When I was a kid, I saw a poster that said "A creative clutter is better than idle neatness." It pretty much summed up my attitude toward cleaning, and I quoted it to my mother from time to time when she'd comment on the state of my bedroom.
So it should come as no surprise that my home isn't immaculate. It's basically clean, over all, but housework isn't on the top of my list of priorities. The problem isn't really basic cleanliness. The problem is clutter.
Our regular clutter starts to drive me crazy when I've spent time in an uncluttered home. It's so peaceful to sit in a room where there isn't STUFF everywhere. I love going to visit my friends Pat and Janet, not just because they are wonderful women, but also because their homes are so ... inspiring. It makes me want to rush home and get stuff off of surfaces so I can sit and bask in the tidy calmness of it all.
So, now I'm back from a week in my aunt's very uncluttered home. She (like my mom -- her sister) were and are full-time housewives of the Donna Reed school. Keeping house WAS their job, and despite the retirement of their husbands, it still is. I remind myself that they no longer have kids living at home, with the resulting kid paraphanalia. They don't have dogs, and hence their kitchen floors aren't embellished with dog hair. They don't have other professional work, so they don't have to choose between tidying up the family room and seizing an hour to do a bit more legal research. They have hobbies but not (ahem) fabric-laden obsessions.
So I look around our house, feeling cranky and overwhelmed by all the papers and books and magazines and stuff everywhere. Somewhere, there has got to be a happy medium, yes? I feel a purge coming on...but I know myself well enough to know that it's so easy to waffle. That pile of Caroline's horse magazines? Perfect for Caroline's creative horse collages. Those books on the nightstand? I'll get rid of them as soon as I read them.... that pile over there? Warranty booklets for recent appliance purchases that have to be put away, notes with addresses that I need to add to my address book... photos to be added to the photo album drawer, Caroline's drawings for the "save forever" drawer...
Much of the stuff is there because it needs something done to it. So I'd best get DOing.
It makes me want to take a nap.