Can't Be Bothered Thursday: Reprise

So I have decided to embrace minimalism. I have done this by 'tidying' all the papers into the hall drawer and taking the dead house plant outside. I am loving the surfaces darlings. This is, however, all a tiny bit of bloggy magic. Turn around with me and let me share with you the actual state of the house:

Yes, all the precious, precious art projects.. are still there. The blanket fort is still half dismantled downstairs. There is food in the carpet. The children's bedrooms are looking somewhat.. bohemian, but I can't point the finger because this afternoon I tossed a foot high pile of clean washing off the chair in my bedroom so I could read my book. Look up at the 'Housekeeping' tab above there people, and tell me it isn't all just a tiny bit ..smug.

Oh, I hate and despise housework. That is why I invented those housekeeping routines in the first place, because unlike naturally organised people I cannot stand in the middle of a messy house and think about cleaning it up. That would require Advanced Decision Making skills, which I also don't possess. One thing I am good at though, is Developing Theories About That Which I Have No Intention of Really Carrying Through. That would be housework routines. That is not to say that I never do any of them. Seriously, I would be lost without that morning routine. With it I can function almost like a normal person. Without it I used to stand vaguely in the middle of the mess holding a tea towel in my hand, looking pathetically incompetent. Now I still do that, but there is a tiny voice in my head that says, 'Put the washing on, unpack the dish washer, make the bed..' And I just do what I am told, because who am I to question the voices in my head?

Anyway, due to spending all the summer thinking about things that weren't housework, and doing single parent child wrangling, I have tried to get away with doing as little as possible in the house. It is feeling neglected. It has smudges and ground-in food and cobwebs, and cupboards full of ...surprises. It needs someone to care about its grimy windows, its dusty corners, and Oh My Lord have you SEEN what is under the fridge? And due to a deficiency of other suitably qualified candidates, that someone would be.. me, of course.

My two plans so far have been: hire a giant skip and throw everything into it, truly embracing minimalism, St Francis style.

The second is: just clean the damn house.

Leaning towards the first, as much simpler.

However, am putting it off, in the best tradition of Can't Be Bothered Thursday.

Tell me, what would you do?


Anonymous said…
I hear you on that! Would love to be minimal but it would also be a pretense! So will need an actual spring cleaning. Will take place Friday (day off work) and Saturday night after work (!) because I've invited Mom over for (North American) Mothers Day dinner on Sunday. Nothing like necessity to force a cleaning.
Anonymous said…
I say sit in that seat and keep your eyes looking up so you don't see the washing dumped on the floor, and avert your eyes from the table and look at the bare sideboard rather than the dining table when you walk in that room.

And no, I haven't seen what is under the fridge. Does anyone actually look there?

I'd clean one room to sit and escape. (In addition to the kitchen because that's kinda gotta be sorta clean or I gag when I try to make a cuppa.) Everything else can go. After all, I am sure you have done enough cleaning and shown you can do it so don't need to keep practising!
Anonymous said…
It's almost Mother’s Day and my whole family are heading out North to Serendipity Farm and that means CLEANING! All of those spider webs are going to have to go...I am going to have to actually look at the bathroom hand basin and possibly give it a bit of a scrub with something other than a rudimentary and most pathetic wipe and if I don't mop my floor sometime soon I am going to lose sight of it under dog hair and crumbs...I, too, have morning routines but aside from making the bed, walking Earl, feeding the ferments who shall be obeyed and settling down to procrastinate about studying I am wandering hopeless as a cloud. I know I just bastardised that Wordsworth saying but I reckon it might be time to regroup and write myself a few new voices in my head.

