Thursday, September 17, 2009

Domestic Bliss...or How to At Least Fake it Once in a While

Neatnik Nancy?

Never, ever me. I've always been a proud Messy Megan (just ask my mom!) With kids, though, I'm learning that it gets gross quickly, so there isn't really an option to be a slob if you want to avoid moldy food in the kitchen or crunchy t-shirts under the bed.

There are days that I'm amazed at the amount of chaos our tiny little house can produce. I'm almost certain that when P and I go to sleep (turn our backs, bend over to pick up the baby, use the bathroom, tie our shoe), angry little pygmies sneak into our apartment and trash the place.

I think ALPs (angry little pygmies) leave coffee rings on our counters, deposit six mis-matched Boy Wonder socks in different rooms in the house, hang spit-up rags from the backs of couches, dump the cute little baskets I use to stow toys upended on the floor, they overfill our trash so pieces are constantly falling into the dog's dish. Nasty little pygmies. Let's not get started on what they do with paper products...I swear goats come through once a day and chew up mail and leave it on the computer desk for us.

Most of the time, we deal with it as we go, the best we can. But sometimes, I manage to blow a gasket and freak out...spending an hour in "psycho mode" doing the most random acts of cleaning that don't do much to put a dent in the mess, but make me feel better. (Perfect example: I'll spend an hour reorganizing the pots and pans cabinet. There's still a four-foot tall dirty clothes-and-legos beast creeping out of Boy Wonder's room, but at least we can open a cabinet door without a landslide of lids and strainers. So there.)

Luckily, Real Simple recently broke down how to fake a clean house. Obviously really cleaning the house is always a better option, but if people are on their way over and you're looking at a messy place, (or if your blood pressure is rising, your sense of humor is disappearing and you just want to fool yourselves for an evening) desperate measures are taken.

Among my favorite suggestions are:

• Reserve one side of sofa cushions to be shown to guests. Before company arrives, flip over the cushions to reveal good-as-new fabric. When guests are gone, flip them back.

• When the dishwasher is full and the sink is overflowing, stow dirty dishes and silverware in a stockpot and pull them out later to be cleaned.

• Glide a sticky lint roller over the bath mat to pick up hair.

• Rid the sofa of pet hair by wetting the fingertips of rubber gloves and gliding your hand over the sofa. The hair will stick to the rubber.

• Temporarily hide wayward Post-it notes and to-do lists underneath the keyboard.

Some to add:

• Wrangle all papers, magazines, clippings and to do lists that are sitting on the dining room table and stick them anywhere, especially their own bag/drawer/cabinet. Promise yourself you will deal with them later.

• Pull out half the jackets/sweaters/coats/bags from the landing strip (the first thing people see when they come in) and dump them in a closet. Also promise yourself that these will be dealt with soon.

• Leave and walk back through the front door, deal with the first mess people would see.

• Shine the faucets with a damp washcloth, if the faucets are clean, the whole bathroom looks


Burn it. The whole damn place. Start over, and this time, with less stuff. Just sayin'...

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