I’m not OCD but there has to be a certain level of tidiness in the house or I start to lose it. As I write this, I can hear my new washing machine whirring the background (along with musicals soundtrack playlist I’m playing as I have the house to myself) – we have a new washing machine because I had a minor meltdown last weekend. Since the new kitchen floor was done, the washing machine was not plumbed in properly because it was too old and rubbish so the new drawers containing things like bleach, cleaning fluids – y’know things you want out of the way – were in the front room and every time I washed something the mixing bowl would have to be placed beneath the waste pipe. This has been like this for just over a month. I banged my head on the cupboard and shouted that I wasn’t having this s*$% any more, slammed a door and then felt like an idiot.
So all of a sudden my kitchen is complete.
But once a week or so I prowl round the house like some kind of Canute, trying to arrest the rising tide of ‘stuff’ that accumulates in a tiny house that contains a toddler, and two people who work all day and don’t want to do loads of housework in the evenings. It’s not the big things that get me, it’s the small. The things picked up by little hands and discarded when she moves on. This is what I cleared up this week:
- Four hair clips, a butterfly clip and two hair bands
- A garlic clove
- Four pens
- Three beaded bracelets
- Two pads of post it notes
- Two boxes of tissues
- A knitting magazine
- Remains of a page of Gruffalo stickers
- The last four page letter from the Child Tax Credit people
- Three old lightbulbs ready to go to work for lightbulb recycling bins
- The clasp from a broken necklace
- A pin
- A cardigan and a pair of socks, discarded as E’s inner temperature soars
- A gluing spreader and a paintbrush
- A bank statement for the website I co-run
- A paper dog with an extendable belly, a paper flamingo/ giraffe to dangle, a string of paper dolls, and two paper diggers with stand up feet
- A wind up caterpillar
Pretty standard stuff. And already the house looks like I haven’t bothered. Yet if I didn’t bother, after a month you’d have to send someone in to dig us out.
The mental health benefits to shifting this stuff are massive though. I can sit and write easily, I can relax, I can go to work in a hurry in the morning knowing I don’t need my handbag for my tram and work passes.
Now, to train the rest of the household to do this more often…