I think what is under my fridge has evolved and taken on other forms. I think it might be "aware" and have a degree of cognisance...I am afraid of what is under the fridge...and the bed...although Earl is also under the bed so good luck to it ever managing to survive let alone get out and wreak havoc…

I think we all shared a can't be bothered Thursday. You are not alone! Jess of Rabid Hippy fame just admitted to me that she did "sweet bugger all" yesterday and although I managed to almost eat my weights worth of cupboard contents in one fell swoop, little else was accomplished here on the northern front. I like the sound of Can't be Bothered Thursday as it seems to be the norm here on Serendipity Farm...I am going to have to rename it Serendipity Jungle as it has decided to become completely feral over the summer and now we are almost in winter it isn't much better. If misery loves company, consider yourself in house cleaning company. Today...I clean...sigh...
Judy said…
There is a third option called 'Turn a blind eye'. Just deal with the things that bother you the most and ignore the rest. I rarely sit in the living room, so I really don't care or notice if the floor is grubby and all surfaces are cluttered. However the kitchen work surfaces I like to be clean and inviting, for cooking up a treat.

Chances are that you set the standards that you are expecting yourself to live up to. So just cut yourself some slack and lower the standards.

I am so 'minimal' in my head, but it is difficult to pull off with a family. There are never enough cupboards to hide all the junk away in. One tidying job that always cheers me up is clearing out a kitchen cupboard - it always looks so organised afterwards.....I seem to remember that you are an expert at this from one of your previous blogs :-)
Jo said…
Dar, Mother's Day here in Oz on Sunday too. However I am the only mother who is going to see my house on Sunday, and I have given up trying to impress myself! All the best on the cleaning front for you:)
Lucinda, you really can see into my mind. That is EXACTLY the approach I always take to housework. But when I actually do it, I feel so proud of myself, like I am almost a real grown up, and I love the result.. what to do, what to do? Read a book or sweep the floor? Although I am very taken with your conclusion: yes, I have proved I can do it, now I can quit? Hmmm...
Fran, there seems to be a Mother's Day cleaning epidemic going on. Does this seem wrong to anyone?
I love the sound of the Serendipity Jungle. I picture you going in there in Spring with a pith helmet and machete.
Jo said…
Judy, you and Lucinda are clearly soul sisters! I do agree with you on many levels. There is something in me that loves clean and tidy - the visual appeal, and the satisfaction factor. I am sure I also read far too many Pollyanna and Anne of Green Gables books as a child. That must have an effect. Oh, and which Aussie girls here read the Billabong series? That perfect Norah? We loved and hated her at the same time. Clearly I have worrying perfectionist tendencies which I am far more interested in writing about than translating into action:) I just love hanging out with people who can look at their houses and say, 'Whatever'. They are so relaxing to be around.
I'd make a cup of tea first, to fully brace myself for it all. maybe a piece of cake, too. Might as well.
In my dreams i embrace pure white minimalism; and i tend to have yearly chuck-outs during my summer holidays. But mostly I am good at walking past what needs to be done.
Until ... until i know my mother is coming to visit (and truthfully, she has told me she cares less about housework as she gets older, but still). Or until i have friends staying (staying!) for a whole weekend at the end of May, so I'll need to get rid of some cobwebs and wall smudges before then. They probably won;t care and we will be out beign tourists for much of the weekend (and it's dark now!) but just in case...
But i'd have that cup of tea first for sure.
Unknown said…
Loving all the comments and responses today and i feel quite at home with you all. Yes, my home a bit more grubby than usual and i seem to care less these days. I have two home full time at the moment and in a perfect world i would come home from work to find the meal cooked, washing done, vac and mop completed, beds made and the two of them sitting quietly at a set table. That, however, is far far from reality and so i make do with what i can and try to do what i can between getting home and sleep. There seems to be a common theme here and so perhaps the answer is to invite some guests around once a month thus ensuring a decent tidy up on a regular basis.
Anonymous said…
Loved Pollyanna and Anne books.

