Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How Clean is Your House?

I’m not asking this philosophically or metaphysically I am asking this literally….

Don’t know about you but I long to live in a clean, organized and minimalistic space. It’s nice to have goals and 99% of the time this one that is beyond my grasp. I actually don’t mind the cleaning so much, there is something calming in the polishing table tops and creating a gleaming expanse on floors and counters. It’s the picking up all the clutter around my house that’s the pill I’m choking on. Found amongst a simple stone statue or Italian hand painted bowl, each meant to stand serenely alone, are items I sell on Etsy that are in various stages of production.

These items create a disruption in clean house zen. All of these things wouldn’t be so cluttersome (is that word?) if the other areas of my house were clutter free. However, just at my kitchen counter I still have the china stacked up (luckily clean) and ready to go back to the basement from the luncheon over a week ago, plastic bottles are lined up (and I use the term “lined up” loosely) to be saved for the eco friendly drip irrigation system I have planned for the garden. Then there is the Costco mega sized dishwashing liquid container I bought this thinking I could decant it slowly for the next year into my previous normal sized bottle. Apparently the dish soap manufacturer I purchased from last knew my plans and is laughing at my grimaced efforts to unscrew the white plastic lid. I also have the used tea bags that I plan to ecologically and stragetically place in my garden to add nutrients to the soil … unfortunately I could go on and on…

To be frank, I did down size to this house by about 50% in order to get a garden and declare independence from a home owner associations run by vigilanty dilatants…and that is an entirely different subject. With this little house I just don’t know where to put everything. I am sad to say I am a compulsive saver and purger at the same time. I go through spells where everything I am not habitually using has to go, or the phase I am in right now; “I think I should really hang onto this as I may find a use for it someday” (note the plastic bottle brigade). What reinforces the compulsive saving is the memory of that one item, an art fair clock from the early 90’s comes to mind, that I purged a few years ago. I do miss that clock…

So the question is, how do the minimalists of the world really do it? Are they simply not multi-taskers? Do they do only one thing at a time and successfully put away all evidence of the completed project before beginning a new one? Or do they not do projects and simply support our local economy by purchasing their irrigation systems? Do they hire professional cleaners? Or do they spend their free time cleaning instead of creating or dreaming? Which are you, a successful minimalist, compulsive cleaner, hopeless collector, wistful want-a-be …?

To clean I have tried the method of just spend 10-15 minutes a day picking up and cleaning. I fear this method has only been successful when starting with a clean house. All it takes is one art show or new project to push me off the clean house wagon and I am then lost in clutter for months. I am currently trying the “just start with one corner and work your way through your home” method…the success of this is yet to be determined. I know I need help to find a way out of this clutter jungle. However help does not seem to be coming soon. Each evening I come home from my day job and ask my cat which room she has cleaned…I’m still waiting for an answer….


Anonymous said...

Hi Liane, it's me, Susan, and I loved this post. There are a few people I know here in LA who seem to have very tidy homes. The first one is a woman who admits she cleans and picks up constantly. She never allows anything to accumulate. I do not believe she has any "projects" in her life, though. No crafts, gardening, etc. But she seems to have a rich life and her place looks fabulous. Another woman has allergies and asthma, and therefore does not have any plants, rugs or curtains. Her house is white and minimal to the extreme, so very little to actually clean up or tidy. The 3rd spends a lot of time at home, again, brute-force picking up most of the time so everything is put away. I've come to the conclusion in my own home that constant diligence and work is the only way to keep it up. Only one day off on the weekend and it goes to pot seemingly overnight. xo - susan

PrairieGarden-Liane said...

Sue A!!
Sorry, you will always be Sue A to me...well, it looks like option 3 is my only option ....don't know if I'm up for it however :-) And history reflects that I'm not... sigh!