Neat Freak

From The Comforts of Home, by Caroline Clifton-Mogg:

the joys of an orderly home

To live in the midst of disorder is disorientating, for nothing is more uncomfortable than a house where every chair is covered with old newspapers or toys, every table coated with the leftovers of the last meal, every bed unmade and every bathroom floor littered with unfolded, unhung towels.  So why is it that in some contemporary circles the word ‘order’ or ‘orderly’ is mocked for sounding out of date and old-fashioned?  Is it that their military and service connotations do not adequately convey the quiet pleasures of a home that is tidy, comfortable, friendly and warm?

A real home is a self-contained place where everything works for the benefit of the people who live there.  It isn’t just tidiness freaks who like to open a linen cupboard and see order–folded, stacked sheets and pillowcases instead of crumpled, billowing unidentifiable mounds.  And there are few people who do not like to see an orderly pantry, well-stocked with satisfying rows of jars and bottles, tins and packets; all promising delicious meals to come.

The easiest way to bring order into a home is to organize, and the first step in organization is to get rid of all surplus clutter.”

I stumbled across this book at the library last week, thinking I was simply getting a “house book” to flip through with my daughter the decorator.  (“Mommy, can we get a house book to look at?” is a question I hear regularly.)  I ended up reading it cover to cover….and I loved this bit, because I always feel like I should be slightly apologetic about keeping a “tidy” home.  The phrases “neat freak” and “obsessive-compulsive” are all the words that seem to come up when you talk about someone with a clean house; there are always negative thoughts toward the apparently crazed monster that insists on (gasp!) wiping down the kitchen table after a meal.  I loved to read her description of how a clean and orderly home acts as a blessing to everyone who lives there.

I suppose, if you’re dealing with a perfectionistic drill seargent who insists that the rest of the family “pull their weight” and do it up to his or her standards….I can see, then, why a clean house would have a negative connotation.  I don’t want my children to grow up thinking their attempts to help are never “good enough,” or my family to avoid coming home because their mother is incessantly cleaning, or my kids to not bring friends over because their mother doesn’t want anything “messed up.”  But I don’t see anything wrong with having a home that is welcoming and comfortably clean….

I really like the word “tidy.”  🙂


2 thoughts on “Neat Freak

  1. I am maybe just starting to see that my efforts to keep things “tidy” are a model to others around me. Difficult when my kids are ADD. But I’m rubbing off on my husband and parents now. Yes!

    • I’m trying to be a “model” and set an example, without being the monster mommy that DEMANDS my family . I’ve noticed it’s a lot easier to keep a clean house once you start getting rid of stuff! 🙂

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