Friday, May 21, 2010


Is it just me or does everyone think that their house is not clean enough?

I hate housekeeping. I really do. So I avoid it. So my house probably isn't clean enough, but even when I feel that I really clean, I sit down only to look over and see dust on some surface that I missed.

Part of it is not maintaining. Part of it is living in an old house where there are uneven surfaces and cracks and crevices where dust can hide. I have white stairs--well, they were white when I moved in. Even getting down on my hands and knees with a bucket doesn't seem to make a difference. Part of it is having a dog and a cat and the slow detritus of hair and skin that makes up dust--but other people have children AND a dog and a cat and seem to keep up.

Part of it is simply having too much stuff--too many books, too many figurines with tiny nooks and crannies. I can't dust them all every week, let alone take the books out and dust behind them, so the dust remains and contaminates my clean house.

My therapist says that it is the worry that does me in. The comparisons with imaginary Joneses that are more worrisome than a little (or a lot) of dust. That some very horrible and unhappy people live in pristine houses while some very happy people live in dusty chaos.

Don't get me wrong, I'm relatively tidy and organized. I can find almost anything I'm looking for within a few minutes, from old photos to tea lights. In terms of tidy I could have a tidy house for people coming over in less than an hour with my husband's help (as the untidy is mostly his)--except for our shared desk which is an overrun melting pot of scraps of paper, notepads and electronic cables.

But clean? Not really.

I think part of the fear comes with the desire not to be my mother. My mother is one object away from being on that show about Hoarders. How she would hate my publishing that here. Throwing things away is painful to her. I'm a collector, but I can throw away with impunity. I may have clothes from when I was thirteen, but only because they still fit and are in decent shape. If they don't fit and I can't alter or remake them they're gone. Shoes, which I am very hard on due to clumsiness and foot rolling, are gone after a season no matter how much I loved them. But I do remake things and keep things that might be useful--am I in danger?

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