Thursday, December 2, 2010

The messiest room

Our bedroom is a mess.

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 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.

Or commiseration.

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.


  1. Well, I don't have time to explain in detail the status of MY room. But, I can 100% relate. It is also my dumping ground, and I wonder why I have trouble sleeping at night. It's the piles of bills, receipts, kid's projects, folded and unfolded laundry, tax info, books read, others to return STARING AT ME. A friend of mine over for dinner recently went up to see the status of the master bathroom I have been threatening to remodel for 3 years. She snuck up there, came down and said 'I see you haven't gotten to your bathroom yet'. YES, a)thanks for the reminder and b)how the hell did she even find the bathroom in that mess?

  2. Oh, Jenny. My whole house is a little bit cluttered. There are spots in my house that are extremely shameful--like my desk and the top of my dresser. My basement is downright unsafe in spots due to piled up crap. AND I ONLY HAVE TWO KIDS AND I'M HOME ALL DAY IN THIS MESS.

    Via Flylady, I know all these tips and tricks to get the house cleaned up, even including the kids (and Stuart LOVES to help). But I don't even have the energy to use them.

    So you are totally not alone in this.

  3. Where do I start? Perhaps with the only two rooms we have in this house? Follow that by a stack of boxes and K's toys in the living room that we've all been tripping over since switching rooms before A was born (November/December last year?). It is ridiculous to say the least. Anyway, I feel for you, including having an 'office' in the bedroom and not being able to find the desk.

    About the three birthdays. I CANNOT believe Bryson is almost 1. I was thinking about him today and how big he looks in some of the pics you've been posting.

    Love ya!

  4. Ummm should see MY bedroom. And my laundry room. They're downright shameful because I am the exact same way. Papers, bills, laundry, kids stuff, half unpacked luggage...all shoved into my bedroom which also houses my computer and doubles as my office. My laundry room has never not been underseige either. I don't think I've been caught up completely on laundry in the last three years or so. There are only so many hours in the day...and I don't have to go out to work. Between picking up kids, feeding them, changing bums, running them here and there and dealing with the everyday stuff, sometimes I'm lucky if I get the dishes done from the night before. The difference between you and I is that I am beyond trying to hide my mess when guests come over. It's just not possible I fret too but really I'd rather snuggle up with my girls in the evenings and watch tv or read together than ignore them to get the damn chores done. It's not easy...cut yourself some slack don't need to do everything all the time and if some things get neglected, too bad. It's life...and obviously there are lots of us dealing with the same Missing u lots...hope you take time to enjoy your Hannukkah (sorry for the obviously bad spelling of your holiday...) xo

  5. I too have the master bedroom that is hidden behind closed doors for anyone that is not immediate family living in the house. Only difference is the closet is full of clean clothes in garbage bags(long story) and the sides of bed each have pile of dirty clothes. Last month when I had 2 house guests at the same time one needed something at 7am- I was still in bed- they came in before I realized what was happening- it wasn't until after they had left that I realized that OMG they just saw the pit of my room, so it makes me feel better that maybe I'm not the only one with such issues.

    I once tried the flylady thing but I never got past the clean sink(first thing on the list) so it never did much for me. I keep telling myself that someday I will get the house under control- first the common areas, then the kids room, then my room- why is the grown up room always last;-)

  6. Sounds an awful lot like my room, and I'm not even a working mom! Just lazy I guess, and more focused on my blog and my book right now, which neither one are making any money for anyone just yet, and probably never will. Also, focused on kids. The minute they walk in the door, I try to shift from writing world to kid world (not an easy task). Today, they have some money and want to go Christmas shopping so I will go pick them up from school in a few and we'll go to the Dollar Tree (the only place they can afford).

  7. Yes, it's me, the one that used to live with you and place organized piles outside your bedroom door because I couldn't stand it spread around the apartment any more:-). Even I have succumbed to more clutter than I care to admit and I can't even say that it is hidden in my bedroom because most of it ends up piled on the bar section of the kitchen counter. I call it my "organized piles of chaos". Most of it is kid related. When I get to the point that I can't stand it anymore and clean it all up it is usually back to the same state within 24 hours. Not only will I not judge you for your messy room, it is one of the things that I love about you because it is so real.