Well, I think that the impossible has occurred. I am almost afraid to confess, lest I jinx it. But here is the miraculous truth: I am becoming a neat freak.
I know. Shocking.
Okay, maybe by the standards of some, I am not exactly a neat freak. I’m reasonably sure that my home will never be considered for a feature in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. As much as I admire Martha Stewart, I will never learn how to fold the perfect fitted sheet. (In fact, I pretty much just crumple those into a ball and hide them behind the pretty stacks of flat sheets). But compared with my old habits, which would have earned me a C- in Housekeeping School, my new habits may actually be worth a B+.
Now here’s the weird thing – I am even beginning to enjoy keeping our home clean and organized. Yes, I said enjoy. Almost as much as I have always enjoyed the other domestic arts, like baking, sewing, and decorating. I guess it shouldn’t come as such a surprise. After all, it has always been important to me that my family lives in – not just a house – but a home. A cozy, well-decorated, nice-smelling, and yes, clean home.
And so, these are some of the rules by which my children and I now live, in order to keep our home as pleasant and homey as possible:
1. If you make the mess, accidentally or not, you clean it up.
2. Dishes are done every night, with few exceptions.
3. Fold and put away your laundry while it is still warm from the dryer.
4. Vaccum often. 3X per week minimum.
5. Keep bathrooms sparkling clean and sanitary
6. Clean pet cages at least once per week.
7. Help each other. We all live in our home together, so we must all work together to keep it nice.
8. Remember – everything has its place. If we can’t make a place, then something must be thrown out in order to make a place.
9. When in doubt, throw it out.
10. Stay organized. It is easier to find what you need when there is less clutter.
The result? Ooh, look – clean dishes whenever we want. Matching socks, too! And wow, we can walk around the house without tripping over books and toys. Even better, our home feels comfortable and relaxing, and it isn’t embarrassing to invite guests inside.
I don’t know how long this neat freak phase will last, but I hope it is for many years. I also hope that it rubs off on my children – especially the part about enjoying cleaning the house. Time will tell. And now, I am off to wash the remaining dishes before snuggling into my neat, cozy well-made, B+ bed.