Order In The House

I was more than a little dismayed, faithful readers, to discover that my parents (both of whom, you would think, know me fairly well) thought that the photo featured in the post below was a picture of MY HOUSE.

It's not.

It's a publicity photo from the TV show Hoarders, which I was discussing above and below said photo. Not my own house. My house doesn't look like that. Even when my parents aren't coming to visit.

Now, my house is not super-tidy in the way that, say, my mother's house is. This is not surprising. My parents are both tidy folk (Dad was trained in neatness by the Royal Navy) and they live alone. The only time their house gets messed up is when my children come to stay. This is a crucial point: I live with children. I do the best I can, but it's struggling against the tide.

Sometimes Michael says, just forget about the housework. Which is a lovely thought, but it's not possible. We have to eat, three or four times a day. We need clean clothes. I like to be able to walk through the house and see the floorboards. Don't get me wrong, I do as little as I can get away with. But I find I have to attain certain minimum requirements to preserve my mental equilibrium.

1) My bed must be made, and the floors in my bedroom must be clear.
2) The work area of the kitchen (ie the bench beside the stove) must be uncluttered.
3) I don't like piles of crap all over the floor. I like to be able, if necessary, to walk through the house with the lights off without tripping and breaking my neck.

Conversely, there are designated messy areas that can be heaped with junk and I won't bat an eyelid.

1) The kitchen table -- basically a dumping ground for school notices, homework, lunchboxes, readers, stray toys, pens, made and found objects.
2) I can't stand clothes or towels strewn all over the floor, but I don't mind them piled on the couch. Makes sense to me.
3) In general, I will prioritise "tidy" over "clean." Let the dust accumulate! As Quentin Crisp always said, after five years it doesn't get any worse. As long as the dusty piles are NEAT I will not care.

What is the one thing you need to be neat? What is the one mess you will happily ignore?


  1. I'm with you on a made bed. I can't stand looking at my rumpled bed after about 10am. It just seems rude. And I hate having to get up in the morning and wade through last night's dishes in order to deal with breakfast. I can handle the ocassional heap of toys etc, if there isn't an underlying layer of crumbs and stickiness.

  2. I am very much with Zedd here, and very much with you: I think that your house is always more than presentable. Don't most houses have designated dumping areas, e.g. bills on the table, clothes on a chair? How would we live otherwise?
    That's why I enjoy The Selby, because he photographs interiors as he finds them -- it can be rather cool to be untidy. ;)