Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Secret to a Clean House

Rearranging furniture is seriously one of my favorite pastimes. And painting walls. My kids are totally used to it. Sometimes when they go to school their room will be yellow and the bed will be under the window. When they come home, the walls will be green and the bed will be on the door wall. Sometimes the bed will be in someone else's room because that's not their room anymore.

Kidding, kidding. I've never switched rooms on them. But there's an idea...

All of my friends from childhood know this about me. If you have ever been any kind of good friend in my life at any time, then you've probably had your room rearranged by me, and a lot of you have had it painted. I used to go over to friend's houses to spend the night on Friday night and after doing the normal girl sleepover stuff, you know, painting our nails, talking about boys, being mean to little brothers, watching Jonathan Brandis and Leonardo DiCaprio movies, and choreographing a new mime to Margaret Becker songs (What? You don't know who Margaret Becker is!?), usually we'd sit there for awhile, crimping each other's hair for a homemade modeling shoot or telling scandalous secrets until finally, I could bear it no more and would burst out with, "Hey, let's rearrange your room!"

Such fun! I love the possibilities that four walls and a bunch of random, mismatched furniture hold, especially when you use what you already have. I am at my decorating best when utilizing my already existing resources.

When I got married, I think Rosey was shocked the first couple of times he came home and everything was totally different or a lone wall was painted red or yellow. One time, in our first apartment, I even painted words on the wall. "Hope Dies Last" in bright green on a white wall. Kind of morbid. I don't know, back then it seemed so inspiring...

It wasn't like I hadn't rearranged both his college room and bedroom at his parent's house while we were dating, but I don't think he knew it was my permanent mental state.

That's why I think it a very good thing that there's a perk to my constant need for change.

I always clean.

I have a "clean as you rearrange" policy, and it has never failed me so far. Having a new room, so to speak, justifies itself with the need for cleanliness. And I mean clean. I scrub the whole room from top to bottom usually, so it can really shine in every way. And so my house is almost always clean. But nothing is ever in the same place. Well almost never. There are three instances in which something could be in the same place, and that would be:

1. I really really like where it is for a longer than normal amount of time (but this has only happened once, back in 2002, and it only lasted about a year).

2. That particular piece has simply made its circuit around the house to all the other conventional places it could be, and now it is revisiting this place for a little while, while I decide whether or not to sell it, paint it or put it somewhere totally unconventional, like the front porch.

3. It just seems to be in the same place, but it is actually three inches to the right of where it was last time you were here.

Yes, I clean my house like normal people, when it is dirty. But that reason is usually too boring to motivate proper scrubbing action. My favorite way to clean is by rearranging and decorating.

I like a clean house. It's inspiring, refreshing, reassuring, safe, fun, bright, new. A clean palette. A fresh canvas. An excuse to invite people over. Conducive to a good night's sleep. Something to be proud of. A wonderful symbol of order and peace, my home, as an island in the midst of a sea of chaos, the crazy world out there.

Whenever I get a new piece of furniture, which usually comes from the trash, a garage sale or thrift store, since I am not filthy rich and I'd rather spend good money on travel (and paint), and I like to be free to paint or saw or hammer the pieces I find, I feel quite rich. With placement possibilities. And encouraged that my house will keep on staying really clean because I will keep on being inspired about it.

What about you?
What forces you to clean your house? 


  1. impending guests inspire me to clean... I like a clean house too it feels good and relaxing. But I don't have the skill yet and possibly the resorses to give everything a home so we have tons of clutter still. I also have lost my energy in this first trimester but I have been prommised it's retern soon. When it gets back I will be making a house cleaning/decluttering/rearanging schedual to get it all gorgeous before baby arives, oh and stuff will have to move too I'm excited thinking about it. Finding an organized way to cram four kids into this little house will be so fun. My cleaning skills have greatly improoved over that few years I can now do in about four hours what used to take two days (getting the house ready for evening guests) but my decluttering/finding and making homes for things skills still need work. But I'm a willing learner and I don't have a hording attitude. Most of the time I just need permission to get rid of it. One of my motivations is my desire for fresh flowers, I really want them to brighten up some of my spaces but I refuse to bring them in and set them amongst the clutter. -Becky Schaefer, Tulsa

  2. Ooo. We are polar opposites. I would leave every stick of furniture exactly where it is until the house crumbles around us if my husband would let me. And clutter. Acceptable amounts make me feel at home. I'm guessing my definition of acceptable is vastly different than yours. But sameness, for my rapidly bouncing ADD mind, makes me feel safe, secure, as do the piles.

    Will you rearrange my room? :)