When I look around my house and see clear surfaces and evidence of things in the places that they belong, I feel happy. I’m not a clean freak, I’m not anal about organisation, I just like to feel organised. It gives me a clear head and I feel that I can get on with stuff. When stuff is in a mess, I feel like my head is in a mess. Maybe I am a bit anal about it, actually, because I do seek the feeling and the reward of clear-headed, organised happiness. When I look into my kitchen and see that the work surface on one side is clear, I smile and I feel good. When the dining table is clean and clear at the end of the evening and the living room has been tidied so that all of the toys are in the right places, I have the cue I need to tell me that my evening can begin. And if it should happen to be a hot day, and I can put a load of washing into the machine in the morning, and have it hung, dried and away in the drawers and wardrobes by evening, I have a moment of sheer contentment. Sad but true.
I walked into the bedroom that my two oldest daughters share this evening, to find them lying on their beds reading. One curtain was still wide open even though it was dark, and as I closed it, I could see a pile of crap and rubbish that they’d ‘tidied’ behind their dolls house and cuddly toys. The part of my brain that seeks clear-headed, organised loveliness, was very, very displeased. I pulled out a bunch of toys, bits, rubbish and misplaced items and threw them into the middle of the floor. I looked underneath the big shelves at the end of their bed and saw more and threw that into the pile, and then spent the next twenty minutes barking, growling and pointing, telling them off and telling them what to put where.
They are actually pretty good at tidying up after themselves, and even tidy up the baby’s books and toys at the end of the day. Once things were a bit tidier and my clear-head was able to function again, I realized that actually, their room just needs a jolly good sort out. It’s that time again. I have a deep desire to fill bags up with stuff for the bin, stuff for the charity shop, and stuff to go into storage for when the baby is big enough to use it. Nothing in my house will be absolutely safe for the next few days. This mood causes me to survey everything we own with a cold, calculating eye as I work out exactly what belongings we could definitely do without; and it’s a lot of them. Or at least it used to be. I have done this process so many times now that nearly everything that could go has gone. This makes it less satisfying as I like to have the release of carrying cart-horse loads of unwanted stuff out of the door of my house. Removing just a few small carrier bags of bits and pieces doesn’t do it for me in the same way. I want the charity shop to groan under the weight of the former treasures that I’m bestowing. I want all the stuff to be gone. I want all the surfaces to be clear. I want to be able to hoover without having to move a skip load of stuff to do it.
So watch out household items. You’d better make yourself look pretty or useful and preferably both for the next week or so, or you’ll be out of here, quick smart. The anti-hoarder has decreed that it shall be so.