Recently, we hosted a get together with family and a few friends. You know the kind where you are like, “Oh, it will be fun.” And then the week before you are like, “Wow, my house is a disaster.”
Don’t get me wrong, I clean my house constantly. But it’s the same clean of the same things — the normal stuff — dishes, vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, mopping. It isn’t until visitors are coming that I realize just how bad my house is.
First, there’s the “mail area.” Everyone must have one of these areas, right? You know the place where you put junk mail and kind-of-important stuff that you may want to look at later but never remember to? Ours is the microwave cart, which I walk past 50 times a day and ignore until people are coming over and I realize it all must go.
Kind of like the top of the fridge. I never look up there. It doesn’t even catch my eye. Ironically, once I know people are coming over, I see just how cluttered it is. There is so much stuff up there that just has no home — lightbulbs, thermometers, hidden candy, medicine, scissors, glue, paint — you know, all the keep-the-house-kid-friendly stuff.
And the window sill above my kitchen sink — how did that get so dusty? I do my dishes daily (OK, at least every other day), and I never noticed that window sill with all its filth.
And I don’t even want to talk about the bathroom. How does toothpaste get behind the toilet? Or on the door? Or on the floor vent? And what is that on the cupboard? Oh, my sinks and toilets have been cleaned many times but I guess I never look at my walls! Is that paint? Or crayon? Maybe it’s a partial stamp? Where did it come from and how long has it been there?
Speaking of walls, I have stickers everywhere. A couple of random ones in the living room, a few on the dining room wall and even some from last Halloween lining my staircase. The worst is when they get stuck on a mirror and do not get immediately removed. It never fails. The sticker will not peel off in its entirety. Instead, one little sliver at a time of the top piece of the sticker will come off leaving its sticky mark behind.
And my carpet — where did those stains come from? I have swept this room 9,000 times and never paid attention to them before! It actually crossed my mind that we should just pull the carpet — that day — you know, the day before we were having people over. Although I can be rather impulsive, I decided that was probably too big of a task to take on right then. Spot cleaning it was — and my kids are never eating or doing activities in the living room again.
Oh, the toy room, an endless area of pieces longing for a home, broken parts begging to be thrown away, and incomplete games that have been that way since the first time they were played. There’s Barbies, babies, ponies and super heroes. There’s all things with wheels, old baby toys, balls, dress up clothes, blocks and Legos. And all of these things are all over the floor. This full time working Mama just doesn’t have the time to keep this room organized, so I got smart and had my cousins, who crave organization, come over and purge. My girls were gone and never knew the difference. (Thanks, Smith girls!)
I’d like to say it was just the kid stuff that was cluttering our house, but once I started to go through our bedroom I quickly learned otherwise. We had bags and bags of donated clothes, purses, shoes and books. I even found the lock I used in high school — and still remembered the combination!
It was a much-needed cleanse, and I swear our house sits about two feet higher now. I mean we have been here for five years and who knew one family could stockpile so much stuff.
Although it was stressful and exhausting, after it was finished (or at least good enough to have people over) it actually felt really good. I still have more areas to hit (whew, that basement). But, I may finally have the motivation to get it done.
Maybe, having a get together was the best thing for me when it came to getting my house back in shape. That is, until all the people left and I had to clean — yet again.
Yeah, come to think of it, my cluttered house will be just fine as it is. You know, at least until the next get together.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.