person, no less) that one's house can't really be clean if it is as cluttered as mine is. The dust-bunnies that we unearthed in the dining room (and deargod, don't even ask about the bed room) make me grateful my child hasn't become an asthmatic mess.

By the time we got through the downstairs, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, so when we went through the upstairs, we limited our work to making a list of what I have to do to get each room into a state of livable organization. I still have lots of work to do before my house isn't a total disaster area, but I feel like I can handle it.

So now I know---if you let the universe (read: blogosphere) know what you need, help does come to you, and offers to alphabetize your spice drawer (which we decided was a moot point since Ethan redesigns the spice drawer on a daily basis).


Becca said...

Wow, Pam isn't planning any visits to the south anytime soon is she? That sounds awesome!

I recently boxed up all the too-young toys of Charlie and put them away and for some reason I thought I was depriving him or something... of toys for babies that he hasn't touched in six months.

Pam said...

It was the most fun ever! and I can't wait to come back! and the next time, we'll remember to take pictures!

and everyone? Ethan really is THAT cute in person!

Stephanie said...


And sounds like everyone could use a bit of Pam.

Emi said...

yes we could probably all use a little bit of Pam in our lives.. you have inspired me to cut down on clutter too.. thank you :-)

Avonlea said...

That's so cool that she came over to help! It feels like we will never get our moving boxes unpacked. I try to ignore the clutter of boxes and things not put away.

Amy said...

I wish someone would come over and clean my house. It's organized, I just want someone to mop the floors on their hands and knees and scrub my baseboards.

Oh wait, that's a SAHM job. Shit. I better get on that!

gringa said...

How about a trip to Maryland? That is truly fantastic.

Alice said...

Clutterbugs of the world unite! That's great, I have a similar plan for my bedroom this weekend. I vow to see the whole floor by Sunday night!

Sarah said...

How cool is that? I am in the process of purging things in our crawl space and aster closet to make room for McLovin and his accompanying paraphernalia, and it is H*A*R*D. I have every engagement, wedding, and anniversary card we've ever received, and I cannot part with them!!!!