As I sorted through my overflowing washing basket this afternoon (which I have put off for three days – funny how it keeps getting bigger…), trying to decide what was most “urgent” to wash, I realised that I’ve never been a very organised person when it comes to “clean and tidy” things.

Take, for example, that last sentence.

It is my conclusion that I’ve inherited this from my Mother.

(Don’t worry, she would agree with me on this. One story stands out – Her expression half-incredulous, half-pained, Mum recalled a time when I was younger and I came into her bedroom to see her changing the sheets. I innocently asked, “Is someone sick, Mummy?” It was then that she felt the sting of guilt that she mustn’t be changing the sheets nearly enough if I thought it only happened when someone was sick. As a teenager and young woman, she has impressed upon me many times the importance of changing your sheets regularly. Sadly, I think I’ve picked up her habit rather than her recent exhortations.)

My Mum has been a great model to me of many things (patience, joy, compassion, generosity), but I don’t think organisation is one of them.

Although, that’s not an entirely fair comment. Mum organised the house almost neurotically if we were having guests over. There was always a frenzy in the house to get the toilets cleaned, mop the floor, vacuum the main living areas (and your bedroom while you’re at it), put on the nice table cloth, get out the good salt and pepper shakers, hang out the washing, get as many clothes as possible out of sight in the laundry, clean the bird-cage, etc. Funnily enough, I think I’ve taken on this attitude a bit too. I mean, I only have a small bedroom at the moment, but it gets quite messy. So if someone is coming to visit, I have a bit of a “cleaning burst”. I’ll rush around putting away the clean clothes on the back of my chair, put away the stray papers on my desk, get everything off the floor, make the bed (no, I don’t normally do that *cringe*) and put away any books left out.

Other bad cleaning habits:

– My test of when it’s time to vacuum is when I’m scared to drop an item of clothing on the carpet because it will need washing.

– My desk is a magnet for all kinds of paperwork. I think I tell myself that I’m only putting it there for a few minutes, but it only takes about 3 days before the piles are ridiculous.

– I procrastinate unpacking from trips for the longest possible time. Today when I did my washing, I discovered some items that have been “waiting” since a camping trip about a month ago.

Before you render me an unredeemable slob, I will offer this defence – I am quite a clean person. I have good hygiene and I don’t let things get “dirty”. My problem is with mess.

Last week I had the pleasure of my Mum staying over the night. While she was here she vacuumed my floor, changed my sheets and helped me put clothes away.

It is a humbling thing to have your mother clean your room at 19 years old.

That is all.

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