Cleanliness next to what now?


A FRIDGE magnet illuminated a thought I’ve long held: The mind is a terrible thing to waste on housework.


I not so long ago swept, mopped, scrubbed, laundered, dusted and sorted my way through a pile of chores that I only get around to once in a blue moon.

I’m talking about those maniacal bouts of cleaning when you beat down hard-to-reach cobwebs and scrub stubborn stains away.

Alright, perhaps cleaning dog hair off the walls ought to be a more regular occurence in our house, but I maintain that if it’s not at eye level, then it can’t be an eye-sore.

So it was very depressing to crawl into bed the other night, exhausted from a day at work and seeing black filth once again accumulating on the ceiling fan.

It never ends.

Then there’s that pile of paper that always appears next to the telephone. I swear, everyday I sort through and dump stuff from that pile. But the very next day, as sure I’m sitting here, the pile is back to its former size.

A colleague confessed she too possessed one of those endless piles of paperwork. The bills, brochures, cards, bills, old newspapers and bills that seem to have a life of their own.

She wasn’t keen to publicly dissect her pile of crap but since I have no shame, I was happy to oblige.

Any house-pride I might own has really gone to the dogs, you just have to look at my front lawn.

When your yard has dead (but paradoxically still long) grass and your two dogs have trampled any semblance of garden bed into the rock-hard earth, you can pretty much forget about keeping up with the Jones’.

Here’s a breakdown of my morning (pre-water restrictions). I go to turn on the hose, two dogs swarm suspiciously near, ready to attack the stream of hose-water.

After hissing at them in my it’s-early-morning-and-I-mustn’t-wake-the-neighbours voice, I move the sprinkler to a decided location only to find the lawn is so hard that I must instead use an old umbrella stand and a brick to sit the spike-sprinkler in.

Despite it’s cumbersome appearance, I’m quite proud of my unique sprinkler system. It makes me feel like Macgyver.

Anyway, most mornings I can be found saturated, yelling at the dogs (the quiet hissing only gets me so far) and manoeuvring lawn furniture to hold down a wily sprinkler.

Such a peaceful start to the day.

Inside, I like to think our house is tidy.

Maybe not clean and certainly not spotless, but tidy at the least.

There aren’t clothes, dishes and food lying around.

But balls of fluff and dog hair do roll down the hallway like tumbleweeds.

This isn’t because I don’t sweep. I do.

Ask anyone with polished floorboards and they’ll tell you just how difficult it is to keep them entirely dust-free.

Perhaps my biggest cleaning faux-pas is that I am a pathological hoarder.

I have kept macaroni necklaces my niece made me when she started preschool. She’s 16 now. And I have every diary and journal I’m kept since I was 13.

It can make a tidy house kind of difficult to attain. The cupboards where one would normally stuff all their crap is already full with other crap. And I’m not about to throw away all those things.

After all, if housework is a waste of brainpower, sifting through assorted memorabilia is sure to kick the grey matter into overdrive.

And just imagine the damage I can do when my various neices and nephews turn 21.




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. EcoGirl
    Aug 14, 2009 @ 23:51:28

    That was hilarious! i think in some way we all hate to clean ( even self proclaimed clean freaks). You must keep house well because i have to constantly throw things away to keep the house clutter free and clean. I always feel bad though at the end of the school year when i am tossing some of the kids school work in the recycle bin. I always imagined having a big house with a big attic that the kids can go into one day when they have kids and pull out boxes of their old stuff.


    • petajo
      Aug 17, 2009 @ 06:15:28

      I think American television shows with family homes boasting giant attics and basements have a lot to answer for! We’ve just had a new baby – and the toys, clothing, etc, etc is growing wildly out of control! My husband is much more aggressive than I – stipulating exactly what we DON’T want. Me? I’ll hoarde just about anything!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: