Most people have skeletons in their closets. My closets are full of dirty laundry. Not dirty laundry as in juicy family secrets. No. literally, piles of dirty laundry.
It happened again yesterday. The phone rang and some friend-type person wanted to “drop by” for a visit. That simple gesture created a frenzy of cleaning that resulted in me using a snow shovel to clear the living room. At this point in time, I have three “emergency hide it” closets whose layers look much like an archaeological dig of visits past. To find my pink fuzzy slippers, I had to excavate down to the “2002 surprise visit from Aunt Gretchen who was passing through town on her way to the airport” layer.
Every time it happens, I swear, it is the last time I will be caught off guard. I promise to turn over a new leaf and keep the house so pristine that even the Pope could drop by at any time and not get his white robe covered with cat hair. But it never happens. I get distracted by the important things in life – eating cookies, watching TV and Googling for celebrity gossip.
As a Virgo, I am supposed to be obsessed with cleanliness….and I guess in a certain way I am. I love a clean house but, after much analysis done one afternoon when I was supposed to be cleaning, I now see that there are barriers in my way. If any of the following situations exist, they create the perfect storm that can very quickly take my house from neat to nasty.
Barriers that prevent me from keeping my house clean
A dishwasher that is either full of clean or dirty dishes. Either way, this situation does not allow me to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, thus they pile up in the sink. And, if they pile up in the sink, it prevents me from running the dishwasher which starts its own vicious cycle.
Fruit. I often buy fruit with the fantasy of actually eating it. Eventually, the fruit decomposes in the bowl and attracts a colony of flies and wine makers.
Pets. I love ‘em, but they are furry. And most of that fur is on the floor, couch and walls of my house. Once I spent 15 minutes grooming the cat only to realize it was a dust bunny.
Laundry. This is perhaps the biggest barrier to cleaning that I have. It has its own sub-list.
A missing laundry basket. Without this feature, clothes seem to enjoy frolicking in their natural habitat….the floor.
A chair to hang gently worn clothes. Some clothes by their nature can be worn again. If they don’t have a chair to hang on, they end up on the floor. This then makes them dirty, mainly because my cats will have slept on them. Now they need to be washed. This means more laundry.
Clean laundry that needs to be hung, folded or otherwise dealt with. Clean laundry usually ends up on the bed when it comes out of the dryer. At the end of the night, when I need to use the bed, the pile of clean clothes gets moved onto the floor with the promise that I will hang them tomorrow. That promise is never fulfilled and pretty soon the clean clothes start mingling with the dirty clothes and I can’t tell which is which. This then means I need to rewash it just to be sure.
The lack of a maid. If I had a maid, my house would be cleaner.
Empty diet coke bottles and cans. I drink a lot of diet coke. I once put a days worth of empty cans out in the alley for the can guys to take and one guy said it looked like I must have had a great party. Sadly, they were all mine. Now I can only put out a few at a time so I don’t get a lecture on diet coke dependency from the can guys.
Napping. I am genetically predisposed to napping. If I had to choose between cleaning the bathroom and napping, napping would win. You can’t fight your heritage.
Guests. While guests coming over cause me stress, I think I don’t have enough guests over on a regular basis. If I lived in the White House, I suspect I would be motivated to keep the house clean if George Clooney and members of the UN were dropping by daily. I would clean for George Clooney.
So, if you are dropping by, please give me at least 24 hours notice and promise not to open any closet doors. There is no guarantee you will be able to shut them again.