“Hello, my name is Stacey and I love cleaning my house!”
(The overcrowded room snorts and sputters, while tucking handfuls of receipts back into their wallets.)
When entering my junk pile I call home, anyone can see I don’t have a gift for the spotless. If it were just I, it would be a bit cleaner; but the people I chose to inhabit my house – husband and kids – don’t appreciate the need for order and I have a deep seeded aversion to picking up after people.
However, from the dining room table’s junk and the charitable contribution piles, to the continual remodeling job of the house, it’s clear the clutter is highly organized. I have an order to the chaos…so hands off the piles!
I must emphasize it is clean though. Not that I’m doing the cleaning, but the people who sanitize my surfaces are saints; and if push came to shove, I might choose the cleaners over some family members if forced to make that decision.
There is a fine line between organized clutter and hoarding. If you can still see the outline of all of your furniture, and your stacks and piles are neatly aligned, you too could be an organized clutter creature.
At the other hand, there are folks who thrive on cleanliness and order. Typically hypercleaners breed clutterful people – it must be from all the bleach fumes.
When growing up, I fondly remember my mother having a faint scent of bleach, Comet Cleanser and latex gloves. I actually love the smell of a freshly bleached home, but I must confess I don’t have a bottle of the wicked cleaner in my house.
My mother baby-sat my children the first three years of their lives while I was at work. During this time I never once cleaned my stovetop. In fact, sometimes I would intentionally leave it a mess to give her something to do while the girls napped. I’m nice that way. My gas range was black and chrome, so every bit of salt, crumbs and toddler fingerprints were magnified to the nth degree; but she could make it shine like the top of the Chrysler building.
The issue is while some children grow up in a spic and span environment, they tend to prefer a sterile home as an adult. Unfortunately, many aren’t capable or willing to put the same type of elbow grease into it as their hyperclean parent. This is a common scenario for many Organized Clutter Society members.
The time it comes to a frightening frenzy is when family or dinner guests are scheduled to arrive. Family members of the OCS member, sit quietly in the corner rocking and waiting for their next order to be barked at them.
As soon as I get done scrubbing the calcium stains off the water dispenser, I need one of you to shake the area rugs away from any sitting area in the backyard! Who’s it gonna be, troops?
I’ve been told more than once I am like a drill sergeant before Thanksgiving dinner. When I look like I am about to explode, the house abruptly gets quiet. They have learned the hard way that yelling or crying will occur within seconds, and it’s mostly me.
I’ve known other Organized Clutter Society members who are older than me, and have said the only way to heal from party angst is to get so old that you don’t care or convince your group to go out-to-eat on big holidays.
No cooking, no cleaning, no after mess … priceless!
I think my OCS treatment may be working. And in a few years, I see in my future a fancy restaurant with a standing reservation for the Hatton party of plenty.
(previously published in The Kansas City Star on July 7, 2016)