What Flat Surfaces are Really For

I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour conducted by Clever Girls Collective on behalf of Claritin®. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program.


Flat surfaces look so pretty in furniture   stores.

Accent tables.



I see them, and only see the positive possibilities.

I see beautifully arranged photos.  I see candles and tastefully placed sentimental items.

But I forget one feature that sabotages these visions as soon as I bring the item into my house.

It’s flat.

And no flat surface is safe in the home of a slob.

The other side to this problem (a side rarely noticeable to human eyes other than a mother-in-law’s) . . . is dust.

I am allergic to dust. I was only given the much-coveted (and now obsolete) job of chalkboard-eraser-banging one time.  After my eyes swelled shut and my ragged breathing disturbed the rest of the class . . . the teacher took me off that list.

Being a slob and allergic to dust . . . puts me in a bit of a difficult spot.  When things pile up (see how I say it like it’s the things’ fault?), I can’t see the pretty stuff underneath the pile.  And I can’t see the dust.

But my allergic-and-paranoid brain knows it’s there.  And my dust-allergy becomes one more excuse in a long line of excuses for not tackling a tough spot.

In my deslobification process, I’ve learned that this clutter/cleaning thing is a big cycle.

Let the clutter pile up . . . it’s harder to clean.

When it’s harder to clean . . . I put it off longer.

The longer I put it off . . . the more excuses I have because now it’s crazy-dusty and I need to wear a dust mask and who knows where I put the dust mask . . . and . . . and . . .

And . . .

Thankfully, the circle can also work in my favor.

If I put effort into creating a beautiful space, one that makes my heart smile every time I pass by, I’m less likely to absent-mindedly place one thing on it, and then another, and another . . . until it’s an ugly space.

When I see the beauty, I also see the dust. It is obvious because it doesn’t belong there.  (Obvious in a way that scissors and two-holidays-ago-party-favors somehow are not.)  And I’m ever-so-much more likely to grab my duster when I only have to go from ”Hmmm” to ”Wow!” instead of from “How-do-I-let-it-get-this-bad-what-is-the-point-of-even-trying?!” . . . to “Wow!”


For tips on making your home and garden more beautiful, functional and allergy-friendly visit www.Facebook.com/Claritin. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.


  1. I live with the same challenges! On my flat surfaces it’s books… and dust, and on my husband’s flat surfaces it’s all the small random things he carries in his pockets and can’t bear to part with…and dust. I had allergy shots for dust my entire childhood and I want to claw my swollen eyes out on a regular basis. Nice to know I’m not alone! :)
    PS I don’t know if Method cleaning products are available where you are, but they make the best smelling all-surface wipes ever.

  2. I have the same problem with anything flat, one reason why the dh got a flat screen tv to stop me from stacking stuff on top of his tv space. Now if I could only find the top of the dresser at home.

  3. I am a huge fan of cloths. Tablecloths and quilts to cover flat surfaces. Just toss ‘em in the wash every few months to clean (and they don’t show the dust!! ha~ha) Then, all I need to do is swipe the knick-knacks every few weeks when the mood strikes. But it is the FLAT surfaces that show dust more than the knick-knacks.

    (It’s not laziness—it is EFFICIENCY! I would rather be crafting, or reading a book.)

    • I TOTALLY agree that when you have a method, even if it’s not what someone else would do, it’s definitely called efficiency!

  4. Karrisa says:

    “How-do-I-let-it-get-this-bad-what-is-the-point-of-even-trying?!” Oh if only I had I dollar for everytime I thought that one to myself! In fact, I’m thinking it right now as I look around my house. Thanks for your continued inspiration! It’s nice to know there is still hope for us slobs!

  5. I still love your blog now as much as I did when I first found it. I would love to eliminate a lot of the flat surfaces in our home b/c they seem to be clutter magnets. You do encourage me with the knowlege that there is hope for me. Have a blesed week!!

  6. I felt overwhelmed just reading this, especially by the ‘ . . . and . . . and . . .
    And . . .’
    maybe that’s because today I am dealing with dust, on my jewellery | nick-nack | costume accessories | hair stuff | box collection | junk | how did that get there? spot, and I’m not even going to mention allergies because I will need to get back to dusting in a minute. But maybe it’s because this house dust is a big huge problem like I have never encountered in any other house before ever. So much so that we have slowly replaced as many shelves as we can with shelves with doors (umm cupboards I suppose, but often with glass doors etc.) because I can’t even have books on a normal bookshelf unless I want them an inch thick with dust so my bookshelves have doors. And no I’m not exaggerating. Today I have just removed a shelf I cleaned off completely maybe 1 or 2 years ago and it was MORE then an inch thick with dust. It only had large boxed items on it because I had learnt about the dust problem previously and deliberately only put that kind of stuff back up there. Every item and the shelf had to be taken outside and swept off because even using a vacuum (which is wherever DH put it last time the car was cleaned as we don’t have carpets anymore – because carpets are gross) would have disturbed too much dust. I must go and finish the job and then wash my hair and scrub – yuk.
    Maybe as I catch up on your blog there will be some great ideas for getting dust out of jewellery and storing it so it’s accessible and visible and will fit on a 2 and half inch wide shelf but won’t get dusty.

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