Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner
judith

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Addicted to clean?

Today I am cleaning my house from one end to the other, literally. I started at my bathroom, which is at the far end, moved into my bedroom, then the hall, then the second bathroom. Next will be the guest bedroom, office, living, dining, kitchen.

I was given a reprieve, frankly. I had what might be the best situation. I had months to sort through my stuff, to give away, sell, throw away, and store. Then my whole moth- and other-animal-eaten house was hauled away in the condition I left it, which was not pretty.

I was able to move into a brand-new, bright shiny clean house with everything working, no leaks, no sloping floors, no threadbare urine-soaked carpet, no water-damaged roof and walls, no holes anywhere. Everything so very new.

I have to admit that it was rather like getting a new car. I wanted everything to stay perfect, like new. So I gradually brought in stuff, leaving the rest in storage. Eventually I was able to get the remainder of my stuff into my own little storage building in back and my house was fully functional. There are still boxes in the office and somewhat hidden in my bedroom. I do need to get to those. The office is also not a room I can point to with pride, because the desk is piled high with a motley disorganized assortment of papers and other items.

Overall the house is still clean and everything still works. I have backed off "perfect" to accept "good" in some sense. Everything is not squeaky clean all the time. Not even part of the time, really. But it's clean most of the time, a bit messy the rest, never impossible to clean, which is was before.

I have developed a love of surfaces that have no dust on them. Especially in the bathrooms. When I see a little layer of grit starting to accumulate it makes me a bit sad. Not always sad enough to do anything about it, because I know Aimee will get to it soon enough. Aimee being my once-a-month house cleaner. Today, though, I did rather reach a level of discomfort and I decided to take it room by room. I go into one room, give it a nice once-over, then go to the couch to read. A chapter later I arise again and attack the next room. This way it takes a while but it makes me happy. Especially the sinks and counters in the bathrooms. I like to touch them, feel their smoothness.

I have also gotten quite comfortable with having a mess. My mother used to say she liked to see the difference. She didn't like the house to look the same all the time. Unfortunately for her and for us we let it go way too far so there was not getting it back in one day. In fact, when we moved out of our house in town it took us days to clean the guck off the kitchen floor.

I find I rather subscribe to her concept now, even though I have tried to become that other person, the one whose house is always ready for company. I am okay with the dishevelment, knowing I can bring it back. And so it is that I look on this cluttered dining table, I go into the kitchen where odds and ends sit in the sink and on the counter, and I sit and read in a living room where the coffee table is a bit on the messy side. It's okay. I think it's a compromise I can live with and it makes me less stressed. I know it won't conquer me.
Tags: cleaning, house
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