Why I’m sure my house will never have Good Housekeeping’s seal of approval…

I will admit, a big part of my current mess is a combination of depressive dumps and pure laziness that I’ve had trouble shaking off. When I snap out of it, though, I am more than capable of rolling up my sleeves and dealing with a great big mess and putting everything where it needs to be. I had a super clean house before the movers came and dropped off the rest of my stuff, which should tell you something there.

I only had a clean house because I didn’t have much stuff?

I’m sure that’s a part of it.

Well, I am going room by room to see what I have and what I can lose this month, time to really tone down what I have and get rid of what I don’t need anymore (or just can’t use and can go in the shed for another day or another person to use later).

However, even with all that, when it’s said and done and all the excess crap is removed from the premises, I have to admit I’ll never be a totally clean housekeeper.

I got to thinking about it when I started thinking about dad in the past few weeks. There were times when I was gone (a big chunk of it when I was living with mom) and he’d have the house totally clean when I got there. There were no dishes in the sink or on the counters, the island clear, the breakfast nook clear, couches clear, etc.

This was the most used area of the old house because it was the center, right next to the den where dad hung out all the time…and he’d have it so clean it looked like nobody lived there.

For some reason, something about that bothered me.

Maybe it was the fact that I was never that good at picking up my stuff and putting it properly away every time. I’d get distracted by something else and just forget to pick it up. Yes, I was taught to put my toys away as a little kid, but it’s something else. Though it can look ugly as hell, sometimes a little organized chaos is appealing to me.

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Okay, when things look like that, then yes, DEFINITELY time to clean. I’ve let it get like that more than a few times, just out of total boredom or lack of care (or being tired because my plans have to be scrapped for work for the umpteenth time and I don’t have the energy).

I mean, I have to admit, it’s neat to look at pictures of houses and furniture setups in people’s homes. I used to look in the homes section of the newspaper for floor plans and ideas for what I’d want in my own house (just found a file full of clippings about them, too). But at the same time, I find it weird when things are just too pristine.

There’s something unsettling about a house that’s totally cleaned up and everything is put away. It feels fake, like somebody’s putting on a show for a visitor. It feels like a real estate agent’s giving someone a tour in hopes that they’ll make an offer. I’m reminded of the excess space that some places have.

We had it in my old house (at least until the good furniture went bye bye in dad’s last divorce). It was a formal living room and a dining room, with nice couches and tables and such–but nobody ever sat in the damned rooms. It looked good, but the cushions were on the stiff side since nobody gave them a workout or used the space except to pass through. The dining table was always covered and the most it was used for was the occasional chess match.

Maybe that’s why I’ve got all this stuff on my walls, and all these jigsaw puzzles I’m putting together to go on said walls. I want a statement that says somebody lives here and enjoys the place. And I don’t have any unused spaces in this house. Hell, I have contractors coming over to install some fans in the wire and braced areas on my porch so I can sit out there with some relief (and extra lights in the evening) and entertain if I so desire. Even my porch is like a room that needs personality, and I’m cleaning up and moving things around to give it that space.

Yes, i have to once again remove clutter, as I’m not a hoarder (unless it’s books). But the idea that this place will be completely free of excess stuff on a table or counter top, a desk or shelf…well, that’s just not going to happen. If it does, it’ll be rarely.

I wonder if there’s such a thing as controlled clutter. Maybe “cozy” is the word some would have for it, though the word brings pictures in my head of over-the-top “country kitsch” and knick-knacks, or big plush quilts or blankets.

I’ll settle for “lived in”. Not in the sense of run down, but rather “enjoyed.”

That sounds good to me.

I do need to clean, that’s a given, but some things with a smattering of personality (or for easy reach in the moment) should be allowed to stay. That’s what I’m okay with. I can handle that.

Anybody else ever feel weird about a “too clean” house that’s not for show by some realtor? Maybe it’s just me….

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