My headstone won’t say “She kept a neat house”.

I’m sure most of my friends think I’m neat. And I suppose I am, compared to truly messy types. It helps that I am not a pack rat.

It’s just that I have a hard time with the simplest of tasks – putting something away when I’m done with it. When I do find the energy to have a crazy burst of neatening, I’m always awestruck by how little time it actually takes. These bursts usually coincide with the prospect of having family or friends to visit – having people over becomes a deadline, dramatic tension for getting things done. I’m sure I’m not alone.

I tell myself, and it’s probably true, not just a rationalization, that two people with full time jobs and creative projects can’t be expected to be as neat as a pin. In fact, there’s a wonderful air of possibility in our house when Jeff has his recording gear out, or I’ve covered all table surfaces with books and magazines – either researching an article, getting ideas for a house project or hell, just doing my homework. Don’t even get me started on what my desk looks like.

I used to feel bad about the state of my house and always resolved to get better at it. I think I still do, but I’m trying to let it go. “Neaten desk” has been an item on my to-do list for months. But I always find what I need, eventually. I do believe housework has its place and keeps life running smoothly. Over the years I’ve trying to fine-tune what, for me, actually needs to be done and how often.
To me, home is a place to rest, cook, eat, dream, laugh, cry, rant, try new things, revel in the familiar, scratch the cat’s chin, watch tv, read, warm up, cool down, chill out. And that’s the stuff I remember – not whether there was a toothpaste blob on the corner of the sink for a few days.

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