Monday, October 4, 2010

Mess Monday

Don't worry, this is not replacing Multitude Monday.

After my little Friday night reality check, where I realized that, yes, cleaning actually is work, not just some kind of system, my friend Mat. Anna did something very sweet.  She actually posted photos of messes around her home (which I must say seem pretty mild to me) just for little old me!  The post has generated quite a few comments!

In her defense, in case you think she or I are posting these things because we want to keep our houses this way instead of being motivated by blog photos of clean rooms, it was posted on a Saturday morning before half her family was up and before she had begun to tackle any of it.

What was so helpful about it for me was that it shows a slice of real life, not a perfected, cleaned room.

Sure, the beautiful rooms are inspiring.  But they can also make me want to go the other direction.

Many afternoons, my thought process goes something like this as I click around the internet:

Click.  My furniture doesn't look like that!  Click.  My curtains don't match that well!  Click.  I don't even have curtains in that room.  Click.  I don't have any white plates on my wall!  Click.  How can I possibly do a load of laundry or pick up the toys in the living room when my home is such an a priori failure?  (I then proceed to sit at the computer for another hour or two until it is way past time to start making dinner.)

I realize that I quoted this once before (and this will probably not be the last time!), but at Like Mother, Like Daughter, Laila instructs the following:
You need to clear your mind of all those perfect magazine pictures and find your own order.
Here, then, is what I propose: Mess Monday.  I will pick one mess in my house that is driving me batty on Monday mornings (trust me, picking one is in itself accomplishing something because I am acknowledging that I cannot clean a whole messy, or cluttered, house in one go) and I will post photos.  When the mess is dealt with, I will post the (I hope) beautiful, clean, inspiring photos of my own order.

Will you join me?  Call it accountability if you'd like.  Call it goal-setting.  Call it real living in our homes.  Whatever.  Leave a comment below and a link to your post if you do something similar!

(And I apologize for the quality of these photos—my camera was charging and these are from my little flip phone—not that anyone needs to see those piles in any more detail!)


  1. You made me laugh! It really CAN be discouraging rather than otherwise sometimes to see picture after picture of "the perfect (house/ room/ table/ windowdressing/ garden/ etc.)" when you are fully immersed in real life. It's wonderful to have inspiration and I do enjoy looking at someone else's creativity and artistic arrangements, but sometimes it's all I can do to keep up with the basic things needed to run the house. You CAN do this in a balanced way, but it's really, really easy to just give up instead and do less than you would have if you'd never seen the pictures.

    So, great idea! I'm not sure I can do a linky today (since I just did it the other day) but I'll try to remember to do this next Monday!

  2. Your Saturday post definitely counts for today's. :) And I'd love to see some follow-ups of a cleaned space or two. (If that happens at a time when a camera is accessible, etc.—no pressure!) Thanks for joining me!

  3. Lovely. Those piles look pretty well, normal to me... the challenge I have in my life right now is that I am in job-seeking interviewing time and have to prioritize that above, well, laundry, per say... but it is so good to be kind and realistic with what we can do... helps us stay peaceful to realize what we can do! :)

  4. I can relate to the part that mentions that cleaning is work not a system. For some reason, I have had it in my head that I wouldn't have to clean if I could just find the perfect system. Well, that's just silly! When I started likening cleaning my room to cleaning at Flatbreads, cleaning got way easier.

    Plus, organizing isn't having the "perfect" place for everything. It just containing the mess in various bags and drawers so that you can still find everything when you're done.

  5. Ellie, I had the same revelation about cleaning when I was working at Starbucks! We mopped the floor every close there. Well, I could at least sweep my kitchen every night when I "closed" the kitchen!

    And you're right about containing! A container for like items (or at least things where you can find them, but IN some kind of container) is the key.

    See days 2 - 4 at

  6. You know, there's such a thing as a good mess. This is something I've had to learn. I'd call what you posted above a good mess b/c it looks like it is there for a reason (sorting/organising clothing). I can't participate on Mess Mondays because it's too tempting for me to make unhealthy comparisons. I like the idea of showing a mess and then the cleaned area though, so I'll enjoy following along. Here's what I wrote on the subject:

  7. I think you're right, Jodie Anna. And actually, the above mess is one of my better messes. I'm sure I'll post worse messes along the way. The problem with that one is that it has been building since the middle of last week—a "hotspot" in FlyLady terminology, which is why I'm working on it. Posting it is also keeping me focused on that one spot and inspiring me on how to beautify/photograph it once it's clear. That's the part I'm REALLY excited about. :)

  8. I read this too late because my kitchen was a WRECK and now its not. It was a job, but I am so glad it is done. I even washed the floor :)

    I'm sure there are other spots in the house that i could photograph, but I'm lazy and nauseated, so that's not going to happen right now. Maybe next Monday :)

  9. Good for you, Michelle, that you cleaned it, but ESPECIALLY, that you are not going to worry about it any more and GO REST (right??). There is no such thing as a lazy pregnant woman! You're working very hard building a baby—even in your sleep!

  10. Well, I actually joined! Have a look:

  11. And, despite the mess depicted above, you really do have a lovely blog!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...