Tuesday, February 19, 2008


For a long time now I’ve held the theory that if I keep my house clean then all other aspects of my life will fall into place. If my house is clean then I’ll have time for creativity; time to write, time to finish that story I’ve been working on, time for photography, time for knitting. If my house is clean then I’ll have time to learn the piano or Spanish or both. If my house is clean then I’ll have time to exercise. If my house is clean then I’ll be happy, fulfilled and rich beyond my wildest dreams (or something along those lines). But, I’ve never had the opportunity to prove this theory. My house is never clean. At least not all at once. When the kitchen is clean the bedroom is dirty. If I tackle the living room then kid’s rooms get out of control. And, really, what do I expect? I live with three kids, three dogs, two cats, two tanks of fish and a husband. My house will never be clean.

And there’s another component to cleaning. The more you clean the more cleaning there is to do. It’s something akin to Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. If you do the dishes you’ll notice the window sill is dirty. You’ll get some Pledge to clean the sill. While cleaning the sill you’ll decide to clean all the window sill’s in your house. You’ll start in the living room. Walking to the living room you’ll bump into a basket of laundry. You’ll remember you are out of towels and need to wash some. You go to the bedroom for dirty towels. In the bedroom you notice the carpet is filthy. You decide to vacuum. While vacuuming you notice the floorboards are dusty. You go to the laundry room for Pledge. While in the laundry room you remember you need to wash a load of towels ... etc, etc.

So, what to do? Why not marry chores and artistic desire? Housework and creativity are, after all, are not mutually exclusive. I’ve pledged (ha, ha, get it? pledge?) to write daily. And I like to have my own photographs accompanying my blog. But, in order to take these photographs, I need a space to shoot. Therefore I must clean. Today’s photograph is the perfect example (inspiration by the way from the lovely Maya at Springtree Road). It was shot on the butcher block in the kitchen which was, until recently, covered in junk; mail, recycling and dirty dishes. I cleaned off the butcher block and took my photos. While downloading them onto the computer I decided I might as well get a load of dishes done. I put on some music and tackled the the rest of the kitchen; all the while thinking about what to write today. And now, my kitchen is clean, photos taken and blog complete.

But wait. I’m not finished. There’s a photo I want to take for Shutter Sisters - an image inspired by a favorite song. I chose Tank Park Salute by Billy Bragg. I need to put a light on at the top of the stairs and photograph it. Only, first, I need to clean the stairs...


Deeapaulitan said...


I can empathise! Wonderful post.

maya said...

Ah! What a coincidence - we checked out several Laura Numeroff books at the library today. And my place is always half clean too. It never ends. I usually give up every day right about the time Oprah comes on.

Lovely post.

Rachael and Jess said...

I understand that feeling and mechanism very well. There is always a list of about 73 different things that I ought to be doing at any given moment. I can only really get to a few each day, so the rest fall off the back burner until I can get around to it. I've heard it called going through life 'but first'. "I'm going to take some photos, but first I need to clean the counter, but first, I need to do the dishes so the dishes have a place to go, but first I need to empty the dishwasher, but first I need to .... I guess you've already found the solution, which is to just do what you are trying to get done and let the rest of the stuff fall into place as it may.

Mandaroo said...

Great post, made me smile & laugh, only because I can soo relate. I'm an eclectic cleaner as well. With the kids home all day (we homeschool) it will never be clean all at the same time or for very long!