I have no big life-changing advice for this post, but the concept of surface cleaning has been jiggling around in my brain for several days now.
Last week, at a moms group meeting (a small, five person one), I stepped out of my comfort zone and told real-life people about my blog.
BIG step for me.
So, naturally, the subject turned to housekeeping. Out of the five women there, four said they majorly struggle with keeping their homes in order. Only one is someone whose house is always clean. And she’s one of those Neaties who is kind and helpful, and understands that not everyone is like her.
It was a relief that I felt understanding and acceptance after sharing my big secret.
As we talked, someone (a struggler), said something like, “I can DEEP clean” and the Neatie said, “Oh, I only surface clean!”
And so the phrase “surface clean” has stayed with me.
And I’ve realized that I don’t know exactly what it means.
I think it has something to do with how my mother can come to my house, not throw anything away, or even put anything away, but somehow . . . she makes everything look better. Neater.
So, I’m trying an experiment. I’m allowing myself to just straighten. Not purge, not declutter, not completely re-organize.
I really have no idea if this is what she was talking about, but I figure it’s worth a thought.
This morning, I straightened the always-overflowing-and-messy-and-irritating corner in my kitchen.
Here’s the before:
I forced my self to just straighten. Not remove anything. Just rearrange and try to make it look better.
After a few seconds and some “NO, just straighten!” self-talk, it looked like this:
Simple, but also difficult. It was difficult not to turn this into a project. To just say, “I’m going to make this look a little better. I’m simply turning this from a corner-with-a-big-pile-of-stuff-in-it . . . into a corner-with-lots-of-stuff.”
Is this beyond confusing?
See, I tend to give up before I start. I honestly don’t see the point in doing what I did here. Why even bother doing anything if I don’t have the time to commit to going through each and every item, determining whether it should be there or not?
But then my home ends up with so many of those un-straightened piles that I can’t figure out where to begin.
While it still doesn’t look good, it does look better.
And once it was straightened, I found it much easier to identify the things that weren’t supposed to be there. In a few additional seconds, I had moved the can-opener, the sandwich baggies, the paper plates, etc. and it looked like this:
I have nothing profound to say. I have no guidance to give. I’m just trying to figure out how other people keep their junky corners looking decent, but mine end up as piles of anonymous items.