Oscar Wilde once wrote – She tried to look picturesque, but only succeeded in being untidy
I am by my nature an untidy person. And to make matters worse the one thing I really hate in life – housework! I hate all of it – wash up, picking up, hovering, polishing, laundry absolutely everything.
I always have something better to do than housework! Of course I have history; before there was housework there was homework – I spent my school days avoiding homework I became very adept at writing lists of what I should study and spending hours creating very elaborate timetables of work – none of which ever got implemented.
I view housework like homework – to be avoided at all costs
This would not be a problem if I lived with other untidy people, we could all live in a harmonious mess. But I live with 1 tidy man and 2 very untidy boys who are actually worse than me – I hadn’t thought that was possible.
Now if I was happy for my messiness to be exposed to the world there would be no problem – people could just take me as they find me – I used to have a theory that it’s only going to get untidy if you tidy it but I’ve had to move beyond that
Unfortunately due to being educated in a convent I have mastered the art of guilt and shame that they so excellently infused into us all. “ AN UNTIDY DESK IS AN UNTIDY MIND”
So I can’t live with my own messiness and therefore I have devised a number of ways to ensure that I stay on top of the housework and it never gets out of control:
Golden rule number 1 – Never leave a room empty handed
There was a time in our house when the boys would drop clothes where ever they were removed so you could find jackets and coats anywhere in the hall. Shoes, in the sitting room, jumpers in the kitchen – you get the picture
And these would remain there until I did a big clean up at the end of the week – not anymore! Since I heard a tip on Today FM a couple of years back – I have brought that into our everyday routine – no one can leave any space in our house empty handed – its fantastic – works a treat. So when going from the sitting room to the kitchen of an evening, I’ll pick up the read newspaper on my way out of the sitting room and put it into the recycling bin in the kitchen. When leaving the kitchen I’ll be sure to take post upstairs to the office – it is so simple and it means that the place is always tidy – and once it’s tidy it’s easy to keep clean.
Golden rule number 2 – Make sure you invite people over at least once a week.
There was a time when, if we had invited people over, I’d have to go into a mad frenzy of tidying which could take several hours – during the course of this neat freak spree I would transform into a raging dragon with fire spitting out of me screaming and roaring at the boys WHY CAN T YOU ALL JUST PICK UP AFTER YOURSELVES !
After the hysteria the place would be pristine just seconds before the guests would arrive. Like a worldclass illusionist I would convert from a dragon to a perfect hostess welcoming the guests with a bubbly beautiful persona while my family were in the naughty corner afraid to move!
As you probably all know, once a place is clean and tidy it’s really easy to keep it that way as long a you stay on top of it. It used to be that once the visitors were gone then I’d go back to my old ways, but not any more – I suddenly copped on a few years back, that impending visitors are the key to motivate me into a domestic goddess. So I had the brainwave of ensuring that I have people invited over at least once a week, they think they’re coming over because we want to see them – they don’t get the ulterior motive – I just want a tidy house!!
Way back when I first had kids and really couldn’t keep on top of anything I used to fear the dreaded “unannounced visitors” – what a nightmare – they’d arrive and there I’d be horror struck that they would see the state of the place and I’d quickly usher them into the kitchen where at least I knew it would be presentable and distract them by shoving a baby on to their knee!
Which brings me to my third great trick:
Golden rule number 3 – Attractions are distractions – If things are beginning to look a bit shabby, you know, walls need painting, furniture looks the worse for wear, you can distract people by creating an attraction in the room –, a bouquet of flowers, or best of all candles – they hide a multitude of sins –– people are drawn to look at them and the rest of the room becomes a blur. once after a major spillage that couldn’t be repaired before visitors arrived I plonked a set of 4 candles in front of it and hey presto my featured candles became a talking point It also really adds to the ambiance and makes it very welcoming. Different coloured candles can change the look and feel of a room and scented ones can create a mood –
So I have been on a tidy journey now for several years – my house really thanks me for it and I find it far less stressful keeping it tidy now. I think the family like it better that way too. I just stick to my little formula – never leave a room empty handed, invite people over at least once a week and attractions are distractions. So feel free to drop in on me any time your passing by, there’ll always be a candle burning for you!