Q: Why is My House Messy?

{Image: Spectacles}

A: Because I just don’t want to deal with it.

Actually, while I do need to pick somethings up and put others away, my house isn’t in terrible shape today, despite my recent focus on writing over cleaning.

However, just as I was about to head out the door to buy more toilet paper and toothpaste (oh, the joys of our daily mundane existence), I looked down at the mail piling up on our makeshift landing strip in the hall and had a moment of unexpected pondering. (Sometimes the brain comes up with some brilliant ideas after downtime.) In this case, I realized my mail was still there because I just didn’t want to deal with it yet. I know. Brilliant, right? I’m a genius AND a psychologist.

The same thing is true of the dishes in my sink, or the muddy paw prints on the tile near the back door, or the pile of books and publisher’s catalogs and writer’s magazines on my dining room table, or the laundry in my room that needs to be folded.

Hmmm. Interesting. And how does that make you feel?

So basically, I have better or more interesting things to do, and those chores that I really don’t like just don’t get done right away and tend to occasionally pile up. (Those  chores, by the way, are washing dishes/putting them in the cupboard, folding clothes/putting them in the dresser, sorting papers and putting them in a file cabinet.) I know I need to get to it, I just don’t want to deal with it … NOW.

Ahhhhh. I see. Tell me more.

Yeah, I know. This isn’t exactly breaking news. It is, however, the first time I realized that on the whole I’m doing much better. It’s really only three or four chores that I have to work on improving. Yay! So, maybe if I come up with a workable system, or have more places to put things, or figure out a filing system that works for me … I’ll have clean counters and tables! Oh, to have horizontal surfaces be tidy 90% of the time. (I mean, let’s face it: occasionally you just need to make a mess. For instance, Christmas cookie baking and decorating time. Or birthdays. I don’t care who you are. You shouldn’t have to clean on your birthday. Just sayin’.)

Upon closer consideration, outside of pure laziness, the reason I probably don’t feel like “dealing with it” more often is because those tasks literally pile up on a daily basis and if they are ignored for a couple of days, it can seem overwhelming to tackle them.

What actionable steps will you take to address this problem?

Well … maybe I just need to find a better system so I don’t become overwhelmed. I know my junk mail pile has been conquered for good, since I automatically tear up flyers and throw them out without a glance. (Sorry, advertisers of the greater Nashville area.) It used to overwhelm me, too, before I had my little tear-and-toss method down pat. Maybe if I have an automatic response like that, but for folding and putting away my shirts and jeans, for instance, I’ll do better in my weak spots as well!

Here’s hoping.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Q: Why is My House Messy?

  1. Susan Underwood

    Andrea,
    I remember reading some kind of mom/home organization book when I was a young mother. The author stated that if your mirrors were dirty and/or your surfaces cluttered it meant that you weren’t using your time wisely. It made me feel very defeated as a mom of a houseful of kids and chronically cluttered surfaces–not dirty, just cluttered (don’t think the mirrors were really an issue, though??). I like your gentle approach much better 🙂

    • Agreed! There’s only so many hours in a day. Having a tidy home is important, but not more important than loving and caring for your kids, especially when you homeschool.

      I myself prefer to be a lazy cleaner. I want to live in a relaxed and functional environment, but I’m working on finding ways to get there easier. 😉

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