I'm not talking just some laundry on the floor, I'm talking a years worth of papers and receipts and kids outgrown clothes, borrowed stuff to return to friends, and unfinished belly cast, scrap-booking paraphernalia, casting of clay foot prints, employee benefit questionnaires, birthday cards, birthday card thank you lists (which in a few weeks will be for ALL THREE OF THEIR BIRTHDAYS!), bills, and crinkled up Mother's and Father's day crafts made with paper plates and tissue paper. A MESS.
I wish I could say it's because I haven't had time lately, but it's not. It's because I haven't had time EVER. Is that my fault, COULD I be cleaning rather than writing a blog or making our family holiday cards and labels? I don't know, but that's where the guilt comes from, I guess. Probably. It's always the last place to get any attention. It's the only place that is off limits to everyone else in the house, so all papers and other assorted stuff that I don't want anyone to see goes on my bed, just in time for a play date or party guest to arrive.
Then when it's time to get in my bed, I stack said crap on my desk or dresser, but then I work from home two days a week, and what with having 2 of my 3 children suffering from separation anxiety 90% of the time they spot me, I work on that desk rather than in the playroom/office, like I used to. So those papers need to get moved, to the floor or the nightstand or the top of the t.v., teetering like a last turn in the game of Jenga.
Then some of the laundry gets cleaned, but only on occasion does it get put away. Let's face it, I NEED for it to be clean to clothe us, but I don't NEED for it to be properly in it's drawers. It gets put into laundry baskets which line the foot of the bed, until I, or someone else in the house needs to use those laundry baskets for, you know, LAUNDRY. Then it gets put on the bed, but when it's time for me to get into bed, there it is, waiting to be put on the floor or on the dresser. Unless of course the dresser is covered in the papers from my clearing the downstairs counter-tops and tables when I decided that the madness which was 2 kids bringing home 1-5 crafts per day from school alongside the 7 million papers and crafting they do at home were taking over my kitchen, and we were having a birthday party and those ended on my bed, too! That's when it is really bad, when there are papers MIXED with clean laundry and the Jenga game continues on the dresser too. Lots of Jenga games teetering around my room, so that in my exhaustion I can't fall asleep due to the anxiety of which pile will lose first.
Then there are the times when dirty laundry starts to get piled on to clean laundry in the basket. And you know something must have been clean in there once upon a time, because you see remnants of a folded rather than turned inside out buckeye shirt deep in the basket. When that happens, do you ever just wash the whole basket and start over? Yeah, me neither.
I'm exhausted just describing the process by which my room (and office, heh) has become the dumping grounds of the house...so before you asked me why I don't put the laundry and papers away rather than shuffling them from one room to another, I will tell you. I'm tired. DOG TIRED.
I just don't know how to keep up, especially in a room that is just for me, that doesn't affect anyone else in the house (except my husband who cares that the rest of the house is in order, but thinks his room doesn't matter). I simply can't.
And don't give me any of that BS about touching a piece of paper only once. Shit doesn't work for a full time working mom of 3 young kids. Those kids need stuff, you know, and they need it immediately. I can see it now, 'Just a minute honey, mommy got the mail and I can't give you a napkin until after I put away this notice from the school about family movie night, you know the rules....' Dude, if you live in a world where you have the luxury to handle each piece of paper the first time you touch it, great, more power to you. But. I. Do. Not.
This was brought to my attention in a shear panic on Tuesday when I got a call on my cell from my friend who also has three small children and an IMMACULATE home. Never a THING out of place.
"Hi, Jenny, this is your clutter-free friend I'm at your house right now to pick up my Discovery Toys I ordered, where are they?"WHERE ARE THEY? Nightmare! They were in my room, of course but WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT GO IN THERE!!!! Julia did, and it was fine. She's seen it before as our room is at the top of the stairs and sometimes I don't get the door shut quickly enough when I slip in or out of the crack opened just wide enough for my body to shimmy through. No offense, clutter-free friend, I admire all you do, but your cleanliness and organization make me feel a little inadequate at times. And you certainly will never EVER be allowed in my room. Amen.
I need some practical advice.
Tell me about something in your house you are ashamed of the way it gets after long periods of necessary abandon. What's your "messiest room?" When was the last time you were given the gift of knowing exactly what you needed to do to make your friend feel better?! Do it. It feels freeing to admit it to the world wide web.