Saturday, September 5, 2009

Diss Order

I've come to grips with a very real and plain truth.

I am a messy person.

I've been dancing, swinging, skipping, tossing around this fact for years now. Anyone who knows me knows that this is an obvious fact, but I've been in denial.

This is what I tell myself:

I am busy, I don't have time to clean. I like to cook, so my kitchen is naturally messy. I live in Hawaii, so there are going to be piles of ants in every corner. I just cleaned the floor yesterday and it is already dirty, which means it is impossible to keep clean. I am planning on cleaning the fridge tomorrow. I am making a plan to clean one room each day this week. Amaya will just mess everything up anyway.

Now, this is not even close to the same thing as not knowing how to clean. In fact, when I do clean, I clean pretty thoroughly, which means I lift up the toaster to sweep the crumbs out from underneath it. I do care a lot about the floor of the house, so I will scrub it regularly. This keeps it clean for exactly 4 hours at a time.

But I will completely ignore other things, and make more work for myself later. I put papers into piles that I need to sort later, I put books on top of the stack in the shelf, and I empty my pockets on top of my dresser every evening. I usually get to this point where I see a pile, and I just throw something else into it, because obviously I have to clean up that pile and I might as well do it all at once.

So in this realization, I've also come to see some other truths that hold our universe together.

1. I don't have time to clean, but people who are clean and don't have time to clean clean anyway.

2. Paperclips, rubberbands, and other things that hold other things together attract others of their kind and make a mess in miscellaneous areas. And if you throw them away, you will grow new ones soon enough.

3. If you spend an hour cleaning the bathroom and get rid of all of the dead ant piles in the corners, they will rebel and stray their crumpled bodies all over the floor in protest of you interrupting their sacred burial ground.

4. Having a place where you keep things that you don't know where they go to also means that you will never find where these things go to (and take up valuable space in a drawer). However, if you throw these things away, you will immediately find whatever they go to, and you will absolutely need them and hate yourself for throwing them away.

5. Just because you are too short to see the top of the fridge does not mean that the top of the fridge is clean. In fact, you have been putting cereal boxes up there for months assuming it was a clean and bug free place to keep things, but once you stand on a chair and look, you will see several cockroaches running to another place you can't see the top of.

6. Cleaning your house just makes you aware of all the things you still need to clean. Even if you tell yourself you will clean the inside of the fridge tomorrow, in the meantime, ants and cockroaches will be busy making little piles inside the cupboard you cleaned today. And don't even get me started on the windows. There is no being DONE with cleaning.

7. The only time your house will be clean is when you move out, take all of your stuff to your new place, and scrub everything top to bottom.

So this morning Jake and I ignored Amaya entirely and cleaned the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. I organized every pile and put things away and scrubbed the surfaces. We ignored the windows and the inside of the fridge and only cleaned some of the cupboards.

Telling yourself that you are going to change and become a clean person is much like breaking an addiction. Good intentions, written goals, positive self-talk all come down to you, and something that needs to be cleaned up.

Does it really matter if I put this paperclip on top of the bookcase?


cailin said...

Amen, sister. I have lower standards for myself. It helps me get through the day. And I don't even have a job as an excuse for my ever increasing piles of "contained" mess. And my goal is to get the pictures hung up and the shoe rack mounted before we eventually move out of this house. Lower standards, I tell ya, that's the balm for the messy soul.

Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

I like Cailin's comment. I need to remember that.

Christian and I spend a ridiculous amount of time trying or organize our house. Enzo's bedroom looks TOTALLY different from when you were here. "New" white desk, ikea full size loft bed withtrain table underneath and my poang chair in his room now.

I want an awesome looking house that has perfect organizational gadgets and doesn't look cluttered all for free because I'm too cheap to spend money on nice furniture. It's a battle.

Sylvia Louise said...

I have the things that I clean weekly and every-other-weekly. And then there's everything else. Pantry, back closet, windows, etc.
They're all in a state of dirtiness, and they get cleaned in slow moving cycles. Example: yesterday I washed the couch slipcover. FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE WE GOT IT. That thing was DANK. In about another four months its turn in the cycle will come around again and it will find its way into the washing machine. I suppose I should clean the shower curtain sometime, but really, who does that more than once a year (if you clean your shower curtain more often than that, then please consider that to be a rhetorical question)?

Kegan is messy. It's true. I think he likes being in the environment of cleanliness, but he himself is messy. Here's to hoping he already read your post and doesn't return to see what I wrote.

Just say that you're a clean person "at heart." Everybody's good stuff at heart. For example, I am both athletic and take good care of my hair. At heart.

Mariko said...

Kegan IS messy. Word.

Just ask him how mad he got at me about harassing him about tissues. Just ask. If you like prodding a bull with a hot and sharp iron.

Do you think our mother, the most diligent cleaner in the world, is so completely ashamed of us?

Mariko said...

Oh. And who washes the curtain?
I get a new one. Once a year.
But now that Da told me how toxic they are I will try to be better.

April said...

My dad has a binder that has a checklist in it. It is divided by tabs. What needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. He is a little OCD like that. But if he doesn't write it down , then it won't get done. I just write it down and check it off. Besides, I love the smell of clorox and clean sheets!

Patria said...

i'm always impressed when people have a system- monday's are bathroom day, tuesday's are laundry, etc. seems so simple to set something up like that- but we've never been able to do that- housekeeping is just very low on the time and energy, i love this post.

Smiths said...

Are you in my head? I HATE that I can take a few minutes and neglect the kids to simply sweep, yet in mere seconds, as if its planned payback, there will be some spill or drop of something and I am back to messy floors all over again.

I've decided to give into being comfortable with a B or C grade on cleanliness and keep my sanity for now. The kids will get older and I'll have a little more time to clean (or money for a housekeeper).

Tally Youngblood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ashley said...

ha ha i love this post.
i refuse to buy into the whole cleanliness is next to godliness thing.

Unknown said...

AT least you cleaned! I come home and I think...I should clean (insert room here) and then I sit down and veg after a long day at work. I also pretend that I'll clean (insert room here) on Saturday but then Saturday rolls around and (inserted room) has been untouched. I think the only time I clean is if people come over....Maybe I should have more people over and then my house will be clean! (but that usually consists of me throwing stuff in the closet and then I have to think about cleaning the closet...)
Great. Now I'm thinking about all the stuff I should be cleaning and organizing instead of blogging and reading blogs...bah.

Testing said...

My mom used to call me an "organized mess" cause she's an organized-organizer. But I have one of those systems like "HolladayPhoto" talked about- but I'm also a realist. If I can't do it on Monday, at least another Monday will come again. But the weeks I do it actually bring a lot more harmony to my family and myself.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Oh dangit! I just wrote the cleverest comment giving you all kinds of high fives and making all kinds of heelarious jokes about how your verifier said damplogi (of course your logis are damp, you live in Hawaii).

I loved this post. AMEN and AMEN! We are soul sistahs. But moving doesn't help. It's like pushing piles around. Only bigger piles. And heavier piles.

In your defense, grading takes a lot of time! A LOT! And so does teaching! And so does parenting.

And Hawaii is so stinkin' hot, you can't work for long before you're paralyzed and sweating profusely. And realistically how many showers can you take a day?

And cooking takes up hours and hours! I have recently taken up the hobby and it's almost as time consuming as writing.

So, you really don't have a diss order at all!