What is THAT doing THERE?

My journey of acceptance that I am a slob.

I grew up in a do-not-touch house. It had a museum feel to it. It was the kind of house that was always immaculate – even minutes after a huge party ended. Josh thought an impulsive need to keep the house spotless must be a genetic trait and was surprised to find out that I am a slob.

Let me repeat that: I am a slob. Not the dirty kind whose home you are afraid might have things living in it besides the immediate family. I’m the breed that can’t be bothered with keeping every little thing in its place. In fact, few things in my house actually have a designated space which admittedly makes it hard to find things. For example I recently wanted to tape something to the wall and could not find my scotch tape. Would you believe this is where it was:

It was here for at least 4 days before I found it.

It was here for at least 4 days before I found it.

I used to have clean house envy. I’d walk into another person’s home and quickly note how much neater, cleaner, shinier, and better organized it was. I’d wistfully wonder if I’d ever become an adult and do things like have fresh flowers in every room like Becky,  learn how to fold sheets so they stack neatly in the linen closet like Erica, and keep all my kids toys in organized, labeled bins like Rachel. I’d imagine the time when overnight visitors would be welcomed with petite soaps in the bathroom and chocolate on each pillow like Kiersten does.

Instead I walk around my house thinking “what is THAT doing THERE?” Another recent example:

That looks like a proper spot for a coffee maker.

That looks like a proper spot for a coffee maker.

Behind this properly place coffee maker something was hiding:

A bottle of cleaner! That clearly does NOT belong there! It stayed there until Deb politely asked where it was then raised her eyebrow at me when I quickly retrieved it from such an odd location.

A bottle of cleaner! That clearly does NOT belong there! It stayed there until Deb politely asked where it was then raised her eyebrow at me when I quickly retrieved it from such an odd location.

When I try really, really hard I can make my kitchen picture worthy:

Iit takes a professional photo shoot to motivate me to this level of neatness and organization.

Iit takes a professional photo shoot to motivate me to this level of neatness and organization.

But on a normal day (read: just hours later) it explodes into something more like this:

In just a glance I count 9 things that don’t belong here!

In just a glance I count 9 things that don’t belong here!

I’ve come to accept messiness as a feature of being an adult. It’s a conscious choice I’ve made because there are a lot of things that are a hell of a lot more fun than cleaning.  I’d rather be  (in no particular order): spending time with Josh, Marlee, and Lila Pearl, knitting, reading, blogging, facebooking, tweeting, shopping, exploring, exercising, eating, learning, and plotting how to prevent my cats from stealing my yarn stash…

When my house is immaculate it’s usually because I’m bored, having a short-lived-moment of germaphobia, or someone I don’t know well is on their way to visit. There’s also that brief period of time when I have a baby who just learn to scooch or crawl and spends all her time with her hands and feet on the floor.

That’s a way to know our level of friendship: if you come over with advanced warning and my house is in a state of shock we’re really good friends. If it’s spotless we are either acquaintances or I’m having one of those moments listed above.  [For more information on the friendship hierarchy read my blog  One is Silver, One is Gold] Warning to my acquaintances: open closet doors and cabinets at your own risk as everything that was on the floor before your visit is now crammed into any enclosed space.

I know I’m not alone when I think that every other person’s house is neater than mine. Who is often embarrassed when someone unexpectedly comes to visit and discovers my messy ways.  I’m not the only one that sometimes gets confused and thinks my time would be better spent keeping my house tidy.

Tell me your story. Rate your house on a scale of 1-5.

1 = My house is so clean you could lick any part of it and be confident it’s germ-free.

2 = My house is only messy after a party, play date, or other activity that involves many people in my space.

3 = I can live with it and you probably could too.

4 = The average person would notice the mess and recognize it as equal to how their own house looks.

5 = I am having way too much fun to worry about a few stacks of paper and shoes strewn about.

On most days I am a 5 on this scale. How about you?

P.S. Find out how I came to terms with socks on the floor in my essay that was recently published in “Celebrating 365 Days of Gratitude”.

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11 thoughts on “What is THAT doing THERE?

  1. Sadie says:

    If your house is a 5, mine is probably an 8! But I do know where stuff is. My motto is F** cleaning, there’s too much fun to be had! : )

    • jillshaul says:

      I’m still on the journey to just say f*** it, I want to have fun but I am getting closer! I usually know where our stuff is, it’s just not in a logical place. For example, the cookie cutters were in a drawer all by themselves instead of with all of the other baking goods. ‘Cause that makes sense.

  2. Alana says:

    I could have written this blog. Are you sure you can’t actually see my house from where you are? I am probably a 6. Worse than just out having fun instead of cleaning. In fact, it’s more like trying to keep my head above water being in charge of myself and three little ones (who are the source of most of the mess on a daily basis.) I sometimes liken myself to the man who walks behind the elephants and cleans up their messes. I am also a friend of “she with the labeled toy bins.”

  3. Janelle says:

    What a great read! You are talented, Jill!

  4. Rhonda Raider says:

    Enjoyed this, Jill! When I had small children, I’d run around frantically picking up stuff before visitors came with the goal of making it look like I just hadn’t had a chance to tidy up. A couple of decades later, I have much more square footage (and no little kids)–and the house looks positively neat! But really, it’s the same number of out-of-place things spread over a larger area.

  5. […] Some work was unexpected.  Like inviting the e-board to my house and pretending I am Martha Stewart. Based on my performance people might think that I regularly have fresh, homemade banana bread, water with mint and lemon, a full pot of coffee and a spotless house (on Monday at 9am no less). But we all know that is far from what really goes on around here. […]

  6. […] clean house. Ok, a clean house was never going to happen around here. Let’s go with “any sort of organization […]

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