Monday, January 14, 2013

Bohemian Splendour

I went to visit a friend for a playdate last week, it was the first time we had been to her house, and I was so gobsmacked the orderly, spotless rooms/surfaces etc.

I came home with the kids and looked around my kitchen and thought - what the freak? We live in a state of semi-ordered chaos, I think the official style is called 'layers of detritus piled onto horizontal surfaces'. It's not glamorous, it's not for everyone, but it appears to be for us.

Why do I care that some of you have made friends with cleaning and organising? Why is it not a priority for me? What am I teaching my kids with this approach? Can I continue to blame it/attribute it to being sooooo creative that I must have mess? Certainly my studio is a mess, I know that Sam's is too, but I seem to know where everything is despite the chaos.

I often read that a tidy home means a person has nothing else to do, but this can't always be true. I have also heard of a doormat which reads 'My house was clean last week, sorry you missed it'.

There must be some creative-genius types who have clinical calm in their abode or even their studio. I am interested in the psychology behind all this, in fact I have been thinking about it all week. I have spent most of today running around cleaning up and trying to find places for things, and although I feel virtuous for having done this I do feel that it is temporary - as I am tidying one room the kids are in another room doing their best to play with everything at once.

Part of me wants to be a clean Mum/person in general, but another part thinks - why do I have to be the one cleaning, aren't the rest of you (my family) capable of putting your shiz away? I'm trying to think of what major activity I do instead of cleaning, so that I can illustrate how far ahead and proficient I am at one thing in particular, but sadly I fear that I must spend my days wafting about doing a scrap of this and that. Jill of all trades master of none.

Perhaps the domestic stuff is relevant to my situation at the moment, work from home with young kids around. I am always aware of the mess but for whatever reason put it at the bottom of the things-to-do list.

I'm not going to ask you for handy cleaning and organising tips because that stuff seems pretty obvious to me. If I want it to be clean then I'll make it a priority.  The lady of the spotless house said that her in-laws were coming over the next day and so she wanted to have a clean house for their visit. I responded by saying that I seem to have conditioned my family to both expect and accept the mess, I'm not going to make a rod for my back and set standards I have no interest in maintaining. If you come to my house you'll have to be prepared for our bohemian splendour!

Clean peeps look away -here is our kitchen table and bench on a particularly busy afternoon.


14 comments:

pen said...

snap!
(and there are no kids here for me to blame!)

Emma said...

Testify Pene! Good to know we're in the same frame of mind x

Kitty said...

Plenty of bohemian splendour here too!
We have friends that are the neat freak type. Everytime I go there, I want to scream "Where the F#*K is all your shit!" Ha ha.
Compared to them I look like one of those hoarders that they'd feature on some bad current affair program. (So not as bad as one of those peeps though)
Tidiness isn't a priority for me. There's too much other stuff to be doing.

Emma said...

Well said Kitty! I'm glad I have people around me who get my style x

Ramona said...

Oh dude forgedaboutit -some people are just not built that way!Splendour indeed.

Emma said...

Yay Ramona - I've found my people!

Janie said...

Thank you, Em! You have VERY succinctly hit the nail on the head here for me too! Except that I still try to pretend that I am super neat when we have visitors coming, cleaning like crazy the day before, and of, the visit. THEN I find myself apologising for the state of the house as they come in the door, knowing full well that it looks the best that it has in weeks!!! I hate the pressure I put on myself. Somehow Sal got the clean gene, being super busy with the three girls and yet having an immaculate house that she makes look effortless (although I know she works her bum off daily to keep it looking great). Sigh! So I continue striving for acceptance of myself and some kind of calmness despite my domestic chaos. Knowing that others are in the same boat helps, thanks me darlin'! And, thankfully, I have seen worse than both yours and mine!!! :-)

Emma said...

Janie, so good to hear your view, and how bizarre that you and Sal are so different!

Steve said...

Hey em! I'm gonna chime in from the 'cleaner' side of things with an inside scoop - its exhausting over here.
I think I have a few borderline OCD issues that I manage to keep just in check, one if which entails me feeling physically compelled to neaten, straighten, arrange and stack anything "loose" into a calming arrangement. 9 times out of 10 it's instinctive (like when I line up the salt and pepper shakers at a restaurant table) but its pretty tiring. I'd love to embrace the mess but it seems tied to my productivity and somehow I feel more able to work when things are clean. So, from the other side, most of us aren't judging, in fact we'd probably love to just eat a sticky old icy pole and read the paper without that being a chest tightening ordeal! Right now it's kind of a negative thing as im trying to get SO MUCH work done that having to stop to tidy up once a day just makes it all take longer :(
Embrace the mess and the freedom it brings!!!

Carly said...

I LOVE this blog post! especially funny after I texted you this morning worrying about my own house before your visit. I hear ya - I feel completely the same!

Emma said...

Words of wisdom right there, I hear you about straightening things when out and about, you should see me when I visit retail stores! I really think my kids have a lot to do with the chaos, especially Hazel, today she pulled all the books off the shelves - handy!

Emma said...

I knew you would love it! Great to see you three today xxx

ejorpin said...

Hello! I just found your blog after clicking over from a comment you left on Beci's, hazzuh! I think maybe our house would fall in the neat and orderly side of things...

My husband is a total neat freak - he grew up in a messy, absolute chaos type of house; loads of siblings and stray cats and fungus in the shower - which I think has now given him a real appreciation for nice things. Although I roll my eyes when he politely requests I tidy up my craft room/office I do kind of like it for two big reasons: 1) It means he does a LOT of the housework and he's teaching his kids to keep their spaces tidy too (not in an OCD way, just in a once-a-week 'let's all clean up' way and in a 'let's take responsibility for the mess we make' way), so I never feel like I'm bearing the burden of it at all; and 2) It means all our nice stuff looks nice - we have 'clutter' but it's clutter that's filled with memories and reflects our tastes and looks kinda good.

In my office/craft area I do like being surrounded by pretty things and scraps of paper and all that, but I also need a sense of order otherwise I don't sleep at night and I'm not as productive. But I know lots of people (my sister and mother to name two!) who work in a much messier environment and seem to thrive on it. So maybe I am just not a creative genius like they are?!!! Interesting...

Emma said...

Hi Emily, thanks for your take on clean vs splendid chaos, and I hope that you're still enjoying your Owl Keyring from a few years back x