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How To Keep The House Clean – Or Not

25 June 2013

Less than two weeks ago I had this glorious, life-changing epiphany about house-keeping that was going to lower my stress levels for eternity.

I told you about it. About identifying the one part of the house that has to be clean for you to feel sane, and concentrating on that. Start with that. End the day with that. Guard that.

For me, it’s the kitchen table. It centers me.

I still think it’s a great strategy. Dozens of people have told me – online and off – their “one thing,” and how it’s the same for them.

I still think it’s great advice. I just stink at it.


I turned around to grab something from the table the other day as I bustled past, and laughed at this. So I had to take a picture.

Ready? Left-to-right, that’s: 

  • Two rolls of paper towels and a bottle of natural maple syrup that were in a couple bags of groceries from my in-laws. I don’t know how everything got put away except the paper towels and the maple syrup.
  • A box of cereal that Husband was probably just snacking on. Pet peeve #17. You’d think if he was going to do it anyway, he’d at least cover his tracks and put the box away. I guess he’s not afraid of me after all.
  • An empty glass and coffee mug – The sink is less than ten feet away, but who has the time?
  • Olive oil that I had gotten out to rub into Meatball’s scalp before a bath because he has some cradle cap still and it drives me crazy. In my defense, you’re not thinking about getting the bottle back in the cabinet when you’re holding a mostly-naked baby that you’ve just doused in oil.
  • A pile of baby clothes I’m in the process of listing on an online consignment store that will be open July 1. (Stay tuned!)
  • Plate, butter knife, and plastic food container  – I have no memory of what these were used for, and that scares me.
  • Bible
  • The green bag was given to us by the hospital as we left six months ago with our new baby. (It has not been on the table for six months.) It’s insulated, for transporting breast milk, so when Husband needed something to pack lunches in for his new job – voila! I’m sure the other guys pouring concrete are super jealous of his cute green bag with the baby footprints on the side.
  • The candle, sugar dish, and stack of coasters actually belong in the middle of the table, thankyouverymuch.
  • Another plate and butter knife. (I swear we have other utensils.)
  • A green Franklin-Covey binder that used to organize my life before the iPhone was invented, and is now a very bulky checkbook. Don’t talk to me about digitizing my checkbook, okay, some things need pen and paper: checkbooks, reading notes, and spoken word pieces.
  • Husband’s hat, which becomes his mobile catch-all for keys, wallet, etc., which – I think – kind of defeats much of the purpose of a catch-all, but we’ll just leave it alone.
  • Piles of stickers, and a red card, and the big envelope they all came in, from one of Husband’s street-art friends on Instagram

So … you know … find that one thing about your house that just has to be clean for the rest of the house to make sense and … let it go to the dogs. Whatever.


crystalstine.meSo Crystal Stine hosts this cute link-up on Tuesdays whereby bloggers post the pretty, Pinterest-worthy pictures, but tell the story of the real mess behind the scenes. I creep it sometimes. My picture doesn’t really follow the rules, but I think we’re on the same page, so I’m throwing my hat in this week. Clicky and go check out some other great, honest writers!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. 25 June 2013 7:56 AM

    Oh my goodness I know this all too well. I have the same “spaces” {yeah there’s more than one I’ve made a rule/had an epiphany about & blogged about for accountability. Ouch.} that I walked by just yesterday and felt that little cringe…Thanks for being real and sharing a peek into your life. I love your blog!

    • Lex permalink
      25 June 2013 2:28 PM

      Thanks! Isn’t it funny how we hardly seem to have time for our own great ideas. 😉

  2. estheraspling permalink
    25 June 2013 8:56 AM

    I am completely guilty of demanding that everyone in the house put things away ASAP while I casually leave my trace all over the house! lol

    • Lex permalink
      25 June 2013 2:29 PM

      At least that way you’d only have to clean up after yourself. Makes perfect sense to me!

  3. 25 June 2013 10:22 AM

    So glad you linked up, friend! 🙂 My two places are the dining room table and the island counter in the kitchen. I still don’t know how they get so cluttered…but I couldn’t possibly be responsible for the mountains of stuff that magically appear on them each day. 😉

    • Lex permalink
      25 June 2013 2:29 PM

      Right? Tobin and Timothy are masters at cluttering things … by themselves.

  4. 25 June 2013 1:15 PM

    I don;t know tha I have one place but I have a list of things that need to be done for me be ‘Okay’. 1) the throw blankets put away 2) shoes not left in doorway 3) laundry room doors closed. It is amazing that with 2 parents and a grown daughter these little things would not be hard to do but they always seem to be undone. I hate to admit that sometimes I am at fault. So glad you linked up and shared today.

    • Lex permalink
      25 June 2013 2:31 PM

      I made a short list for Husband once – after he kept asking how he could help. “Hang up hoodies” and “put shoes away,” were boldly emblazoned on the chalkboard wall for months … before I finally erased them because it didn’t help. The simple things are so simple to ignore. 🙂

  5. angieryg permalink
    25 June 2013 1:24 PM

    I have snapped many photos like this and then quickly deleted them thinking to myself, I will keep the secret a little longer! Oh,I have my one “shiny spot,” but usually it is covered. 😉 S My kick in the pants was a book I was writing that made me get my life more simplified. But with a newborn? I know life is anything but simple! Just the fact that you knew where your camera/phone was and wrote about it. You are doing great! 🙂

    • Lex permalink
      25 June 2013 2:33 PM

      Wow – A book probably takes the accountability factor up by about a thousand. 🙂 You’re a brave woman!

      Thanks for the encouragement, though. Next time my table is cluttered, I’m going to look for my phone first and feel great if I can find it.

  6. 25 June 2013 1:52 PM

    You made me laugh out loud! I so love this! I have far too many “hot spots” in my house but occasionally I have a clean area and it makes me feel so righteous (in a good way). Great post! Thanks for being real.

    • Lex permalink
      25 June 2013 2:34 PM

      I totally know the feeling! I get that table cleaned off (I do sometimes, really) and it feels gooood. 🙂

  7. 26 June 2013 7:05 AM

    This is such a great post 🙂 It had me smiling on a morning when I’m finding it hard to do that 🙂 Thank you!

    • Lex permalink
      26 June 2013 9:18 AM

      Thanks. I’m so glad you’re smiling through whatever the difficulty is this morning. It’s usually down-hill from there. 🙂

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