Saturday, January 22, 2011

No Martha Stewart

I'm no Martha Stewart, but I sure love browsing through her Living magazine and I catch her television show from time to time. In fact I love HGTV, Better Homes and Gardens, and those once-a-year organization publications that give tips on how to find a place for everything and keep everything in its place. In short, I need to be organized. I make lists, I color code school correcting folders and course syllabi, and over the years my kitchen calendar has helped the family stay on top of appointments and activities.

Yet, life gets busy and I get tired. And as much as I'd like to think otherwise, I am kinda messy. Wow. It took me about five minutes to write that last sentence; I wasn't sure I could bring myself to admit that. Despite the pride I had in reorganizing my walk-in closet last year, outside the closet door now sit two laundry baskets heaping with clothes that need to be put away. My bill drawer is overflowing with receipts, I have two tables at school with papers needing filing, and please, do not go into my cellar. Despite how orderly it was a few months ago with new bins labeled Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is simply an embarrassment now.

I wish I could turn to one area, however small in my home, and say "Well, at least that is organized". And although it would take me only five minutes perhaps to put my make-up away on top of my bureau or to clear off the end table that houses all those organizing magazines I haven't had a chance to sit and enjoy browsing through, the truth is, my house reflects a woman who tries her best to juggle a very full life.

There's something almost comforting however in looking at the clutter that abounds, especially upon my kitchen island. I snapped a picture of it the other day and took time later to examine the photo. In the middle of the picture there are remnants of Christmas, evidence that the holidays are over but that we haven't yet taken the final steps to put away the decorations. In the background there's a piece of music tacked up to the bulletin board, my cantoring assignment for Mass on Sunday, and some stray family photos we hung for Sydney's graduation party last June. There are the usual pens and pencils, and a couple of new flashlights in preparation of winter power outages. A cheese grater shows my attempt to help Noemi prepare an authentic Italian dish, and there's a new smoke detector my husband bought that will be put up this weekend. At the forefront of the picture is the usual collection of mail, paycheck stubs needing recording, AFS mailings, and a couple of new Netflix movies which will hopefully be viewed before the next month. There's a Yankee candle, a Sharpie marker for the kitchen calendar and oh yes, a bottle of Motrin. Despite the clutter, the mess isn't anything that I can't handle. If I have my usual help from my husband and children, we can get the house orderly and ready for company in an hour or two. My children grew up knowing that Saturday mornings I'd have music blaring on the stereo and that we'd all take time to pick up the week's disorganization as we sang and danced our way through the clutter.

I'm no Martha Stewart and truthfully, I don't think I'd like to have her over for lunch anytime soon, but anyone else is more than welcome...just give me a couple of hours and don't go into my cellar until Spring cleaning time.


  1. AMEN!

    THank you so much for writing this! I struggle with my inner perfectionism and do my best to not listen to the voices that tell me "just look at this house? what kind of woman keeps a house like this?" I do my best but often the clutter overtakes me. Right now I am looking at three full baskets of clean laundry, folded but need to be put away. There's a water bottle on the floor, buzz light year and about a dozen other toys on the floor in the living room. Don't even get me started on the kitchen counter. So again I say thank you and AMEN!

  2. I won't get started on what my home looks like. People often ask me how I find the time to do all I (try to) do. The honest answer is: by ignoring some areas of life to focus on others. Often that means turning a blind eye to the house. There are days when I fear the dog fur and toys and socks may overwhelm me, but thanks to Flylady, I know that perfectionism is the enemy and baby steps will take me where I need to go.