(And read the Billabong, well most of them, as an adult. I know! I should be reading literature or if reading young adult fiction, something modern and gritty, so I can keep in touch with the youf of today. But I like to escape. Let's ride away together for a picnic, Jo?)
Anonymous said…
Since Miss Narf dobbed me in I too will admit defeat to my rather untidy house. I mean, why fold washing when someone just unfolds it, wears it and makes it dirty again for me to once again wash, hang, bring in, fold and attempt to consider putting it away.
I hate housework because by its very nature it is undone as soon as it is done.
Sweet bugger all from yesterday has dribbled over into today although I did at least empty the fridge of leftovers (mainly because the kids and I were all hungry and it seemed an easier option than cooking) and I've stacked the dishwasher. I've also moved my tallow fat around in order to clean up a pot for making soap but that's called fun, not work. ;)
I think the skip sounds the way to go. Annually in this house! ;)
Hi Jo, leave it till Monday, after all the kids will be back with their art projects, food/floor distribution, garden indoor exploits, let he spiders have a reprieve and the window's will only get fingermarks on them. Yes definitely leave it till Monday. Hopefully we will all have thought of another excuse by then. Thinking caps on girls, Jo needs our help.
Evi said…
Ha! Joh, you should come and hang around with me! My house looks very much like yours and just today I discovered the two page spread I wrote out a year ago on what to clean on which day. It was laying tattered and all forlorn under a stack of used envelopes, some socks that need darning and something that looked suspiciously like an old flour bag! (No, the socks never actually get darned!!)
I swear by that saying 'Dull women have immaculate houses' - I'm definitely lively, only not in the cleaning dept!
GretchenJoanna said…
I would enjoy my one lovely surface bare of everything except a bowl of lemons.
Heather said…
I'm kind of in the same predicament. I'm having a birthday party for my daughter on Saturday and my house needs a good, thorough cleaning. I want to start today, five days early, but I know if I do, the family and the dog will just clutter stuff up, track dirt into the house, leave water marks on the mirrors, etc, etc, etc! I love a clean house, but it is maddening that the darn thing just won't stay clean! Like, not even for 5 minutes, it seems sometimes. I like your idea of dumping the laundry and grabbing a book :)
Kristen Johns said…
Hi Jo,
My house always has about 10 or more projects going on at the same time, so it's never totally tidy. And I can't blame all the projects on my kids :)
If I were you, I'd sit down at that big table filled with art supplies, stare at that lovely shiny side table with those beautiful lemons on it, and start drawing. Yes... just sit, and be still, and draw those lovely round shapes. Always makes me feel better!
Jo said…
Dear hearts, I knew I could rely on you to enable my bad behaviour. Picnics, tea and cakes and drawing? I have realised what the problem is. We are all soul sisters who should be trailing around in white dresses in Edwardian drawing rooms WITH STAFF. We will now all adjourn to the late nineteenth century. Tea will be served in the garden..
Anonymous said…
I keep looking at that photo and thinking 'my dear, that is not a mess, I can show you a mess!' You seem to have very high standards, and I say to let them slip a tad. I'm off to do a spot of lady gardening (bulb planting). Oh, how I wish I was a well-bred woman from olden times and didn't have to raise a sweat in the house or garden. Had to clean out the chook shed yesterday and took to my bed afterwards as the fumes nearly killed me. Loretta
Hi Jo, Ticket booked from UK, what time is tea in the garden! house is a mess as I have been shopping for long elegant white dress and accesories!!!
Anonymous said…
*Pouting* Jo, because while I want to be in a white linen dress with a big hair-do, sitting in the shade, being served by staff, who also bring me my children to see after they are fed and cleaned and then remove them when the noise all gets a bit too much for my nerves, I know I would probably be the staff who is doing all the running around and serving and cooking and cleaning. And probably doing a very poor job at it and being scolded by the housekeeper and at risk being sent to the work house.

Oh no, I need to reprogram my day dream. It has gone off the totally wrong direction.
Jo said…
Loretta, you are right, that mess is a bit half-hearted. I promise I can do better! You have made me want to do lady gardening now!
Siwzy, I am thrilled you are joining me, now I must just rustle up some staff. Lucinda, I wonder if 'staff' was all it's cracked up to be. It would mostly have been untrained teenage girls. I have some of them already..
Oh, who am I kidding, staff would be sublime:)

Popular Posts