Living with my mom meant living with clutter. She couldn’t bear to part with anything even remotely sentimental and she was an incurable collector: china, antiques, pill boxes, books, sheet music…anything. It wasn’t so bad when I was a kid, but as I got older and her health started to decline the clutter really started to build up; she couldn’t clean and organize the way she once could. Every once and a while I’d go on a huge cleaning spree and throw out a bunch of crap only to have her get pissed off because I threw out a scrap of paper from the seventies.
Her house was packed from stem to stern with stuff. One could barely move around without knocking something off of the wall or sending a stack of books to topple to the floor. There were things jammed in every corner, piled under furniture, shoved in closets; her house was a claustrophobic’s nightmare. The house work itself made me physically ill just to think of the amount of work that lays ahead.
So I think living in that kind of environment is a huge part of the reason why I like my house to be clean. I remember being embarrassed by the state of our house when I was a teenager and I vowed to be better organized and keep things clean once I got my own house. I’m no neat freak, but my house, for the most part, is fairly tidy and organized…just don’t look inside the closets or check out the basement, okay?
Usually whenever we have people coming over for holidays and parties I go a bit berserk and clean like crazy, which is what hubby was expecting yesterday morning when we started getting ready for a family party. But you know what? I just wasn’t up for The Big Clean. I didn’t feel like it and to be honest, I didn’t care. Which is big for me, because usually I care. A lot.
The party was great. Over the course of the day there’s a few kids, a couple of teens and some adults here; the last guests trickled out at 6.30. The weather was perfect, the food was good, the cakes were amazing, Everyone had a good time. The remaining stragglers helped with clean-up and not once did I overhear anyone hissing, “God, you’d think she would have cleaned up a little before the party.”
So not only did I celebrate with friends and family, I also had an epiphany: screw the cleaning. People aren’t coming to hang out at Martha Stewart’s pad. They know I have a family who blows through this place like a tornado. They’re not expecting a spotless house. They’re coming to have fun and be comfortable, eat yummy barbecued food, drink a few beers and eat cake.
And from now on, I’ll try my best not to be too hard on myself.