Late last year my husband volunteered our house for a New Year’s Eve party with our friends. Theoretically I was fine with the idea of hosting, but practically it was another story. Our house looked like a bomb site. And I’m not using hyperbole here, the house hadn’t had a proper clean in longer than I could remember. Things like dishes and dirty clothes were under control, but pretty much everything else was just lying around, irrespective of whether it had a home or not.
I agreed to host the gathering, with the proviso that he help me clean the house (practically) from top to bottom. It didn’t happen. To be fair, however, some of the rooms got cleaned – the ones that people were going to go into – and I just had to hope that no one needed anything out of a room with a firmly closed door.
For those of you who think I’m exaggerating, here’s a ‘before’ photograph of our meals room table:
And before you get too worried and think that there’s no way we’ll ever get that clean, here’s an ‘after’ of our dining room table (which, unfortunately, started in much the same state as the meals room one).
Of course, the end result is that our rumpus room looks like this:
The upshot of all this cleaning was originally to feel inadequate. I’m studying, yes, and working (part-time for someone else, and for myself when the work comes in), raising children part-time, sure, but so many other people manage to keep it together. I look around at all the mess and wonder how I manage to let it get that way.
And yet, after living in the clean(ish) house for a couple of days, I started to feel inspired. Going to stay with my in-laws (where I didn’t have to do a thing and their clean house) probably helped. So I’m declaring 2015 to be the year of de-cluttering.
I’ve certainly done it in the past, regularly donating things to op-shops, and we’ve had a few market stalls at trash n treasure markets where we’ve sold things, but this time I’m feeling ruthless. I think I’ve finally managed to disconnect the part of my brain that equates possessions with feelings of adequacy. I’ve never been able to feel good in my body (being overweight most of your love does that) and so I figure that if I can’t have the latest designer wardrobe, then I’ll have the latest gadgets, or the most expensive decor. Something like that.
So in the last few days I’ve started purging – things that I’ve had since I moved into this house (almost five years ago) and which have barely seen the light of day: gone. Toys the children haven’t touched because they can’t even find them underneath all their other toys: gone. I’m making a pledge to not buy any new clothes for myself this year (I think if I wore a different outfit every day until I ran out, I’d probably make it to about June). Anything for the house, I’m going to try to source second hand and it will only be things on a list of items I actually need.
Keep your fingers crossed for me, I think this year is going to be some journey!
How do you cope with mess at your house? Have you made a pledge this year?